Dogs are known to have wet and cold noses, and most pet parents might have already felt them when their furry friends feel affectionate and press their faces and noses against their owners’ hands.
But why is Fido’s nose wet? And what happens when it becomes dry? Should you be worried? These are all questions we’re going to answer in today’s article, so keep on reading.
Why are dogs’ noses wet?
As you probably know by now, a dog’s sense of smell is far better than that of a human being. And in order for a dog’s nose to function properly, there needs to be a certain amount of wetness involved.
Noses are essential organs for our canine companions, and they often rely on them more than they do on their sense of vision. Scent particles are capable of sticking in a better way on wet surfaces, so that’s why dog’s noses have to be wet in order for them to do their job properly.
The nose of pretty much all mammals secrete at least some quantity of mucus, and an amount of it is always present on the surface of the nasal mucous membrane. That, of course, happens if the animal isn’t sick or has a fever.
Another reason why dogs’ noses are wet is that they constantly lick them. Whether it’s for the purpose of keeping them clean, since they can stick their noses into anything from food to pollen or because they know that a wet nose functions better than a dry one, they’ll do it as often as possible. Some dogs even do it after they’ve eaten something delicious because the sense of smell enhances the taste of the food.
What does it mean if my dog’s nose is dry?
Some pet parents might think that a dry nose is a clear indication that their pooch is suffering from some type of medical condition or the other. The truth is that dogs’ noses can get dry because of physiological activities, such as sleeping, running around, or even sitting in the sun.
Dehydration can be associated with a dry nose, but that is not always the case. Some dogs simply have drier noses compared to others, and the ability of their nasal membrane to secrete mucus decreases as they age.
A dry nose is also not a clear sign that your pooch might have a fever. The only way to properly measure a dog’s body temperature is by using a thermometer, not by touching its nose.
When should you be worried?
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on how your dog behaves, his or her eating habits or behavior, and correlate this data with the presence of a dry nose. If your pooch has just woken up from a long sleep, his or her nose might simply be dry because the animal hasn’t had a chance to lick it.
Some breeds, such as Pugs or Bulldogs, are known to have drier noses compared to others. In fact, most brachycephalic breeds do. Before you bring Fido to the vet, you should wait for a couple of hours and see whether you don’t see any other alarming signs or whether their nose doesn’t become wet again.
However, if your pup experiences any other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, a bad general health status, lethargy, or even restlessness, and he or she also has a dry nose, it’s probably time to be a little worried.
There could be local changes involved, too, such as those relating to the color of the nose. A dog’s nose can also be cracked or scaling, and there could be bumps or lumps on it or around it. Since nose bleeding is always something to be just a little concerned over, you should get in touch with the vet if you see it happening.
Some dogs can develop allergies to their food or the chemicals that you use for your house cleaning chores. It could go both ways, in this situation – either the animal’s nose will become too dry, or it can be too moist, and the dog can express nasal discharge. Allergies are more common than you might think, and they can sometimes have negative repercussions on the dog’s general health status.
If your dog’s nose tends to get a bit dry now and then, you can always use a natural lubricant such as coconut oil or even petroleum jelly. Make sure that the product you choose doesn’t have any scent or potentially dangerous additives, artificial colors, or preservatives, as these can cause additional problems.
Of course, if your dog seems perfectly healthy, making sure that he or she always has fresh water available is the best way to prevent dehydration and, therefore, a dry nose.
Interesting facts about dogs’ noses
Did you know that dogs have an additional organ that effectively equips them with a second sense of smell? It’s called the vomeronasal organ, and it can be found right above the roof of the mouth. It can be used for detecting pheromones and it’s important in terms of dogs’ territorial and breeding behavior and keeping track of what other canines across a territory are doing.
Some dog breeds have a superior sense of smell compared to others. Labradors and German Shepherds are two examples. Brachycephalic dogs (like the Pug and Bulldog, which we’ve already mentioned) have less effective senses of smell due to the anatomy of their noses.
Our canine friends are also capable of telling time based on their sense of smell. How do they do that? Well, as you can guess, when a dog pees in a bush, the scent of the urine will lose its power as time goes by. If there’s another pooch passing by, he or she will be able to tell just how old that pee is just by smelling it.