Your Dog’s Nose


Many people wonder why their dog’s nose is wet and cold. Is there a reason for this? What if the dog’s nose is dry – is it a problem?

Why your Dog’s Nose is Wet

Dogs have wet noses for an array of reasons. These are:

  • Canine noses secrete mucous – which sounds revolting but serves a very important purpose. The thin layer of mucous on a dog’s nose helps them absorb scent chemicals when they are trying to follow a scent. It means they can smell better.


  • Some breeds genetically have wetter, colder noses.


  • Dogs lick their noses a lot – noses and long snouts get very dirty, so licking them keeps them clean. They also lick off the scent chemicals their noses absorb. These are transmitted to olfactory glands in the roof of the mouth for further processing.


  • Doggie noses forage in wet grass, dirt, mud, etc; this makes them wet.


  • Dogs do in fact sweat – but only from their paw pads and their noses. If a dog is hot, his nose will be wetter due to sweating.

Does a Dry Nose Mean My Dog is Sick?

Not necessarily. For some dogs, a drier nose is perfectly normal. Temperature and moisture levels in a dog’s nose also fluctuate, and a dog can be unwell even if his nose is beautifully cold, wet, and slimy.

A perfectly healthy dog can have a dry, warm nose if he has been lying in the sun, spending time in a room with poor circulation, not drinking enough water, or hanging out near a heater. Noses also become drier when a dog is sleeping.

So how can your dog’s nose signify if he is sick? If there is abnormal discharge coming from the nostrils. Normal mucous is clear. Thick, crusty, or discoloured mucous can be a sign something isn’t quite right.

A dog with allergies will often have a dry nose. Note too that plastic food and water bowls can cause an allergic reaction and a drier nose. Choose instead to use stainless steel or ceramic bowls. Also choose hard rubber toys n preference to plastic.

Note that dogs with paler or pink noses are more susceptible to getting sunburned. A dry and red nose that is flaking can be a sign of sunburn. Pets need to be protected from the sun – ask your vet for a canine sunblock.

A nose that is dry and cracked or has scabs may signify a skin disorder.

If you have any concerns at all, see your vet.

Looking after your furry best friend involves an array of things – love, attention, the right foods, shelter, dog walking, dog grooming, and even doggie day care for some dogs. It also means being familiar with what’s normal and what’s not – so you know when a trip to the vet is required.

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