Jul 09 2018

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses | Winslow Animal Hospital Dog & Cat


Dog lovers all around the world enjoy the loving wet nose that accompanies a sloppy kiss. But, have you ever wondered why that nose is wet? Winslow Animal Hospital is here to give you the scoop on your pup’s wet nose. 

To get started, what does your dog’s nose do?

A dog’s sense of smell is very important to help them asses and discover the world around them. In fact, a dog will focus more on what they smell rather then what they see. Your furry friend’s nose is directly linked to their survival instincts, with over 100 million receptors to help them get as much information as possible. Their sense of smell is strong enough that they can the pick up very minute scents and work out where the scent is coming from within their environment. Their noses are able to separate air. So, not only are noses for breathing, but also for respiration.

Why are they wet?

Now to the question of the hour, why are the wet? This is actually for a couple of reasons.

  • Scents stick to their damp nose, allowing them to capture and break down the chemical components of scents better.
  • The damp coolness of their nose helps them regulate their body temperature.
  • Going along with #1, having scent particles stuck to their nose allows them to smell it even more when they lick it off their nose. This is 
    due to an olfactory gland (known as the Jacobsen’s Organ) on the roof of a dog’s mouth.

How they get wet noses:

  1. Mucus – Dogs actually secret a mucus that covers their nose. This mucus 
  2. not only helps break down scents, but it also helps in the cooling process. This mucus is produced thanks to glands that reside in the inner lining of their nose.
  3. Licking – Dogs don’t have those long tongues for nothing. Licking their nose provides insurance against dirt and a dry nose, which can dampen their sense of smell. It also keeps that Jacobsen’s Organ active.
  4. Environment – All dog owners know that these cuties love to get into things. Their noses will pick up moisture from their environment. Whether that be wet grass, or your glass of water.

Dry noses:

Despite popular belief, a dry nose isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are so many possibilities as to why your dog might have a dry nose besides illness. Heat, napping, and not licking for a little while could all be causes of a dry nose. Plus, some breed just naturally have drier noses then others.

As long as your furry friend is acting normal, then a dry nose is perfectly fine. However, if it accompanies other symptoms such as loss of appetite or if the nose becomes cracked or sore, consult a veterinarian.  

Can a nose be too wet?

If your dog’s nose is overly wet then there might be a problem. If the nose is producing too much mucus, it is thick, or discolored there is a good chance that your furry friend has a respiratory infection or some other related problem. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

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