Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses?

Why Do Dogs have Wet Noses?

Generally, dog owners think that feeling a dog’s nose can tell you about his health. But can a dog’s health be determined from his nose?


Wet noses in dogs are common and most people believe that a wet nose is a sign of good health and having a dry nose is a sign of illness. But this is just a myth. Below, we will dive into the number of reasons your dog has a wet nose as well as the truth behind a wet vs. dry dog nose.

Unlike humans, who depend mainly on their vision, dogs use both vision and sense of smell to explore the surroundings and to communicate. Opposite to humans, brain of dog focus on what he smells more than what he sees. The bottom line is a working nose is essential for dogs and Wet Nose works better than Dry Nose.


A dog’s nose produces mucus naturally and this mucus keeps the dog nose wet. A thin layer of mucus keeps the nasal canals moist and enhances the absorption of scent chemicals and improves the dog’s ability to smell.

Licking Frequently with his Tongue

The dogs are constantly licking their noses and keep them covered in saliva. But why do they lick their noses? Dogs lick their noses to keep them clean because their noses often get dirty as dogs explore everything with their noses.


Whether it is food from the bowl or dust under the couch, their noses stay dirty and hence needs a lot of licking to get clean again.


Dogs lick their noses to gather some of the scent particles inside the mouth. The mucus from the nose, containing the scent particles, is carried to the roof of the mouth where Jacobson’s organ is located. Hence, licking the nose enhances the sense of smell by facilitating the function of Jacobson’s organ. The Jacobson’s organ enhances their smell by 1000- 100,000 times more powerful than human sense of smell.

Cooling Off

Unlike humans, dogs do not have sweat glands all over their body due to their furry coat. They have sweat glands in the pads of their feet and their nose. Dogs dissipate heat through panting and by evaporation of moisture through their noses and paws. They have special glands inside the nose that secrete a watery fluid to keep the inside of the nose moist and to help keep the dog cool.

Other Wet Things

When they are outside, they are roaming here, there and everywhere. They are constantly sticking their noses in grass, mud, plants, bushes, water and just about everything really. In doing this, dogs’ noses often pick up moisture from the environment, making their noses cold and wet.

Should I be Concerned if My Dog has a Dry Nose?

  • After Nap: Your dog’s nose will be warmer and drier than usual after waking up from a long sleep because dog doesn’t lick and dampen his nose while sleeping. Also if your dog is sleeping in a warm room, his nose will heat up and dry out quicker.
  • Age: Older dogs tend to have drier nose as they don’t produce as much mucus as they did as a youngster. Since older dogs nap a lot more than the younger ones, hence their noses get more often.
  • Exercise: Some dogs might be dehydrated after exertion, especially in hot weather. Get them into cool, shady spot and give them water to drink.
  • Weather: Being out in the sun, wind or cold can dry out your dog’s nose and, in some cases, cause sunburn or chapped skin.

Hence, nose moisture and dryness are not barometers of your dog’s health. However, a dog’s nose can sometimes be a sign of underlying health concern. With no behavior changes, all of the above conditions are normal. However, consult a vet if your dog’s nose is unusually dry or runny along with the changes in nose appearance or dog behavior.

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