Dog noses have the same kind of mystery that cat eyes possess. How can felines really see in the dark, and why are their pupils usually diamond-shaped ? Similarly, how are dogs able to pick up a scent in the snow, or sense fear? Why are their noses always wet? It is this latter question that has baffled people for years, and today we will learn the reasons a dog’s nose is always moist and why this is an important facet of his anatomy.

Canine noses are almost always damp and cool. Dog owners are an authority on this subject, because of the amount of times we accidentally come in contact with a cold, wet dog nose! Pups love to sniff, cuddle, lick and nuzzle us nose-first, which usually results in a damp-stamp wherever their schnoz has been. Here are some reasons why a pup’s nose is always wet:

  • Dogs have wet noses because they secrete mucus; even dog noses get a little runny now and then. Another reason is, that pups are constantly licking their noses. They do this because their noses get soiled easily when the dog snuffles around grassy gardens or down dirty holes. Licking the nose helps clean it.
  • Furthermore, a wet nose actually helps the dog in his scent detection. The layer of moisture absorbs scent chemicals, and by licking the nose, the dog’s tongue is able to bring these back to the olfactory glands in the mouth’s roof. This helps them better assess their environment and track odors.
  • A wet nose allows a dog to cool down, functioning as the sweat glands in other parts of the dog’s body. Canines cool off through sweat glands in their paws, through panting, and by licking their noses.

What Does It Mean If The Nose Is Dry?

If a dog’s nose is dry this could mean a number of things. Maybe he has just woken up from a long peaceful snooze in warm house. (Dogs seldom lick their noses while asleep!). If he is dehydrated from running around strenuously in the sun, it might be dry if his body is trying to conserve moisture. Having a dry or chapped nose happens to some dogs when they age, or simply when they are standing by a fireplace, heater, or laying in the sun. The dryness may not indicate any health concern worse than dehydration, so much sure you have provided plenty of water for him to drink and rejuvenate.
A dry nose is only concerning if:

  • the dog has a low appetite
  • he seems uninterested in anything or is fatigued frequently
  • the dog has a mucus-y runny nose (and maybe a cold)
  • there is flakey dry, cracked of scabby skin around the nose