Ever pet a dog and get booped by their cold wet nose? You may have found it unpleasant or worrisome at first, but it’s not. It doesn’t mean the dog sneezed and is using you to clean themselves up — a wet nose is completely normal!
Why is that? Because wet noses work better. We at Doggy Brace want to explain why your dog’s nose is wet.
Dogs Have Amazing Noses
Dogs have more than 10 million sensory receptors in their nose, which is significantly more than our 6 million. Their brains are also more devoted to processing and analyzing odors than ours too! The part of their brain that is in charge of scents is about 40 times larger than the same part in a human brain. This means a dog’s sense of smell can be 1,000x to 10,000x better than a human’s!
So where does the wetness come in? They utilize their noses to the fullest by keeping them damp, because scent particles stick better to wet surfaces.
Wet Noses are Cooler
Wet noses have another advantage too. They help keep a dog cool. Dogs can’t sweat, so they rely on the dissipating heat through their feet pads, by panting, and utilizing their nasal passes as a cooling mechanism. Have you ever been cold after getting your hair wet? It’s the same logic with your dog’s nose — the wetter the nose, the better they’re able to cool themselves.
How Do Dog Noses Get Wet?
If your dog’s nose isn’t wet because they just sneezed, then why is it wet? Well, dogs have a few methods to keep their nose working great.
For instance, it might not be from a sneeze, but their noses secrete mucus. The inner lining of the dog’s nose contains special glands that produce mucus to keep the nasal canals moist. A thin layer of mucus clings to the nostrils, enhancing the absorption of scent chemicals and improving the dog’s ability to smell. The special mucous glands inside the nostrils also produce clear, watery fluid that aids the cooling process through evaporation.
It sounds gross, but don’t worry. It’s not made because your dog is sick. It’s actually made because they’re healthy!
Dogs Lick Their Noses
Dogs have long tongues and they use them to keep their noses moist. Dogs lick their noses to keep them clean, since canine noses get dirty a lot as dogs smell everything. Whether it’s food from the bowl or pollen from a flower or dust under the couch, dogs need to lick their noses constantly to clean them.
Dogs also lick their noses to gather some of the scent particles inside the mouth. This helps them smell better!
Noses Get Wet Naturally
Dogs use their nose a lot, so it’s natural for their noses to get wet from the environment too. They love sticking their noses into damp grass, wet leaves, plants, and puddles for this exact reason. Not only do they get to explore sweet new scents, but they also get to wet their noses to cool off.
My Dog’s Nose is Dry. Is That Normal?
Yes and no. A wet nose is ideal, but some noses are drier than others. So if your dog has a dry nose, it’s not likely caused by an illness. Instead, it could be their breed! Canines like pugs and bulldogs have a harder time keeping their noses wet because they can’t lick it.
However, a dry and cracking nose isn’t always a good sign either. If you have a short-nosed dog and notice the skin on their nose looks irritated or cracked, you may want to talk to your vet about topical creams. Dry noses don’t work as well and can be painful for your dog if the condition is severe.
A wet nose is ideal, but dry noses also aren’t abnormal. The actual temperature and moistness of a nose is not a good indicator of overall health status. Some healthy dogs just have naturally dryer noses than others. Dogs with short snouts, like pugs and bulldogs, have dryer noses due to their inability to lick it.
Is the Wetness A Problem?
No! A wet nose is a good thing. Sure, it might be uncomfortable to get a cold boop on your leg every now and then, but it’s a good thing. However, if your dog is sick and you notice them sneezing more often than normal, you may want to take them to the vet. Their nose wetness shouldn’t be a problem, but you may notice a larger wet spot on their bed or your clothes from their nose for a while.
If you’re worried about their natural wet nose causing problems, we recommend switching to waterproof beds, neoprene ACL braces, and moisture-resistant doggy clothes if you need them. While their noses shouldn’t be wet enough to cause a problem, consistent dampness in the right environment can lead to mildew and mold.