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A wet dog swims in calm, shallow water, carrying a green tennis ball in its mouth. The dog's fur is white with brown patches, and it looks content while surrounded by rippling water.
Pet Blog

What Does a Wet Nose on a Dog Mean?

Most pawrents are quite familiar with cold, wet dog noses. Chances are that your pup sticks their nose in your face, on your hands, and sometimes in your shoes! While wet dog noses are the norm, occasionally, their nose will dry out a bit, which can sometimes be a sign of a problem.

Why Are Dogs' Noses Wet?

The main reason dogs’ noses are wet is because they secrete a mucous that aids their sense of smell. While humans rely primarily on their vision to survive, smell is a dog’s strongest sense. Since scent particles stick to wet noses better than dry noses, a wet schnoz simply works better!

Dogs will also lick their noses to keep them clean, and the saliva causes them to stay damp. Additionally, they don’t have sweat glands in their skin, so dogs have a cooling mechanism in their nasal passage, and also sweat through their paws.

A dog’s environment can also add moisture to their nose. If they sniff damp grass or stick their nose in a puddle, their nose will stay extra wet.

What Does a Dry Nose on My Dog Mean?

Most often, a wet dog nose means they are healthy. However, a dry nose doesn’t always point to a problem. The level of moisture and temperature of your dog’s nose can fluctuate with the weather and environmental conditions. Sometimes, it can even fluctuate during a single day! Your pup may get a dry nose after a nap, or after intense playtime that left them dehydrated. The same is true for the temperature of your puppy's nose. Don’t fret if you notice their nose is a bit warmer than usually, chances are it’s just due to the weather.

When to Worry About a Dog's Dry Nose?

If your dog’s nose is overly dry and cracked, it could be sunburnt. It could also be a sign of an allergy to their dog food or chemicals in your home. While dogs often pant to cool down, panting can be a sign of more serious health issues. Your dog’s body language can also provide some insight into how they are feeling, and you should always be on the lookout for symptoms of dog anxiety.

You should also keep an eye out for an overly wet nose; excess, thick, or discolored mucus could be a sign of respiratory infections or foreign objects in the nasal passages. After all, the nose knows!