Why Is My Dog’s Nose So Wet?

Whether it is pink, small, pointy or glossy black, the nose is a defining feature of every dog. But why is it always wet regardless of whether we are talking about a big Newfoundland or a tiny, dainty Lhasa Apso? The answer might surprise you.

There are two very common misconceptions regarding the canine nose. Many people believe that a dry nose is an indication that Fido is under the weather. Dog noses can range from wet, to chapped, to warm and dry without a change in the dog’s health. However, take notice if your pup pal is feverish and lethargic accompanied with a dry nose. There is a chance he is feeling under the weather and needs a vet visit.

Dog noses are so cute, but so wet. Why?
Why is my dog’s nose so wet?

The other dog nose delusion is that they sweat from their nose. The wetness on their noses is actually a clear thin mucus. Dogs only sweat through glands located on their paws. However, they do shed heat from their nose. Heat also gets released through evaporation from their mouth by panting. Both functions of heat release help cool the dog down.

The wetness on a dog’s nose helps increase their sniffing senses by providing a great surface for dissolving chemicals. Chemicals from the air get absorbed into the skin where the cells that detect smell are located. Dogs also lick their nose to sample chemicals from the air that land on their nose. Licking the “smells” allow the dog to run them through another olfactory sense organ on the roof of their mouth. Sensitive folds of tissue within the dog’s nose work together with an enlarged olfaction area in the brain (which is 40 times larger than a human’s!). Dogs use their sense of smell to interpret their world like humans use sight to interpret the world around them.


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