Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet, And What’s The Best Treatment For Dry Noses?

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Black nose of a white dog close up

We’re sure you’ve found yourself telling your dog to get that cold, wet nose out of your personal space at some point! But have you ever wondered, ‘why do dogs have wet noses?’ Our favorite canine companions differ from us humans and our beloved feline friends in a puzzling way.

Their noses are normally wet — and normally should be. But why are dogs’ noses wet? And if they’re not, does that mean that something’s wrong? Can you do anything to help your pup if his nose is dry? If so, what’s the best dog dry nose treatment? Here, we’ll answer all of your questions to put you and your pup at ease.

Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet?

What does it mean when your dog’s nose is wet? The primary reason dogs’ noses are wet is because dogs secrete a mucous that aids their sense of smell. But there are several other reasons.

Dogs sweat through their paws and noses, which helps them cool down. And, as a dog owner, you know that they also lick their noses a lot. Why? Since they’re constantly using their noses to root around, they clean them off with their tongue.

But there’s a bonus: the mucus on a dog’s nose absorbs scent chemicals, which a dog can then sample in the olfactory glands on the roof of his mouth.

Is Something Wrong If Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry and Warm?

What does it mean when a dog’s nose is dry? You may have heard that a warm, dry nose means that your dog is sick. Not necessarily so, say experts. The moisture and temperature level of your dog’s nose can fluctuate with the weather, environmental conditions, or even the time of day. And dogs can be sick but still have a wet nose.

Five Fascinating Dog’s Nose Facts

We’ve all seen our dog’s nose in action, sniffing out scents we’d never detect as humans. Your dog’s sense of smell is stronger than his sense of sight or hearing. So, what do these superior sniffers have that we don’t?

  1. Scientists have found that dogs’ olfactory abilities are anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than humans’. In fact, dogs have roughly 50 smell receptors compared to our measly one.
  2. A dog’s nose can breathe air in and out at the same time.
  3. Dogs have a special scent-detecting organ, called the vomeronasal organ that humans don’t have. This organ helps canines detect pheromones secreted by other animals.
  4. Each dog’s nose print is unique, like each human’s fingerprint.
  5. Flat-faced, short-nosed dogs, such as the Boxer, Pekingese, and Pug, have fewer scent-detecting cells than dogs with longer snouts, like Bloodhounds and German Shepherds.

What to Do If Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry and Cracked

Dogs’ noses can become dry and cracked for several reasons, be it the weather, sunburn, their environment, or even allergies. Keep an eye on when your dog’s nose is overly dry — it could be a sign of allergies to his dog food or chemicals in your home or his bedding. But usually, there’s nothing to worry about except his discomfort.

Dog Dry Nose Treatment

If you notice your dog’s nose becoming chapped, it’s a good idea to gently clean it and apply a thin layer of a hypoallergenic lubricant. Petroleum jelly works well, and there are also a handful of organic products you can use. We recommend Snout Magic, a 100% organic and all-natural snout butter you can apply as needed. Make sure you don’t apply too much lubricant because, invariably, he will lick his nose, and too much of any product can upset his stomach and cause diarrhea.

Tip: Make sure you give your dog plenty of water. Dehydration will only exacerbate the problem.

A Look Inside Your Dog’s Nose

Check out this excellent TED-ED video for a brief science lesson on just how your dog’s nose works.

What If Allergies Are the Culprit?

If you’re concerned that your dog’s dry nose may be the result of allergies, there are several changes you can make to create a better home environment for him. First, you can rid your home of potentially dangerous and allergy-causing chemicals when you clean. Be sure to read our reviews of the best pet-safe cleaning products to learn more. And if you suspect your dog’s allergies could be food-driven, check out our homemade dog food recipes. Some dogs suffer from multiple allergies when all they eat is commercial dog food.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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