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Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet? (Vet Answer)

The first part of a dog you are likely to meet is its nose, since all canines greet themselves and explore using their noses first!

The dog's nose is a critical sensory organ that provides them with an extraordinary quantity of information about their environment, notably (but not only) about odors.

There's a lot going on within a dog's nose, which provides them with superpowers. Why do most dogs have chilly, damp noses? Continue reading this article, "Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet?" for more details from BestForPets (bestforpets.org)!

What Does a Typical Dog Nose Look Like?

The majority of the time, dog noses are damp and chilly. However, similar to dogs in general, they vary considerably from person to individual and through time.

According to an ancient proverb, a dog with a wet nose is healthy and one with a dry nose is ill. This is false, and all you need to know is your dog’s typical behavior. Some dogs have naturally moist noses, while others have naturally dry noses.

After a lifetime of vigorous sniffing, the nostrils of many dogs become dry and often somewhat roughened or crusty, particularly as they age.

Typically, there is nothing to worry about; however, if you are concerned about any redness or pain, you should see your veterinarian.

Numerous elements, such as activity, time of day, temperature, hydration, and humidity, influence the unique sensation of the nose.

In addition, dogs often lick their noses, which might significantly influence the situation. All of these factors are quite typical. Noses may get dry after sleep or when your dog is calm, for instance.

Alternatively, following strenuous exertion, the nose may be moist. Normal, moist nostrils should be coated with a thin layer of clear mucus. Again, it is important to observe your dog’s typical behavior.

Does Your Dog's Nose Present a Problem?

Numerous different disorders might affect the nose and may need a thorough study by your veterinarian, notwithstanding their rarity.

Consistently dry noses may be indicative of a larger disease (such as dehydration and fever), but your dog will often exhibit several symptoms in addition to a dry nose. These may include tiredness and appetite loss.

Noses may be associated with broader skin issues, including allergic responses (allergies), skin infections, and autoimmune illnesses. In certain instances, the nose or the skin around it may be red, swollen, crusty, angry-looking, or discharge pus or have green tints.

What should I do if my dog’s nose is full with discharge?

Normal moist noses should be coated with transparent mucus. Again, it is important to observe what is usual for your dog, but if you are concerned about any changes in this mucus or especially any nasal discharges, you should call your veterinarian.

A large amount of nasal discharge (snot, mucus, or even blood) is not normal and should be evaluated as soon as possible by a veterinarian. You may also see similar crusting around the nose as it dries. Tiny quantities of clear discharge are okay, but mucus of any other color is not.

If you are worried about your dog’s health, particularly if it is exhibiting any of the symptoms described above, you should call your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

What causes a dog's nose to be wet?

The moist sensation is often caused by a mix of mucus, water from the skin (sweat), and saliva from the dog’s mouth when it licks its nose.

Why Is the Nose of a Dog Wet? (4 Arguments)

There are several plausible explanations for why the noses of most dogs are damp (again, some dogs have mostly dry noses, and this is normal for them).


The majority of a dog’s skin cannot perspire, but there are a few specialized regions that can. These skin fragments are seen on the soles of the feet and the tip of the nose.

When dogs are overheated and need to cool down, or when they are anxious and on edge, they will perspire in these particular areas, much like humans (via the fight-or-flight reflexes).

Sweating cools the body by secreting water onto the skin’s surface, which evaporates into the air and carries away heat. If your dog is overheated or active, his nose may feel wetter due to perspiration.

Aroma and flavor!

The presence of moist mucus on the surface of the nose enables canines to more efficiently capture the molecules involved in odors and tastes. This helps to enhance their nose’s sensitivity.

Both the nose and mouth direct these signaling molecules towards the finely tuned detectors located at the back of the nose, on the tongue, and in a specific sense organ called the vomeronasal organ, which is located in the space between the nose and mouth cavities.

This organ is extremely vital for detecting pheromones and highly fascinating odours, such as other dogs in heat. By using all of these senses, dogs are able to really smell and taste their environment and form a highly full mental image.

This is utterly foreign to us, since we rely heavily on our eyesight rather than our sense of smell. Depending on the breed, some dogs may be hundreds to thousands of times more precise than humans with their sense of smell.

Regulating the airflow into the lungs

Noses play a crucial function in controlling the flow of air into and out of the respiratory system in both dogs and humans (the airways and the lungs).

The nose filters airborne particles before they reach the lungs. The moist nose helps humidify the air entering the lungs (which stops the lungs from drying out). The nose also functions as a heat exchanger, warming incoming cold air and retaining some warmth for exhalation.

Thermographic camera?

Recent study also indicates that dogs may be able to sense heat from a distance using their noses. Dogs’ noses may nearly be able to “see” heat signatures, much like an infra-red camera. Humans can feel sources of heat via our skin, particularly as we move closer to them.

Scientists in Sweden taught dogs to recognize an object that was slightly warmer than their surroundings from a distance of five feet, even though they could not see it. If this is a genuine discovery, then dogs and snakes and bats share this extraordinary capacity!

In nature, it may be utilized to sense the heat of surrounding prey species. The moist nasal mucus presumably protects the delicate nerves that enable for this detection to occur.


The majority of dogs have a moist nose due to perspiration, mucous, and licking. The moist nose is essential for temperature regulation, lung protection, and giving dogs with their extraordinary variety of senses.

It is typical for dogs to have wet noses, although the degree of wetness varies substantially based on the dog’s breed and various other local circumstances. Some dogs have a naturally dry nose most of the time, particularly as they age.

The nose may be an indicator of a dog’s general health, but this is not a solid rule of thumb; it is best to discover what is typical for your dog.

If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of illness around the nose (redness, discharge, itching, crustiness) or in general (dehydration, fever, lethargy), you should see your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

We appreciate that you picked BestForPets (bestforpets.org) above hundreds of other websites to read our article, “Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet?“. We hope this page has given you useful pet care knowledge.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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