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Why do dogs have cold noses?

Updated on June 29, 2011

Have you ever wondered why a dogs nose is cold and wet? The reasons are many including keeping the dog cool, enhancing its ability to smell as well as a sign of good health and then there are the situations in which you would want to consult a veterinarian.

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The cooling factor of a dog’s nose

Dogs do not sweat because their bodies do not have pores. Only the dog's paws have pores. Have you noticed how the dog would pant after a vigorous activity or how it would hang its tongue during an extremely hot weather? Dogs regulate their body temperature though the mouth and through the nose. Inside the dog's nose are special glands that secrete fluids. This keeps the dog's nose moist and therefore cold. The evaporation of this watery substance helps in keeping the dog cool. The same thing happens if you wet your face or body with water. As the water evaporates and your face dries, body temperature is lowered and you will feel relief from the very hot weather.

The dog’s cold nose is a sign of good health

Partly this is true. A healthy dog will lick its nose every now and then making the nose consistently wet. A lethargic or an ill dog may not have the energy to lick its nose. However, this fact is not a very reliable measure for the dog's health. A dog that has been sleeping may have dry and warm nose. This should not make the owner apprehensive as this may not be a sign that the dog is sick. Some breed of dogs can not lick their noses and they may have dry chapped noses. Pet owners should not take this as a sign of fever. Only a thermometer will show if the dog is running a temperature

The dog’s moist nose enhances its scenting ability

The dog already has an excellent olfactory capacity but it is enhanced by the moistness of the nose. This heightened sense of smell helped primitive dogs to survive. A dog would sniff the air and would be able to tell if a prey is within reach.

When it is time to see a vet

Although some owners would prefer to be kissed and nuzzled by a dog with a warm dry nose, others would rather have a pet with a moist and cold nose as it signifies good health of the pet. There are instances though that a cold and wet nose is a case for the vet. Take note if apart from having a cold wet nose your pet also has swelling, a nasal discharge and you can smell an unpleasant odor coming out from your pet's nose. This could mean infection or a nasal tumor. It could also mean that the inquisitive pet has managed to sniff a foreign object and it was lodged on the nose. Don't procrastinate; take the pet to a veterinary facility right away.

Dog eats biscuit of dog nose

dog nose close up


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