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Dogs have more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in the nasal cavity, compared to 6 million in people. Moreover, the area of the canine brain devoted to analyzing odors is about 40 times larger than the comparable part of the human brain.

In fact, it’s been estimated that dogs can smell anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times better than people, partly due to the presence of an additional olfactory tool called Jacobsen’s organ that increases their ability to smell.

Just as humans depend majorly on sight, dogs depend on their highly developed sense of smell to interpret their world.

The wetness of a dog’s nose comes from a mixture of saliva and mucus. A dog’s nose secretes its own, thin layer of mucus, and dogs add even more mucus and saliva by licking their noses frequently.

Here are some notable reasons why a dogs nose is wet.


A thin layer of mucus on a dog’s nose helps him smell. That superior sense of smell is partly due to that moist layer, which helps absorb and hold scents. You might even see your dog licking his nose — a way to actually “taste” the smell, giving him even more information about what it is

Cooling Off

Your dog is covered in hair, which means it is unable to sweat like we can. Dogs cool down mainly through panting and keeping their noses damp to an extent. It is thought as the mucous evaporates, it has some potential cooling affect. Coupled with dogs licking their nose, this may aid in heat loss.

Dogs Lick Their Nose

Dogs lick their noses to keep them moisturized because it enhances their sense of smell. A cold, wet nose captures scent particles and allows a dog to get a better handle on where a scent is coming from and how strong that scent is. But the moisture isn’t just coming from within, your dog is keeping its nose wet.

They Pick up Moisture

If you’ve ever watched your dog sniffing around outside, you know that it’s an “all-in” process, as the nose is often being shoved right into grass, leaves, dirt and other debris.
In doing this, dogs’ noses often pick up moisture from the environment, making their noses cold and wet.

Dry Nose?

Most often, a dog’s dry nose is nothing to be concerned about. Some dogs naturally have drier noses than others, for one thing. A dry nose could simply indicate a dog just woke from a nap in the sun or near a heater. It could also mean that your four-legged friend needs a drink of water from slight dehydration.

When to worry

Noise moisture and dryness are not barometers of your dog’s health. However, a dog’s nose can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health concern. Take your dog to the vet if your dog’s nose is cracked, has sores, or the skin around it is red.

Also, see your vet if your dog has more than the usual amount of mucus or the mucus is thick or colored. It could be a sign of an infection or of something stuck in your dog’s nose.


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