First, why is a dog’s nose wet at all?
As any dog owner can tell you, dogs are putting their snouts in everything they can find. They are constantly licking their nose to keep it clean, thus leaving it wet and cold. A wet nose helps dogs absorb the tiny water droplets that carry scent, aiding them in the detection of faint odors. Finally, because dogs do not sweat in the same way that humans do, they instead dispel heat by panting through their mouths, and through special mucous glands in their nose.
What CAN you learn from your dog’s nose?
Notify your veterinarian if you see the presence of discolored discharge or blood from the nose. Changes in color or texture of the nose can also be indicative of health issues and should be addressed sooner rather than later. If your dog’s nose feels unusually hot, it would be a good idea to check their temperature to confirm a fever.
The temperature and moistness of a dog’s nose will likely change from hour to hour throughout the day. This may fluctuate based on environment, age, or just because they were taking a nap. If your dog’s nose is dry but they seem otherwise fine, there’s no reason to worry. If you do see any of the following symptoms though, contact your veterinarian:
Requiring Immediate Attention
- Blue, white or very pale gums
- Labored breathing
- Collapse or loss of consciousness
- Dizziness, imbalance, or circling
- Inability to walk
- Extremely bloated abdomen
- Signs of acute severe pain (such as crying out very loudly and excessively, acting aggressive when touched, or guarding a part of the body intensely)
- Body temperature over 104 or under 99 (normal is typically 100.5-102.5)
- Sudden and extreme change in mental state or cognitive function
Requires attention if persisting more than 1-2 days
- Poor appetite
- Excessive salivation
- Excessive thirst (increased water intake)
- Frequent and/or inappropriate urination
- Excessive scratching or dull, dry, or flaky hair coat
- Wheezing or frequent panting
- Nasal discharge or congestion
- Displays of mild to moderate pain (such as whimpering or resistance when a specific area is touched or action is taken)
- Not acting like their normal self