Dog owners know: the nose of their four-legged friend usually feels wet. But how come? And is a dry dog nose really a signal that your faithful friend is in poor health, as is sometimes said? HLN science expert Martijn Peters will unravel it.
A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than a human’s. The brain domain that analyzes smells is no less than 40 times larger. “This complex sense of smell allows dogs to identify hundreds of substances with a single sniff,” Martijn says. “In addition, they possess a vomeronasal organ, with which they can detect pheromones and recognize prey, strangers and their owners at a great distance.”
But why is that nose wet? “First of all, a dog’s nose constantly produces a thin layer of mucus, which helps to capture and perceive odor molecules from the air,” says Martijn. Also the reason why your dog will lick his nose with his tongue after sniffing the air for a while. Your dog will then ‘taste’ the odor molecules.
Wetting the olfactory organ is a way to keep that nose healthy and clean
By the way, when a dog presses its nose into every corner, it will quickly become covered in dirt. “Wetting the sense of smell is one way to keep that nose healthy and clean.” Recent research also shows that dogs probably also use their wet noses to detect prey via heat detection.
Fortunately, a dry nose doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with your pet. “Even a healthy dog can have a warm, dry nose. This is usually the case when your four-legged friend has slept or when he has made a strenuous physical exertion.” Finally, his age, the dog breed and the environment, such as severe drought, also play a role. “Only when the nose suddenly feels dry, you should not ignore that”, warns Martijn. Because that could be a sign of dehydration or a sudden infection. “And also with excessive, discolored or bloody mucus on your dog’s nose, you should go to the vet.”
This is how you recognize and prevent overheating in animals: “Bulldogs overheat faster than other dogs” (+)
About 1 in 2 dogs and cats is overweight: “If you really have to push to feel a rib, it’s wrong” (+)
Is your dog pulling hard on the leash? Dog coach gives advice: “You can give clear commands, without being strict or yelling” (+)
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss out on any of the stars.
Yes, I want free unlimited access