Why do dogs have cold noses?

April 13, 2012

When your healthy dog presses its nose into your hand, you will probably feel moisture and coolness or maybe some dryness and warmth especially if the dog has just woken from a nap. A healthy dog’s nose gets dry sometimes, such as when it wakes up from a nap and has not been licking its nose.

When a dog licks its nose often, it helps to regulate its temperature and it keeps its nose moist. The saliva on the dog’s nose will evaporate from the dog’s heat. As the saliva evaporates, it can make the dog’s nose feel cool or cold to the touch.

The dog’s nose lining is very sensitive to scents and even more so, when the lining is kept moist. The moisture helps to capture scents and to dissolve scent molecules into one of the dog’s more than a million scent receptor cells. A dog’s mouth has a scent receptor organ called Jacobson’s organ. This organ, located at the roof of its mouth, helps to process scents.

The level of moisture and coolness of a dog’s nose may change during illness; other times, it does not change. Sometimes, when a dog is so sick that it may not lick its nose, its nose will get warm and dry. A fever may be felt because of the warmth of a dog’s nose. A dog’s nose can get cracked regularly if the dog breed has such a high set nose that the tongue cannot reach it.

When you keep an eye on your pet’s health, you can tell when your dog’s nose changes. A healthy dog’s nose is not too wet and it does not run. It is moist and usually licked frequently, if the dog can reach it. If you are worried about the condition of your dog’s nose or any other symptoms, question your veterinarian and seek proper medical treatment.

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