Ever wondered why are dogs’ noses wet?

Dogs typically greet and investigate using their nose first, as it is a crucial sensory organ providing valuable information about their environment, particularly through smells. 

Although we may take it for granted, dogs’ noses grant them impressive abilities, and their noses are often cold and wet when they approach us.

What Constitutes a Typical Nose for a Dog?

Most dogs have wet and cold noses, but there is variation between individuals and over time. 

The old saying that a wet nose equals good health and a dry nose equals illness is not accurate. 

It’s important to know what’s normal for your dog since some dogs naturally have wetter or drier noses. 


Older dogs may develop dry, slightly rough, or crusty noses due to a lifetime of sniffing, but this is typically not concerning. 

However, contact your veterinarian if there’s any redness or soreness.

A dog’s nose texture can differ based on various factors like temperature, hydration, humidity, exercise, and time of day. 

Licking can also influence it. It’s normal for noses to dry out when the dog is relaxed or after sleep, and to be wetter after exercise. 

Typically, normal wet noses have a thin, clear layer of mucus. It’s important to know what’s typical for your dog.

Does Your Dog’s Nose Have an Issue?


While rare, several problems can affect a dog’s nose and require veterinary investigation. 

Consistently dry noses may be a sign of dehydration or fever, but the dog will likely display other symptoms like appetite loss or lethargy. 

Noses can be affected by skin issues such as allergies, infections, or autoimmune diseases, causing redness, soreness, crusting, discharge, or unusual coloring.

What Should I Do if My Dog’s Nose Has Excessive Discharge?

A dog’s normal wet nose should have clear mucus, and any changes or excessive discharge should be reported to the vet. 

If you notice lots of snot, boogers, blood, or crusting around the nose, contact your veterinarian. 

Clear discharge is typical, but any other mucus color is not. If you suspect your dog is unwell, don’t hesitate to contact your local veterinarian for advice.

What Makes Your Dog’s Nose Wet?


The wet sensation on a dog’s nose is typically a result of a mixture of mucus, skin moisture (sweat), and saliva from licking.

Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet? 4 Surprising Reasons

Most dogs have wet noses, but some have naturally dry noses which is normal for them. There are several possible reasons why dogs’ noses are typically wet.


Dogs sweat through specialized skin on their feet and nose when they need to cool down or are nervous. 

Sweating cools the body by secreting water onto the skin, which then evaporates into the air and takes heat with it, making the nose feel wetter during hot weather or exercise.

Smell & Taste


Dogs have wet mucus on their nose which helps them trap chemicals involved in smells and tastes, making their nose more sensitive. 

These signaling chemicals are detected by the nose, tongue, and the vomeronasal organ located between the nose and mouth, which is especially important for pheromones and detecting scents like dogs in heat. 

Dogs rely on their sense of smell and taste to build a complete picture of their surroundings, which is vastly different from humans who rely heavily on vision. 

Some breeds of dogs can be much more accurate than humans in detecting scents.

Controlling Air Entering Lungs

Both dogs and humans rely on their noses to regulate the flow of air in and out of their respiratory systems. 

The nose filters out airborne debris to prevent it from entering the lungs. 

It also humidifies the air to prevent the lungs from drying out and helps to warm cold air on the way in and preserve heat on the way out, acting as a heat exchanger.

Thermal Imaging


New research indicates that dogs may have the ability to sense heat from a distance. Unlike humans, who can feel heat through their skin (especially as others get close), dogs’ noses may function like an infrared camera, able to detect heat signatures. 

Swedish scientists have trained dogs to identify objects that are slightly warmer than the environment from up to five feet away, suggesting that they may use this skill to detect nearby prey. 

The wet mucus on a dog’s nose may help protect the nerves responsible for this remarkable detection ability.

Concluding Remarks

Dogs’ wet nose is due to a combination of sweat, mucus, and licking, which serves important functions such as temperature regulation, lung protection, and sensory perception. 

However, the wetness of a dog’s nose varies depending on the dog and local factors. Some dogs may have a dry nose, particularly as they age. 

To determine your dog’s normal nose condition, it’s best to observe it regularly. 

If your dog’s nose shows signs of ill health or your dog exhibits general signs of sickness, such as fever, dehydration, or lethargy, consult your veterinarian promptly.