Why do dogs have wet noses?

When your dog nuzzles up to you and gives you one of their signature affectionate licks, you may have noticed that their nose is wet and cold.

Wet noses in dogs are very common. Whilst some people believe a wet nose is a sign of good health and having a dry nose is a sign of illness, this is just an old wives’ tale and is not a reliable way to test the health of your dog. We take a look at some of the reasons behind your pooch’s damp snoot.

Close up of a dog's nose

Reasons for wet noses in dogs

The temperature and moisture level of your dog’s nose fluctuates everyday depending on a variety of conditions. This means that whilst their nose may be dry in the morning, it could become wetter as the day progresses.

If you’re wondering about the reasons why your dog has a wet nose, it could be due to the following:

All the better to smell you with

Just like humans, dog’s noses, are used to secrete mucus. However, this snotty slime has another practical use for our canine friends. The thin layer of mucus that clings to the nostrils, helps with the absorption of scent chemicals which allows your dog to follow certain smells and acts as a great tool when out exploring!


Another potential reason for your dog’s wet nose could be that they’re licking it a lot. As obvious as it may sound, some breeds are able to reach their snout with their tongue hence why it may be covered in wet saliva.

Whilst dogs also lick their own noses accidentally when eating their food, they also purposely lick them to absorb the mucus and get a literal taste of their surroundings!

Picking up moisture

When you take your dog for their daily walk, you’ll probably have noticed just how much they love to explore. Whether it’s digging their nose into a muddy puddle or running through the grass, any moisture in their surroundings can be absorbed by their nose.

This may be the reason as to why your pet has a wetter nose than usual when they’ve been outdoors.

Temperature control

If your dog has just completed strenuous activity such as a lap around the park, their nose may be wetter than usual. This is because there are sweat glands that are situated within their snout and after tough exercise, a tiny amount of sweat can be emitted through their nose.

This helps a dog to control their temperature effectively as when they become too hot, it’s an effective way for them to release moisture and cool down.

What should I do if my dog’s nose is dry?

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why your dog’s nose may be wet, but even if it’s dry, there might not be a cause for concern. However, if your pooch has a dry snout and is showing other symptoms, like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea or changes in appetite then always be sure to speak to your vet, just in case.

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