It is commonly thought that a dog is sick if its nose is dry and warm. The truth is: this is a misconception. Not all dogs have wet noses, and if your dog’s nose is usually dry, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with it. Dogs have varying levels of wet noses and it usually fluctuates depending on the time of the day. Most of the time, a canine’s nose is wet because it has just licked its own nose. As such, you’ll find that your dog’s nose is the driest after a nap.
Licking their noses helps canines smell better. While they do have a thin layer of mucus coating the nose, a wetter nose will easily pick up particles in the air that carry scents. This brings the particles closer to the nose, allowing the dog to get a better whiff. To further aid their sense of smell, dogs have a special scent gland on the roof of their mouth, called the Jacobson’s organ. This additional scent gland can only be engaged when a dog licks the particles from its nose and transfers them into its mouth. Another reason why dogs have wet noses is because some of them have sweat glands on their noses to help them cool down. They may also lick their noses more frequently on an extra hot day. This works in the same way as sweating helps us to cool down, though its effectiveness for canines is yet to be determined.
While a dry nose doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem, there are some other abnormal nose conditions that are a cause for concern. Thick mucus may be a symptom of illness, and if you notice that your dog’s nostrils are crusty, a trip to the vet is definitely recommended.