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Sniffing Out the Truth!

Should a dogs nose be wet or dry... we get asked many times about the wetness/dryness of a dogs nose and which indicates health or illness so ... lets sniff out the truth!

A dogs nose is actually an amazing piece of anatomy. To start, let us look at their nostrils – yep, really.

Dogs noses are Steroscopic which means the two nostrils can work independently from one another. The slits at the side aren’t just a biological oddity but this is where dogs exhale. They inhale through their nostrils and exhale through the slits.

So – wet or dry?

Wet noses tend to work better and a wet nose can help cool a dog down. The lining of your dogs nose contains special mucus producing glands which will help keep the nasal passageways moist. Dogs will also lick their noses on a regular basis to keep them moist. The licking of the nose has two purposes – to keep it moist but also to help interpret smell through taste.

A dry nose might be because...

A) Age - older dogs tend to have drier noses

B) Your dog has been sleeping (and therefore not been licking its nose)

C) It is a windy day

D) It is a hot sunny day

E) It is a cold day

F) Your dog has been lying next to your cosy open fire!

A dry, hot nose may not always be a sign of illness (poorly dogs can have wet noses too) but it may be a sign of a raising temperature or dehydration. If your dog shows other signs of being off colour e.g. off its food, vomiting and/or diarrhoea, lethargy then contact your vet for advice.

So, in conclusion...

Most healthy dogs noses are wet most of the time but can have periods when it is dry with no obvious signs of illness. A dry or wet nose accompanied with other signs as mentioned above can be an indicator to an illness which should be discussed with your vet  as soon as possible.

Some Amazing Canine Nose Facts!

· Dogs have the ability to take in and breath out air at the same time.

· Dogs can smell anything from 10,000 to 1000,000 times better than a human ( some say even more)

· Dogs noses have 300 million cells that work to try and understand a scent, a human has 50. This means that a dogs nose is 60 times more powerful than ours ( well, unless pizza is in the offering!)  Dogs amazing sense of smell is now being used to detect illness, disease or cancer in humans. This is because dogs have a secondary receptor in their noses called Vomeronasal organ. This helps sniff out things which are invisible. It can help a dog detect hormones and pheromones. These give dogs huge amounts of information. With this information a dog can also tell if you are sad or stressed.  If your dog spends a lot of time sniffing the ground when you are out on a walk, it is picking up whether the dog who came along before was friendly or healthy!

· Dogs noses are unique. Every single dog in the world has a totally unique nose print – just like humans have unique fingerprints

· Size really does matter – well, length anyway! The longer the  length of your dogs nose, the better its sense of smell.

‘Dogs read about the world through their noses and write messages ( at least to other dogs) in their urine’

- Dr Stanley Coren


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