Thu. Mar 16th, 2023

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Dog parents and experts agree that a dog’s moist and cool nose indicates good health. However, have you ever wondered why a dog’s nose is wet? 

The truth is that wet noses are better for several reasons. Let’s see why wet noses work better than dry noses and why do dogs have wet noses. 

Wet Noses Help Dogs In Their Sense of Smell

Canines use smells to sense their environment, and the sense of smell is essential in canines. While humans arguably depend on vision primarily, dogs use the sense of smell coupled with vision to communicate. The human brain spends more time interpreting and understanding visual data than the sense of smell. On the other hand, the brains of dogs are the complete opposite. It focuses more on the sense of smell rather than visual data. 

Dogs contain over 100 million reception sites in their nasal cavities, while humans only have 6 million. Interestingly, the canine brain analyzes odors with a 40 times larger brain area than humans. Some studies suggest that dogs have 1,000-10,000 times better sense of smell than humans. It is mostly because they have Jacobsen’s organ, which increases their sense of smell. The organ is in the nasal cavity, opening behind the upper incisors in the mouth’s roof. Jacobsen’s organ is designed for chemical communication and is a secondary olfactory system. 

A dog’s nose works better when wet because scent particles stick more to wet surfaces. 

Wet Noses Help Dogs Stay Cool

Interestingly, wet noses help dogs stay cool. Dogs get rid of heat through panting and their foot pads. However, dogs also use their nasal pathways to keep themselves cool. 

Now that we have seen some benefits of wet noses let’s see how a dog’s nose gets wet.

Mucus Secretion

A dog has special glands in its nose’s inner lining. It produces mucus and helps in keeping its nasal canals moist. This mucus layer sticks to the dog’s nostrils and enhances the ability to absorb chemical scents. It leads to increased smelling power. These glands also produce watery, clear fluid, helping the dog stay cool through evaporation. 

Dogs Lick Their Nose

Most dogs constantly lick their nose to keep them covered with saliva. Their long tongues help reach the nose tip easily. A dog licks its nose frequently to keep it clean as it gets dirty, smelling everything. Dogs smell everything from dust, and flower pollen, to their food, leading to a dirty nose. It requires constant cleaning, which the licking provides. Dogs lick their noses to get scent particles inside their mouths as well. It travels to Jacobsen’s organ. A wet nose enhances Jacobsen’s organ’s ability to smell. Dogs also lick their noses to keep them from getting dry. A dry nose functions more poorly than a wet nose, and dogs might miss out on important information with a dry nose. 


Dogs use their nose all the time. They navigate their surroundings through their sense of smell, sniffing everything. When dogs stick their noses in puddles, leaves, plants, or wet grass, they get their noses wet. The moisture in the environment leads to a dog getting its nose wet. 

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