Why Are Dogs' Noses Wet And Cold?

There's a real reason — and a reason why some dogs' noses are warm and dry.

If you've ever touched your dog's nose, on purpose or by accident, you've probably noticed that it's often kind of cold and wet. Most of us just take it as a fact that dogs' noses are always cold, and don't really think about why that might be.

But is there actually a reason why dogs' noses are cold and wet?

As it turns out, there is. A dog's nose is a part of his body's cooling system, and plays a crucial role in keeping him cool and regulated throughout the day.

"Unlike humans, who cool themselves largely by sweating, dogs cool themselves through their respiratory tract through panting, pushing warm air out and bringing cool air in," Dr. Sonja Olson, a senior clinician in emergency medicine for BluePearl Veterinary Partners, told The Dodo. "Cooling occurs as moisture evaporates from the tongue and nose, which both have a lot of blood vessels close to the surface."

So, when your dog is running around a lot or the weather outside is incredibly hot, his nose is likely to be cold, as his body is trying to keep him from overheating.

On a not-so-hot day though, or on days where your dog isn't as active, his nose might not feel as cold, and that's perfectly normal. The coldness of a dog's nose relates directly to his cooling system, and on days when he doesn't need to keep as cool, his nose just won't be as cold.

Therefore, the theory that dogs with warm, dry noses are sick simply isn't true. Some dogs have naturally warmer noses than others, according to Dr. Ari Zabell of Banfield Pet Hospital, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Another factor that goes into how cold a dog's nose is has to do with breed and facial structure.

"Dogs with long noses, such as German shepherds, are more likely to have noses that feel cold, while dogs with shorter noses, such as pugs and bulldogs, will often be comparatively warmer," Olson said.

So whether your dog's nose is wet and cold or warm and dry, it's not an indicator of his health. If you're ever worried about your dog overheating, there are other signs to look out for.