Is a Wet Nose a Sign of a Healthy Pet?

image of a closeup of a dog's nose

Have you ever heard that a wet nose is a sign that your pet is healthy? Although that's often the case, it's not always true. A moist nose can benefit your pet in several ways, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee good health.

How Does a Wet Nose Help My Pet?

Have you ever been woken at 5 a.m. by a cold, wet nose rubbing against your hand or face? Although the ability to easily wake lazy humans is certainly one advantage of a wet nose, your dog or cat benefits from a moist nose in a few other ways.

Scents are very important to your pets. Animals mark their territory by leaving subtle scent clues when they rub against people and objects. Outside, pets set boundaries by urinating or defecating in strategic places. When other animals sniff those scents, they understand the message your pet is sending.

A wet nose enhances your pet's ability to identify scents. Microscopic scent particles float through the air and land on your pet's nose. If the nose is wet, they'll stick to it rather than falling off, which makes identifying odors much easier.

A wet nose also helps keep your pet cool. As moisture evaporates from the nose, it provides a cooling effect. Luckily, it's easy to restore lost moisture with a simple swipe of the tongue.

Can My Pet's Nose Be Too Moist?

A wet nose isn't always a good sign. If your pet's nose is suddenly very wet, an upper respiratory infection may be to blame. When dogs and cats catch a cold or other virus, they may experience runny noses just like people do.

Is a Dry Nose a Bad Sign?

A warm, dry nose isn't necessarily a sign that your pet is ill. Some dogs or cats naturally have dry noses. Even if your pet normally has a cool, wet nose, it may tend to become dryer and warmer after a nap or a few hours spent in the sun. Dryness may also be a natural effect of aging.

A dry nose can be a sign of dehydration or illness, particularly if your pet's nose is usually wet. You can tell if your pet is dehydrated by examining its gums. Dehydration often makes the gums look pale instead of pink. The scruff test offers another way to determine if dehydration is a problem. Perform the test by gently pulling up on the skin on the back of your pet's neck. If your cat or dog isn't dehydrated, the skin will quickly snap back against the body. It will take a few seconds for the skin to return to normal if your furry friend is dehydrated.

Other signs that may indicate illness in pets, whether the nose is dry or wet, include:

  • Unusual Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Change in Behavior
  • Obvious Pain
  • Urinating More or Less Than Normal
  • Hiding (in Cats)
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Lameness
  • Constant Scratching
  • Hair Loss
  • Difficulty Moving or Walking
  • Weight Loss
  • Changes in Bowel Habits
  • Lumps
  • Cloudy or Red Eyes

Has your pet's nose suddenly become dry and warm? Call us to schedule an appointment to find out if a health issue is the reason for the change.

Sources:

Dog Health: Does a Dry Nose Mean My Dog is Sick?

https://www.doghealth.com/how-and-why/why-dogs-have-wet-noses

Catster: Ask a Vet: Should a Cat’s Nose Always Be Cool and Moist?, 6/21/16

http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-care-nose-wet-moist-cool-ask-a-vet

VetStreet: Why Does My Dog Have a Wet Nose?

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/why-does-my-dog-have-a-wet-nose

Animal Wellness Magazine: What Your Dog’s Nose Can Tell You

https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/what-her-nose-can-tell-you/

Healthy Pets: Help Your Dog Overcome These 3 Common Allergies, 9/15/11

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/09/15/help-your-dog-overcome-these-common-allergies.aspx

Drs. Foster and Smith: Allergy Signs & Symptoms

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?siteid=12&acatid=169&aid=75

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-7:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-7:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Dr. Diamond,

    Your compassion and kindness to our "Star" was greatly appreciated."
    Sincerely, Rose Kush
  • "Dr. Diamond,

    I know that I always tell you how wonderful you are to "Nala" and I. But just by the amount of patients you have tells me that other clients feel the same way! You never make us feel like you are rushed. You make sure that we know you care for each and every pet. I have raised many dogs and went to many vets in my lifetime. But never had such a wonderful vet as you. It is very hard to compare any vet to you, because you my friend, are in a class of your own! God bless you, Dr. Diamond. Thank you soooo much for caring about us."
    Sincerely, Michelle & "Nala"
  • "Dear Dr. Diamond and all of your wonderful pet angels,

    I was touched to receive your beautiful card and you all wrote messages! That is incredibly special.As you all are. I am so grateful for your loving expertise with caring for all our dogs, but especially Spike. He lived longer and better thanks to your care. May 28th was a shockingly sad day but I just kept focusing then and now on your kindness and gentleness."
    Rosemari and all the family
  • "Dr Diamond,

    Glen and I are so thankful to you and your wonderful staff for taking such good care of our sweet lil' Brin. Your kindness and gentle treatment of her while she was feeling poorly and trying so hard to recover means more to us than you could imagine. Thank you so much.

    Thank you, your thoughtfulness is appreciated,"
    The Cotten Family