The Dog Nose: 5 Things You Need To Know About It

Every dog has a nose, and most of them have a mighty one, too. Canines are well-known for their sense of smell. Most dog owners probably don't give the dog nose much thought.

It's on your dog, it's wet, and it serves a vital purpose - getting oxygenated air to your dog's lungs and letting carbon dioxide pass out after. However, the dog's nose is quite fascinating! Here are five things you should know about your pup's nose!

The Dog Nose Has Millions of More Receptors Than Humans

The human nose has about six million sensory receptors. These are parts of our noses that detect smells. They're the reason we can tell the smell of bread baking or bacon frying. 

By contrast, a dog's nose has about 100 million receptors! Additionally, the part of a dog's brain responsible for analyzing odor is about 40 times bigger than the section in the human brain. To put that in perspective, most cats have somewhere between 45 and 80 million scent receptors.

That means dogs have a better sense of smell overall than cats, which is one reason people use dogs to sniff scents instead of cats!

If you have ever wondered how your dog's sense of smell is so good, that's why!

A Dog's Nose Does Not Need To Be Wet

While it is true that your dog's nose will be wet most of the time, a dry nose is not necessarily indicative of a health problem. Even though a puppy dry nose might cause first-time dog owners to go into a panic, many times, there's nothing wrong.

Dog noses are only wet for a few reasons. The first is that dogs frequently lick their noses. However, every dog is different, so maybe you have the type of dog that doesn't lick its nose a lot. Second, dogs have mucus that comes out of their nose that gives it a wet feeling.

This mucus increases when your dog gets sick, but a lack of mucus is not necessarily mean that your pup is sick! Finally, your dog's nose can be wet from sticking it in wet grass or other damp things on the ground. If the soil is dry, your dog's nose won't pick up any moisture there.

So, it's not necessarily the case that a dog's nose needs to be moist. Indeed, there are good reasons why your dog's nose might be dry. If you notice your dog acting like its nose is bothering them, you may wish to consider a dog nose balm. These solutions will help your pup feel better!

Check out our organic dog paw balm! It works on your dog's nose, elbows, and paws. 

A Dog's Nose Is Not the Only Source of Smell

Unlike humans, dogs have an organ called "Jacobson's organ." This unique organ is inside the nasal cavity, and it opens in the roof of the mouth. The entire purpose of this organ is to "smell" particles that the nose would not ordinarily detect. 

As an example, let's suppose there's a scentless compound in the air. If a human were to smell it, they'd smell nothing. If a dog smells it, initially, they'd smell nothing too. However, your pup can lick its nose and pull in those scentless particles.

Once it did that, Jacobson's organ would detect those particles and return a "smell" for them. It's one additional tool for dogs to improve their smelling skills!

It Helps Dissipate Heat

Dogs don't sweat like humans. When our bodies overheat, we start sweating, and the evaporating water from our skin helps to cool us off. Dogs need the ability to cool themselves down as well.

However, unlike humans, they don't have sweat glands all over their bodies. Instead, they sweat through three places - their footpads, panting, and their nose. The evaporation from their nose helps a little bit to cool their bodies.

Each Nose Has a Unique Print

In humans, every single person alive has a unique fingerprint. For dogs, they have a unique nose print. The print that you will find on your dog's nose is entirely unlike any other dog.

In theory, this could come in handy if you were trying to identify your particular dog (for example, there are two nearly-identical looking dogs at a pound). If you had the nose print of your dog, you could match it with the pups to see who was rightfully yours!

However, in practicality, nobody takes a nose print of their dog. So, this is one remarkable fact that typically remains just that - an exciting thing to learn about your pup!

The Dog Nose Is Quite Fascinating

The dog nose is quite fascinating from a pet owner's perspective as it serves so many more functions than a human nose does. It can smell and breathe air, but it does so much more too.

It helps cool down your dog's temperature, and dogs can use it to collect scent particles for processing by Jacobson's organ. Indeed, the dog nose is efficient! 

Why are dogs' noses wet?

There are three reasons why dogs' noses are wet: they secrete mucus, dogs lick their noses, and they get wet when they sniff things. It's worth noting that many people erroneously believe that a dry nose is indicative of illness. However, this is not necessarily the case as it's possible your dog's nose naturally isn't secreting as much mucus, and they haven't done anything else to make it wet!

Can dogs breathe through their mouth?

Yes, they can! Under normal circumstances, though, a dog will breathe through its nose. However, dogs breathe through their mouths to cool themselves off in the heat (panting). If you ever notice your dog panting extremely heavily, that can be a sign of a broader issue and may require medical attention.

Why do dogs lick their nose?

Dogs can lick their noses for a variety of reasons. The most common one, though, is that they are licking their nose clean. The other reason is that they need to gather some scent particles to enhance their smell through Jacobsen's organ. Either way, nose licking is entirely ordinary!

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Written by Leo Roux

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