You already know your pup has an immaculate sense of smell. You have seen your dog fixate on a smell on a hydrant, a bush, or a lawn. You have experienced your furry friend nuzzling his snout to your clothes, or you notice he puts his nose in the air as if smelling some far-off scent. This is because dogs have a great sense of smell and it directly correlates to the meaning of a wet nose.
We all recognize the wet nose from a pup and in this post we will look at why a dog has a wet nose and how it is important to their sense of smell.
Understanding a dog’s sense of smell
Dogs have an impeccable sense of smell. In fact, dogs primarily use their noses to explore the world. Dogs focus on olfactory cues or smells more than they do their vision.
Your pup has upward to 100 million olfactory receptors in their noses. For comparison, humans have around 6 million receptors. On top of that, the area of a dog’s brain reserved for smell is around forty times larger than a human’s. That’s pretty amazing, right?
This is the reason why dogs are incredible at performing certain jobs such as being cadaver dogs, a drug sniffer dog, or even a diabetes alert dog (smells low or high sugar in the blood) just to name a few. A dog’s sense of smell is one of their greatest assets.
Why does your dog have a wet nose?
This leads us to why a dog’s nose is wet: basically, a wet nose is used to enhance their olfactory powers. Interestingly enough a wet dog nose helps a dog absorb scent, enhancing their ability to smell. Because smells are the main way dogs explore the world, a wet nose is imperative for their ability to keep their smelling powers functioning.
So how does a dog keep their impressive noses moist? Dogs secrete mucus that keeps their snouts both wet and cool. Special glands in the inner lining of the nose slather your pup’s nose with a thin layer of mucus.
Furthermore, dogs have long tongues that aid in their smelling ability. They lick their noses to not only keep their noses moist, but to clean, and even taste scent particles. Tasting these scent particles moves them to the roof of their mouths where the Jacobson organ is housed, an organ that further enhances their sense of smell.
Another important function of a wet nose is to keep your pup cool. Dogs sweat through their paws and noses, so a wet dog nose aids in cooling them through evaporation.
What Does a Dry Nose Mean?
It is a common misconception that a dry or warm nose signals a sick dog. The truth is that different dogs and breeds vary and also vary depending on what activity your dog has experienced. A dog just popping out of the blankets from a nap might have a dry nose. The important item to consider is if you notice your dog has a dry nose accompanied by other symptoms. Symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting might be an indication of a sick pup.
Next time you feel your pup’s cool, moist nose nuzzled against your skin, take a moment to marvel at their special smelling powers and just how important it is for their olfactory capacity.
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