Does a Dry Nose Mean My Dog Is Sick?

Is a healthy dog's nose always wet?

It's commonly thought that you can tell a dog is healthy if his nose is cold and wet, but this isn't necessarily true. Not only does a cold, wet nose not always indicate good health, but a warm, dry nose doesn't automatically mean a dog is sick.

Why Is A Dog's Nose Often Wet?

In order to discuss a canine's warm nose, it's important to understand why a dog's nose is often wet and cold. Dr. Stanley Coren, author of "What Dogs Know," offers a biblical explanation. As the tale goes, Noah used dogs to patrol his ark and keep the animals safe. One day, while sniffing around, the dogs discovered a coin-sized hole in the ark. One dog quickly plugged the leak with his nose while the other ran for help. Noah patched the hole in time, and all hands were saved. God bestowed the dog with a cold, wet nose as a reward for his quick thinking.

All legend aside, the exact reason for a dog's cold, wet nose is up for debate. Here are a few proposed explanations:

Why May a Dog's Nose Sometimes Be Dry?

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog's Nose?

The temperature of your dog's nose is a poor gauge of overall body temperature. If your dog has a warm nose but is alert and acting normally, he's probably in perfectly good health. However, there are some times when a dog's dry, warm nose could be of concern. If it is associated with any of the following signs, see your veterinarian right away:

Even if your dog's nose is wet and cool, any of the above signs require a visit to the veterinarian.

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