A closeup of a dog's nose.

Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet?

It is just a matter of time before your dog comes wagging its tail in your direction after you sit on the couch. Right before happily laying down on your feet, it sniffs your leg all around, and its nose leaves a wet trail. But why are dogs’ noses wet anyway? Are there any reasons? Come with me, and let’s clarify this matter!

Dogs’ noses are wet for several reasons. A dog’s nose naturally secretes mucus. This helps scent particles to stick. By keeping itself wet and managing the water evaporation, it helps regulate a dog’s body temperature. Besides, dogs are always licking their noses and are always sniffing around, which allows environmental moisture to stick to the nose.

Are Wet Noses Normal For Dogs?

A dog with its wet nose close to the camera while the dog lays on the ground.

When your puppy comes smelling you all over, it will do so with a moist nose on most occasions. Some breeds will have it wetter, others will have it drier. Depending on the period of the day or the activity the dog is doing (if it is sleeping or if it is active), the nose can change its level of moisture. So, although it is not a rule to always be the same (and there can always be some individual variation), it is very normal and expected to find dogs’ noses wet.

Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet?

Now that we know a wet nose is more than normal, it is time to find out the reasons why. Here’s what they are!

Mucus Secretion

The first and main reason why dogs’ noses are usually wet is they have some special glands that produce mucus. This thin layer of mucus helps the scent particles to stick to the nose and get absorbed. This, therefore, improves their ability to smell – an essential part of a dogs’ world. Besides, it helps to humidify the air entering the airway, which protects the respiratory tract and improves the quality of breathing.

Temperature Regulation

The second reason why dogs’ noses are wet is that dogs need tools to regulate their body temperature. Since they don’t sweat all over their bodies like humans do, our buddies need to have their own strategies to avoid overheating. Releasing moisture and evaporating it is a way to cool the temperature down on a hot day or after some exercise.


The third reason is related to something you see your dog doing a lot: licking. Dogs love to lick all kinds of stuff all the time. They’re sure not going to leave their noses out of that equation. After all, they could be licking it just to clean something out (like the food they’ve just eaten), they can be meaning to add some moisture to better smell their environment, or they can even be trying to literally taste the scent particles that are stuck to their noses – how cool, right?

Sniffing Around

Last but not least, the fourth reason why your dogs’ noses are wet is they are always sniffing around. Since smell is very important to them and allows them to understand their surroundings, dogs love to explore the area. When they sniff certain surfaces from outside, like grass or leaves on the sidewalk, the moisture of the environment ends up sticking to their noses.

Should I Worry About Dogs’ Noses Being Dry?

Although dogs’ noses are wet most of the time, a dry nose is not necessarily a bad thing. As we’ve explained, it’s normal to see some variation in the level of moisture between breeds and between periods of the day and activities, so if you find out your dog has its nose a little drier than normal, you don’t need to be alarmed. If you just wait a little while, offer your four-legged friend some water or adjust the humidity of the air (by taking it inside the bathroom after your bath, for example), its nose is likely going to get back to normal. 

Now, in case the dryness is chronic or you notice other symptoms along with the dry nose, you should probably pay attention. Chronic dryness can indicate some dermatological or autoimmune diseases, mainly if it’s associated with redness, cracks, or bleeding. Also, if your dog is also showing lethargy and loss of appetite, it can have some internal disease that needs a vet to check it. Either way, your vet will know exactly how to advise you, so don’t hesitate on calling in these cases.

Can Dogs’ Noses Be Too Wet?

Although nose wetness is normal, we expect to find just a thin layer of mucus. If you notice a larger amount of mucus or a thicker and colored substance (like yellow, for example) – or even if your buddy seems to be having trouble breathing due to this excessive wetness – your dog may be dealing with a respiratory issue. In this case, ensure your veterinarian checks your pet. This way the veterinarian can treat it so it can resume normal breathing as soon as possible.

Conclusion: Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet?

In conclusion, there are several reasons why dogs’ noses are wet. Their noses need to be wet in order to improve their ability to smell. They also need to be wet to help them regulate body temperature. To help with this, they produce a thin layer of mucus to keep them moisturized. Besides, dogs are always licking their lips and noses and like to sniff their surroundings, which contributes to keeping their noses wet.

Did you know all this information? How is your dog’s nose, wetter or drier? Tell us in the comments below!

Thamiris da Rocha
Thamiris da Rocha
Thamiris has been passionate about animals for as long as she can remember. When she was a little kid, she used to ask her parents to stop the car at every corner to try to rescue a dog from the streets and take it home. Years went by and that passion became a graduation in Veterinary Medicine, which she completed in 2019 at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), the best Vet School in Brazil. Now she is more than happy to share her knowledge with people and help them have more information and a better relationship with these amazing and special souls.