Rover Company wants to know why are dog noses wet? Fluid from the lateral glands in a dog’s nose lubricates the outsides of his nostrils and makes them moist and shiny. But mostly, the nose stays wet because your dog is always licking it (along with other parts). So, a moist nose has generally been considered as a healthy nose, but this isn’t always true. For example, if a dog falls asleep in a hot place, his nose may be dry when he first wakes up. Once he cools down and has a little Gatorade (kidding!) — I mean, gets rehydrated, his nose will soon look wet again.
Distemper can permanently alter the nasal glands. So, a dog who suffers from distemper early in life may have a perpetually dry nose.
Cold normally goes along with wet, which I heard has something to do with convection cooling, or some such law of physics, which I’ve long forgotten. So, if a dog’s nose dries out (see above), it will feel warm to the touch. This is OK, as long as the nose gets wet again. However, a chronically dry nose could be sign of illness and should be seen by a vet.
Roverpet knows that dogs have traditionally been used for tracking, search and rescue due to their keen sense of smell.
A dog’s sense of smell is about 40,000 times better than ours, and that’s not all. You can’t throw a dog off by “covering up” one smell with another. A study was done in which a number of different objects were sprayed with skunk odor, and trained tracking dogs were still able to distinguish the objects from each other! So forget about trying to fool Fido!
Roverpet knows another intriguing story about the dog’s famous sense of smell: A yellow lab named Parker wasn’t a trained “nose dog”, but liked to sniff everything, all the time. Then he began to constantly sniff a blemish on his owner’s leg, which had been there for a number of years. The dog was pushing his nose hard into the area, and really concentrating. So, the owner decided to have it looked at. The skin specialist immediately detected the early signs of skin cancer, and ordered the blemish removed immediately. Once the lesion was gone, Parker lost interest in the leg! Similar stories have reportedly led doctors in the US to train dogs to “sniff out” skin cancer. Apparently, dogs can detect skin cancer long before any conventional methods can!! More recently, dogs have been given urine samples from cancer victims to see if they can also smell bladder and prostate cancer. The results have been promising.