Humans have been curious about dogs’ noses for many years. Dogs can pick up the scent of a human’s approach while they are still far away, and many pet owners have found their pet can smell the pills they hid in their food, as well. Owners wonder why their canine always has a wet nose…does he lick in an effort to self-moisturizing, or is it wet because he keeps licking it? The following are a few interesting tidbits about titillating doggie noses.
Most people know dogs are great at tracking people and are increasingly used in search and rescue efforts because of their exquisite sense of smell. For starters, their sense of smell is reportedly 40,000 times greater than humans’ ability to detect scents. Furthermore, the canine scent cannot be fooled by trying to cover one scent with another. In a recent study, researchers sprayed several objects with skunk scent, and dogs trained in tracking still detected the separate scent of each object. So forget trying to hide that pill in Rover or Muffin’s food!
Now the answer to why the little cold noses are wet. A canine nose has lateral glands that secrete fluid to lubricate the outer nostrils, making them shiny and moist. Along with that, your dog constantly licks its nose, keeping it wet. Many people believe a wet nose means a dog is healthy, but that is not always the case. For instance, a dog sleeping in the heat may wake up with a hot, dry nose. After he drinks from the toilet bowl (a little humor there)… the nose will be moist again. In addition, if a dog has had distemper, the nasal glands may be permanently altered, leaving the dog with a consistently dry nose.
Normally, people associate cold with wet on a dog’s nose, and this may have a connection to convection cooling or other laws of physics, which many of us have forgotten. Therefore, if a dog’s nose becomes dry, as previously mentioned, it feels warm. No harm to that, unless it does not become wet again. If a canine nose is dry most of the time, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian.
As finger prints identify humans, so nose prints identify dogs. Trainers and breeders keep each dog’s nose print in its permanent file, and insurance companies require a nose print for each dog the company bonds. Paw prints were used in the past to identify dogs, but nose prints have proved move accurate. Even though some owners have microchips inserted in their dogs, the procedure is invasive, and the chips can be removed by an unscrupulous person. If your pet is ever stolen or lost, his or her life could be saved by having a record of the nose print.
A report by German researchers stated dogs can accurately detect lung cancer by the scent
of a human’s breath. The study used four dogs who sniffed out 71 cases of the disease out of 100 breath samples from people who had lung cancer, and also correctly determined cancer-free samples with over 90 percent accuracy. These are only a few of the many fascinating facts associated with the canine nose, and there is no doubt that as time goes on, scientists and animal experts will discover even more intriguing information about this lovable characteristic.