My Dog’s Nose Is Hot – Is He Sick?
A dog’s nose is a wondrous thing—think of all the scents they can smell with their sensitive noses. They can track food on the floor, even if we can’t see it. A dog’s nose can also be trained to sniff out cancer on their humans. Their noses are also great for sniffing out other critters, reading the “news” at the local tree and more.
How Does a Dog’s Nose Work?
Your dog’s nose picks up microparticles of scents that we can’t even detect. From the nose, the electrical impulses are sent to the brain, where they are interpreted into messages your dog will understand. Did you know that your dog has an average of 300 million olfactory receptors in her nose? Most dogs have about 40 times the scent receptors compared to their pet parents. That’s amazing!
Have you noticed your pup’s nose is wet most of the time? Your dog’s nose is always wet because scent particles are easier for your pup’s scent receptors to identify when they’re in a fluid. Keeping his nose wet is how your dog gets microparticles to stick to his nose, making scents stronger and easier for him to interpret. Dogs with wet noses have a better sense of smell, which is an indication they’re wet nose is a sign of health rather than sickness.
Dogs Sweat Through Their Noses
Dogs don’t have sweat glands all throughout their body like we do. Instead, dogs sweat through their snout and nose, while also sweating through their paws. The sweat glands in their nose work the same way as our sweat glands—they cool the air as it passes over the wet tissue.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Noses?
Dogs literally lick their noses hundreds of times in a single day. Have you ever noticed that? Why do they lick their noses so frequently? In order to keep them moist and to clean away debris. Your dog’s nose should always be wet. If it’s not, he could be dehydrated and lack the moisture needed to keep his nose moist and clean. So, is a dry nose a sign of trouble? Not necessarily. A dog’s nose can become try if the environment is dry. It can also become dry from electric heat in the winter, or from laying near the fireplace to stay warm, etc. All of these can make your pup’s nose dry. His nose will probably become wet again after he moves away to a more humid environment, gets a drink, licks his nose, etc.
As wondrous as a dog’s nose is, can it be an alert that your dog may be getting sick? Let’s take a look.
Can a Dog’s Nose Let Us Know He’s Sick?
It’s pretty much a myth that’s been around for years and years. What does it mean when a dog’s nose is warm? If you go by the myth, it could mean that he’s getting sick. If a dog’s nose is cold and wet, we’ve been told this indicates a dog is healthy. However, both of these are not good ways to check your dog for any type illness. Researchers have shown that a dog’s nose changes temperature on a regular basis all throughout the day. One part of the day your pup’s nose may be cold and wet, but later in the day his nose could be dry and hot. Either way, he could be happy and healthy, or sick.
The following signs and symptoms are much more reliable clues as to your dog’s health:
- He’s not drinking
- He’s not behaving normally
- He’s whining
- He’s lethargic
- He’s not eating
- Nasal discharge that’s colored and possibly has an odor
These are symptoms that should always be checked by your vet. And if your dog’s nose does feel unusually hot, then it’s a good time to check and see if he may have a fever. If so, then call your vet and get an appointment to have your fur baby checked out.
Warning Signs Your Dog Could Be Ill
As we’ve seen so far, a dog’s nose can sometimes be warm or cold, wet or dry, depending on a wide set of variables. However, your fur baby’s nose can indicate he’s not feeling good. If you see changes in his nose along with other symptoms, he could be showing signs of illness.
Your dog’s nose can show the following indications that he may be sick:
- Dry crusty nose that seems to be chronic: this could be caused by problems with the tear ducts in his eyes.
- A high fever with a dried-out nose (along with lethargy, not eating, etc.)
- Nasal discharge that’s brown, reddish, yellow or green may indicate an infection. (Dogs can come down with sinus infections, just like us).
- Nasal issues combined with a cough and lethargy can indicate illnesses such as parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, heartworm disease.
- Red, peeling nose can mean your dog’s nose is sunburned.
These are all signs that your pup needs to see the vet as soon as possible to determine the cause. This is especially the case if these symptoms are combined with other symptoms as noted earlier. And remember that an early diagnosis and quick treatment can keep many conditions from worsening or threatening your fur baby’s life.
Dog Warm Dry Nose Lethargy
While a dog’s warm dry nose may not mean anything, if it’s accompanied by lethargy it could be an indication your pup’s sick. If these symptoms are combined with others such as sneezing, discomfort of any kind, poor appetite or anything else out of the norm, then it’s best to contact the vet.
My Dog’s Nose is Warm and Panting
If your dog’s nose is warm and he’s panting, it could be a sign that he’s hot. However, it could also mean he has a fever and could be dehydrated. At this point, it’s best to take his temperature, if possible. If you’re not comfortable taking your pup’s temp, that’s OK. Then go ahead and call the vet for an appointment. Your fur baby should be checked to see if he’s sick.
My Dog’s Nose is Hot and Runny
A hot nose may not mean anything by itself; even a hot, runny nose may not be anything to worry about. It all depends on the combination of symptoms, or the lack of symptoms your pup’s displaying. A dog’s nose will run for various reasons including:
Allergies: can cause a thin, watery discharge that may not have any color or odor. Other symptoms can include red, watery eyes, sneezing, scratching, etc.
- Fungal infection
- Nasal tumor
- Canine influenza
- Kennel cough
- Inhaled foreign object (such as grass awns)
In case of a more serious condition, you may notice your fur baby’s runny nose gets worse. In this case, it’s time to visit the vet. The vet may first try antibiotics, and if this doesn’t clear up the problem, then they may decide a rhinoscopy is needed. Your pup will be anesthetized for this procedure, and a camera (scope) will be inserted into his nose. The vet will look at the inside of the dog’s nose to check for any abnormalities and may even take a culture or biopsy.
It may also be necessary to have a CT scan of your pup’s head to make a final diagnosis.
My Dog’s Nose is Warm After Surgery
Anesthesia can affect your dog’s cooling and heating ability. If his nose is warm, it’s a good idea to go ahead and take his temperature to check for fever. In addition, you should make sure he’s staying hydrated after surgery, which will help his healing process.
Treatment of Dog Nose Problems Depends on Diagnosis
The treatment of your dog’s nose problems will depend on the diagnosis from the vet. It could be your fur baby needs a round of antibiotics, antihistamines, etc. It just depends on the cause.
Normal for Your Dog’s Nose – How to Keep His Nose Healthy
All through this article, we’ve taken a look at various nose conditions that may indicate your fur baby has a medical problem. Your dog’s nose can vary from wet to dry, warm to cold and this is all normal. So, if you notice a small change like this, that’s only temporary, chances are he’s just fine. Even a runny nose can be normal; however, if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as colored discharge, lethargy, etc., then it’s time to get your canine companion to the vet.
To help keep your pup’s nose healthy, make sure he stays hydrated and avoid leaving him out in extremes of temperature. Also make sure he has shade on hot, sunny days to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion and a dry, chapped nose. On days like this, your pup also needs water available at all times.
Monitor Your Dog Every Day
The best way to keep your canine companion happy and healthy, nose and all, is to monitor him each and every day. Watch for changes in behavior, symptoms and signs of illness, etc. To prevent health issues, make sure your dog is well hydrated, that he has a well-balanced diet, and gets enough rest every day. Also make sure he sees the vet at least once a year for checkups, depending on your vet’s guidance, your pup’s age and overall health. Your vet will make sure your fur baby has all the required vaccinations to keep him healthy, too.
We wish you and your fur baby all the best in happiness and good nasal health!