I am always tickled when two dogs meet and immediately sniff one another. Can’t you just imagine what they are gleaning from the scent of another dog and the “conversation” that is occuring? They can probably figure out more about one another in a few seconds compared to the hours it would take for two humans to talk! “Where are you from? Who are your people? What’s your name? Any other pets in your house? What did you have for breakfast? Where have you been today?” (And on and on…)
Why is their nose so amazing?
A dog’s nose can have up to 300 Million olfactory receptors, which is over 50 times more than a human nose! Some say that dogs actually “see” with their noses as their primary sense, where humans depend primarily on visual and auditory senses. Even though dogs have a much smaller size brain than a human does, they use about 40% more (in proportion) of their brain to process smells than we do.
So, it makes sense to me that we should take good care of our pup’s nose. I used to think that if my dog’s nose was dry and warm it meant that she was sick. Then I asked my vet and she explained that a dog’s nose can be moist or dry, cool and warm several times a day.
Why do their noses feel dry?
The most common time a dog’s nose may be dry and warm is if they have just woken up from a long nap and need to get a drink. Mild dehydration can be a contributor to a dry nose, so it is important to keep fresh water available to your dog at all times. Weather, indoor heat, allergens, dog behavior and physical features (ie: excessive licking), sun and pollutants can all contribute to a dry, chapped, cracked and crusty dog nose. (Especially our adorable dogs with smooshed noses like bulldogs, pugs and Pekingeses)
Special care should be taken to avoid a cracked and chapped nose and always check with your vet if you are concerned about a chronic condition or a sudden change in what you know as normal for your pup’s nose. My sweet dog has had a bee sting, from sticking her nose, literally, where it didn’t belong, and has also endured a sunburn and chapped nose.
Maintenance is the key.
Year round, to help our dog maintain a healthy nose, we started using Nozzle Nectar, an all natural and 100% organic nasal balm made by Quality Pet. There are many kinds of balms available on the market, but for our furry baby, we chose the organic and all natural route. It is completely scent free and a small amount goes a long way. (Available on www.qualitypet.co)
After learning all about dog’s noses and how they actually use them to interpret the world around them, I am convinced of how important the care of your dog’s nose is! The next time you are out walking your dog and smell a neighbor baking fresh bread or pass a honeysuckle vine, just think about what your pup’s nose and brain are processing. They aren’t just enjoying the smells, they are using them to create a map and memorize every footstep of your journey, to sense danger or nearby creatures, to know who has come and gone before you and to “soak up” the world around them. It isn’t just a walk, it’s an experience for their nose!