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Is a Wet Nose a Sign of a Healthy Pet?

dog's wet nose closeup

Common Allergies in Pets

Irritated eyes, itchy skin and constant sneezing may be signs that your dog or cat has an allergy. These three types of allergies are particularly common in pets.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

If your pet is allergic to the saliva of fleas, just one bite may cause intense itching. Regular use of products that kill adult fleas and stop immature fleas from maturing will help keep your pet comfortable.

Seasonal Allergies

You may not be the only one in your home who suffers from seasonal allergies. Pets can also be allergic to tree pollen, ragweed, mold, dust mites and other allergens. Your pet may try to find relief by licking or biting or its fur or scooting against carpeting or rough surfaces. Frequent baths may remove allergens and reduce symptoms, but if your pet is very uncomfortable, medications can be prescribed to make your furry friend more comfortable.

Food Allergies

Some pets are also allergic to certain foods. Because the symptoms of food allergies are similar to those of seasonal allergies, it's important to schedule a visit with your pet's veterinarian to determine the cause of the problem.

Have you ever heard that a wet nose is a sign that your pet is healthy? Although that's often the case, it's not always true. A moist nose can benefit your pet in several ways, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee good health.

How Does a Wet Nose Help My Pet?

Have you ever been woken at 5 a.m. by a cold, wet nose rubbing against your hand or face? Although the ability to easily wake lazy humans is certainly one advantage of a wet nose, your dog or cat benefits from a moist nose in a few other ways.

Scents are very important to your pets. Animals mark their territory by leaving subtle scent clues when they rub against people and objects. Outside, pets set boundaries by urinating or defecating in strategic places. When other animals sniff those scents, they understand the message your pet is sending.

A wet nose enhances your pet's ability to identify scents. Microscopic scent particles float through the air and land on your pet's nose. If the nose is wet, they'll stick to it rather than falling off, which makes identifying odors much easier.

A wet nose also helps keep your pet cool. As moisture evaporates from the nose, it provides a cooling effect. Luckily, it's easy to restore lost moisture with a simple swipe of the tongue.

Can My Pet's Nose Be Too Moist?

A wet nose isn't always a good sign. If your pet's nose is suddenly very wet, an upper respiratory infection may be to blame. When dogs and cats catch a cold or other virus, they may experience runny noses just like people do.

Is a Dry Nose a Bad Sign?

A warm, dry nose isn't necessarily a sign that your pet is ill. Some dogs or cats naturally have dry noses. Even if your pet normally has a cool, wet nose, it may tend to become dryer and warmer after a nap or a few hours spent in the sun. Dryness may also be a natural effect of aging.

A dry nose can be a sign of dehydration or illness, particularly if your pet's nose is usually wet. You can tell if your pet is dehydrated by examining its gums. Dehydration often make the gums look pale instead of pink. The scruff test offers another way to determine if dehydration is a problem. Perform the test by gently pulling up on the skin on the back of your pet's neck. If your cat or dog isn't dehydrated, the skin will quickly snap back against the body. It will take a few seconds for the skin to return to normal if your furry friend is dehydrated.

Other signs that may indicate illness in pets, whether the nose is dry or wet, include:

  • Unusual Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Change in Behavior
  • Obvious Pain
  • Urinating More or Less Than Normal
  • Hiding (in Cats)
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Lameness
  • Constant Scratching
  • Hair Loss
  • Difficulty Moving or Walking
  • Weight Loss
  • Changes in Bowel Habits
  • Lumps
  • Cloudy or Red Eyes

Has your pet's nose suddenly become dry and warm? Call us to schedule an appointment to find out if a health issue is the reason for the change.

Sources:

Dog Health: Does a Dry Nose Mean My Dog is Sick?

https://www.doghealth.com/how-and-why/why-dogs-have-wet-noses

Catster: Ask a Vet: Should a Cat’s Nose Always Be Cool and Moist?, 6/21/16

http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-care-nose-wet-moist-cool-ask-a-vet

VetStreet: Why Does My Dog Have a Wet Nose?

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/why-does-my-dog-have-a-wet-nose

Animal Wellness Magazine: What Your Dog’s Nose Can Tell You

https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/what-her-nose-can-tell-you/

Healthy Pets: Help Your Dog Overcome These 3 Common Allergies, 9/15/11

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/09/15/help-your-dog-overcome-these-common-allergies.aspx

Drs. Foster and Smith: Allergy Signs & Symptoms

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?siteid=12&acatid=169&aid=75

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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