14 things you should know about your dog’s nose

Dog’s nose can work for different sniffing methods

Dog noses work for both air scenting and tracking. Air scenting involves your dog raising their head high to detect lighter, more volatile compounds in the air. While tracking involves your dog keeping their head low to be able to detect the scent of broken vegetation.

Dogs have a vomeronasal organ

Your dog’s nasal cavity houses the vomeronasal organ which consists of a patch of sensory cells. This organ acts as second nose, giving your dog a powerful sniffing capability. It detects pheromones — hormone-like agents that are produced by dogs to inform other dogs of their presence and personal space.

Wet noses help to capture scent

You might have read or hear people say a dry knows indicate a sick dog and a wet nose indicate a healthy dog. Well, that’s all a myth that has been debunked. That aside, wet noses play a major role in detecting smell.

The little indentation on your dog’s nose has a purpose

The indentation, known as “philtrum” which is found in the middle of the bottom part of your dog’s nose and the top part of their upper lip, is meant to carry moisture from the mouth to the rhinarium — the moist area of a dog’s nose.

Your dog may use sniffing as a calming signal

Your dog may sniff on the ground as a way to communicate with other dogs. This way, your dog sends special “calming signals” to another dog — especially one approaching where they are — informing them that there is no threat.

The slits at the side of your dog’s nose is for a reason

If you look at the exterior part of your dog’s nostrils more closely, you’d notice the presence of slits on both sides. These slits allow air to escape as your dog exhales.

Your dog’s nose has special structures that help to amplify smells

Dogs have structures called “turbinates” which is accommodated in the long nasal cavity. Turbinates consist of intricate mazes made of bone and the purpose of these structures is to amplify smell by controlling how air moves through your dog’s nose, providing more surface area and better reception of smell.

Dog noses can sniff cancer

Research has shown that dog noses are highly developed and are capable of detecting melanomas as well as lung, breast, bladder, and ovarian cancer.

Crusty noses nor noses with bumps or ulcers need vet attention

Although a dry nose is not a complete indication of sickness in your dog, you should watch out for crusty noses or noses with ulcers. When you notice any of these in your dogs, it may be a sign of nasal hyperkeratosis — a condition characterized by thickened skin around the dog’s nose, giving it a crusty look.

Your dog can move their nostrils independently

Studies have shown that dogs move their nostrils when they sniff things. They first use their nostril to smell non-threatening things and they quickly switch to using the left nostril for further investigation. However, dogs exclusively use their right nostrils to sniff things associated with threat.

Dog noses are equipped with cilia

A dog’s nose is lined with special sensors that helps to detect foreign particles, especially things are not supposed to be there.

Dog noses can detect individual scents

Your dog’s nose are highly built that they can detect the smell of individual components of any food or product.

A dog’s nose can tell the passage of time

Every day is filled with different smell and each hour mark changes in odor, which is easily notice by dogs. Interestingly, dogs smell time; they can predict your arrival from a long day at work from how long your scent concentration lingers since your left the house.

Dog nose prints are unique

Just like human fingerprints, dogs have a fairly unique nose prints that is easy to know. All you need is to dry your dog’s nose with a lint swab and add china ink to the leather of the nose. A nose print is then printed on a white cardboard.


Your dog’s nose is one of the most sophisticated parts of their body. Dogs smell things every seconds and you can only imagine how much they can detect just by sniffing things all through the day.

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