July 25, 2019

Does a dry nose really mean your pet is sick?

Does a dry nose really mean your pet is sick?
Dr. Chris Brown

It’s been the number one rule of home health checks for so long. In fact, just how wet or dry a dog’s nose is may decide whether you rush to the vet or not. But is it really a reliable test?

Well, here’s the low down. Funnily enough, the moisture content of a dog’s nose is barely noted by most vets during a consultation. In the last post I outlined how mucous as well as the tongue ‘tasting’ the air for food smells gives the nose it’s wetness.

But here’s the kicker. While dehydration and a lack of appetite (both signs of illness) can make the nose dry out, sun exposure, low humidity, strong winds and (most commonly) age can also suck the wetness out of that cold weapon of mass disruption! While on the flip side, a runny nose due to a serious virus can have them licking a nose that’s at record levels of wetness.

So essentially, the dry nose is an unreliable indicator of illness. I’d be basing your in-home health assessments more around a lack of interest in food, exercise and affection and the more spectacular clues like vomiting and diarrhoea.

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