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Why do dogs have wet noses?
The moisture on dogs’ noses has two good uses: to help keep the dog cool, and to help the dog smell. Although dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet, they can also shed heat through evaporation from their mouth (panting) and from their nose. The thin, clear moisture produced by a dog’s nose is actually mucus, rather than sweat. The mucus also provides a good surface for dissolving chemicals from the air and absorbing them into the skin, where the cells that detect smell are located. Often, a dog that is actively sniffing and alert will have a wetter nose than one who is relaxed or asleep. Additionally, dogs will lick their nose to sample the chemicals that are stuck there and present them to another olfactory sense organ on the roof of their mouth. Together with the extensive, sensitive folds of tissue within the dog’s long nose (called with nasal turbinae) and an enlarged olfaction area in the brain, these adaptations give dogs the excellent sense of smell for which they are renowned.