Today’s Wonder of the Day is really for the dogs…and those who love them! If you have a dog, then you probably understand why they’re called “man’s best friend.”

There’s nothing quite like coming home to a dog’s loyal greeting. You’ll likely be greeted with a bark or two and a wildly wagging tail. You may even get a few playful licks that all dog owners know are the same thing as puppy kisses.

If you give your dog a hug or get some doggy kisses, you’re probably familiar with that black, spongy thing at the end of its snout. What are we talking about? The nose, of course!

Dogs’ noses are often cold and wet. Why is that? Many people believe that dogs’ noses should always be cold and wet and, if it’s not, it’s a sign that they’re sick.

There’s a Christian legend that says dogs’ cold, wet noses are a gift from God. Supposedly, God gave dogs cold, wet noses as a gift of thanks for saving Noah’s Ark from sinking. According to the story, the ark sprung a leak and a dog quickly stuck his nose into the small hole to keep the ship from flooding.

This cute legend may or may not contain any truth, but there are several other reasons why dogs’ noses are often cold and wet. And a cold, wet nose isn’t necessarily a sign of health. Veterinarians will tell you that a cold, runny nose can be a sign of illness. On the other hand, a warm, dry nose isn’t necessarily a sign of illness.

Dogs’ noses are great sniffers, but their temperature and moistness aren’t good indicators of overall health. So why are dogs’ noses so often cold and moist?

One main reason is that dogs tend to lick their noses a lot. Many dogs lick their noses to help keep themselves cool. A wet nose can also help them pick up scents better when they smell their environment.

Of course, if your nose was as long as many dogs’ noses are, you’d probably need to lick it quite often, too. For example, when dogs eat, their long noses often get involved in the process. When they’re finished, licking the nose is just part of the clean-up process!

When dogs spend time outdoors, they often dedicate a lot of time to sniffing their surroundings. As they sniff, it’s natural for their noses to pick up moisture from the ground, grasses, plants and other parts of their environment. This helps keep their noses cold and wet, too.

Like humans have unique characteristics, so do dogs. Some dogs just tend to have cold, wet noses, while other dogs might tend to have warmer, drier noses. It’s just the way they’re born!

45 Join the Discussion

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  1. Hi wonderopolis I love dogs I think they are so cute. My dog has a wet nose too! Why do they have a wet nose? I think tomorrow’s WONDER will be about tying shoes.

    • Hey there, Nina! Dogs are super cute, we certainly agree! It sounds like your dog has a slippery snout, too! We love WONDERing about all the reasons dogs have wet noses… and how would humans look if our noses were always wet?! It’s funny to Wonder about!

      Thanks for sharing your skillful Wonder, Nina! We look forward to seeing you tomorrow! :)

  2. Hi Wonderopolis!

    One student in our class has a dog who doesn’t lick its nose much. One of us wants a dog because they’re so cute!
    We predict tomorrow’s wonder will be about a person getting tied up by a rope, tying your fingers into a knot, tying shoes, cops and robbers, crossing your fingers, or tying a dog’s collar.

    • Good afternoon, Froggy 1! Dogs are lots of fun, and we’re glad to learn all about your cool classroom’s pets! Wet noses are interesting… and we Wonder why some dogs always have wet noses and others don’t. Perhaps it’s similar to surroundings, how much they lick their noses, and the type of environment they live in. Some people have super watery eyes, while others have dry eyes… perhaps it all depends on the dog, or person! :)

      Thanks for sharing your great comment today, Froggy 1, and we are so proud of you for forming all these tied-up-predictions! Nice work! :)

  3. Hi Wonderopolis,
    Our class thinks tomorrow’s wonder will be about tying shoes, maybe about a coral reef, why its important to tie stuff, making bracelets, or folding your hands.

    • Great work, Mrs. Flanigan’s Class! We are glad you’re here today… and you’re knot far off from tomorrow’s Wonder! We love that you used context clues, we are happy to see all your awesome predictions! :)

  4. Como Estas?

    Today’s Wonder was so funny because the dog put his tongue all the way on his nose! Dogs have long tongues. It was funny to watch in slow motion. We learned that a dog is a man’s best friend because in the legend the dog kept the boat from sinking.

    We think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about tying a knot in your shoe or tying ropes into knots.

    Au revoir!
    Ms. G’s Class

    • Muy bien, gracias, Ms. G’s Class! Dogs are always using their tongues, and sometimes they are hanging out of their mouths, too! We love your observations today, and we Wonder how many of you have pets of your own? How many have dogs? We bet you can take a classroom poll! :)

      Thanks for sharing your comment and prediction today, Wonder Friends! We hope you have a WONDERful Wednesday! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment today, Berkeley! We’ve been WONDERing about dogs and we’re so glad you’re here today! Dogs like to let their tongues hang out, don’t they? We Wonder if you have a pet, Berkeley! Here at Wonderopolis, we love to Wonder about all sorts of animals. We hope you’ll come back to visit us tomorrow! :)

  5. Great wonder it is fun to do these things I think tomorrow’s will be about why we can’t drink ocean water.

    • Hey there Tyler, thanks for visiting us today! We’re so happy you liked today’s sniffing Wonder! :)

      We enjoy using our imagination to Wonder about animals, the outdoors, secret places, far away lands… what is your favorite thing to Wonder about? Thanks so much for sharing your awesome guess for tomorrow, Wonder Friend! :)

  6. Dear Wonderopolis,

    The dog on the video was so cute! I really liked it when it was in slow mo. I never knew that dogs picked up moisture from the ground. I never saw my dog with a dry nose. I am a dog fan. I have a Chihuahua mixed with a rat terrier. I like small dogs and big dogs. I think tomorrow’s WONDER will be about rubber bands, strings, or shoe laces.


    • Hey there, Asca, thanks for sharing your awesome comment with us today! Way to go, you’ve learned something new with us today! Dogs are lots of fun, and we are glad to learn all about your awesome Chihuahua rat terrier mix! What is your dog’s name?

      Keep up the WONDERing, and we will see you tomorrow, Acsa! :)

  7. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Aw how cute. I have never known that dogs lick their nose. Also I never known that when they get sick their nose don’t be wet or cold. Also that video was cute in slow motion. I also never knew that they pick up moisture from the ground how intrusting. I’m also a dog fan. I’m getting a dog but I don’t know what kind yet. It’s funny because they also lick there nose to be cool I did not know that how interesting. I think tomorrow’s wonder is string, rubber bands, or shoe laces.

    love Eu’nique

    • Hey there, Eu’nique! What a treat, we’re glad you’re here today! Dogs do some funny things, like lick their very own noses, but it helps to keep them cool, so we understand why! We think it’s awesome that you are getting a dog soon, we bet you are excited to welcome your new pet into your home! We can’t wait to hear more about your new dog- let us know when you get him or her! See you tomorrow for more WONDERing, Eu’nique! :)

    • That is a cool idea, Stelatha! We are excited that you came back to visit us with another awesome comment! YOU ROCK! :) Do you have a dog, Wonder Friend? Perhaps you go on an exploration with your dog and observe the things that he or she does all day. We bet you’ll learn a lot! :)

  8. I really like the article today,but if I know these dogs(Snowy and Ramona)-you know them already-that I never seen my dogs lick their noes. I think this happens not just from licking or sniffing,but their insides. Like us,we have wet snooty noses,but the dogs haven’t been using tissue. But if not,then the other things is more reasonable to explain because,I never seen a dog lick it’s noes until now.:-):-):-D:-D

    • You make an excellent point, Carlos! Perhaps dogs’ noses would not be wet if they used tissue once in a while! You did a great job of thinking outside the box today, and we’re so proud of you, Carlos! It would be fun to see a dog head to the bathroom, grab a tissue, blow his or her nose, and wash her hands afterward. Dogs really are like people! :)

      We had so much fun WONDERing with you today, Carlos! Keep your eyes and ears open for the Wonder around you! :)

  9. Hello from Aylmer, Ontario.
    We read the wonder about dogs’ noses and before we read we made some predictions about why they might be cold and wet. A few of us thought that the reasons dogs’ noses are cold and wet is a sign a good health. But others thought it could be from panting, or licking, or drinking, or sniffing their surroundings. We were happy to find out that we were correct about most reasons. We all enjoyed the legend about the dog sticking his nose in the ark and each had a funny mind picture of that story. We wonder, do you believe in that legend?
    We had fun trying to see how many of us could actually reach our noses with our tongues. The dogs do a much better job than us.
    We’ll keep wondering and reading your wonders.
    Your friends,
    Mrs. Cook’s Grade 3/4 Class

    • Good afternoon, Mrs. Cook’s Grade 3/4 Class, what a thrill to Wonder with you! We hope you are having a totally awesome day filled with Wonder.

      We loved reading all your awesome predictions about why dogs walk around with wet noses– way to use context clues to form your theories.

      Legends are lots of fun, aren’t they? Sometimes it’s tough to believe in all of them, but we love the creativity. We think that dog must have had a very strong nose on the ark! :)

      Keep up the great WONDERing, Friends, you have awesome imaginations! :)

    • That’s right, Meghan! Do you know why they keep their noses wet? There is a good reason, and you can find the answer in the Wonder article. Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :-)

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us, Malachi! Dogs don’t necessarily get sick from licking their noses, but if they get into something they shouldn’t, like the garbage, that could make them sick! Have a WONDERful day! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Why do dogs have wet noses?
  • Should a dog’s nose always be wet?
  • What can you learn from a dog?

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Try It Out

Sniff! Sniff! Do you smell that? Mmm…today’s Wonder of the Day smells good! Or does it? Grab a nosy friend or family member and check out one or more of the following activities:

  • Aren’t dog noses just the cutest? They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. Don’t believe us? Check out these Dog Nose Photos online. Which noses do you like the best? Why? Which dog breeds have the cutest noses? Do you prefer dogs with long snouts or tiny pug noses? Have fun and enjoy perusing the puppy proboscis pictures!
  • If you know much about dogs, you probably know that they have a keen sense of smell. In fact, dogs have been known to track people and other animals by scent over hundreds of miles. But do dogs have a sixth sense? Do dogs have extrasensory perception? Maybe! Learn more when you read Animal Planet’s Can Dogs Sense the Supernatural? article online.
  • Is your nose cold and wet? Unless you have a cold, it’s probably warm and dry. It probably doesn’t get wet all that often either. Unlike dogs, people don’t usually spend much time licking their noses! In fact, many people couldn’t lick their nose if they tried. How about you? Is your tongue long enough to lick your nose? Go ahead. Give it a try. You know you want to! And don’t worry about looking silly! It’s OK to be silly and have fun every now and then. Dogs don’t have any problem acting silly, and it can be a great way for them to get their exercise. Why not follow their lead? Grab a parent and go for a walk around the block where you live. What do you think a dog would notice on your walk? Is there any other lesson you can learn from a dog? After all, a dog is supposedly man’s best friend. If you have a dog, you know what a loyal friend a dog can be. Are you that loyal to the special people in your life? Take a cue from the dogs in your life. Be loyal, and don’t hesitate to be silly from time to time!

Still Wondering

In Science NetLinks’ Dogs and Their Owners Science Update, you’ll hear about a study looking into whether the stereotype that dogs and their owners look alike is actually true.

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