Understanding Your Canine’s Noses and Mouths
Dogs have a range of gestures and behaviors that can be confusing to their owners, such as constantly licking their noses and mouths. This article will explore the reasons behind this behavior, as well as when it may indicate an underlying health issue.
🐾 Moistening the Snout
The nose plays a crucial role in a dog’s life, and many dogs don’t like having their noses touched. When a dog presses his nose against a window, his moist nose may leave a white mark on the glass. This is normal as dogs’ noses are naturally slightly moist. It’s believed that dogs have a sense of smell that is 10 to 30 times stronger than humans, and by licking their noses, they may want to gather more information by making their noses even more moist.
When the owner is cooking or preparing treats, the dog may start licking its nose and mouth in excitement. The nose is a crucial organ for a dog’s sense of smell, and by licking their noses, the odor molecules are absorbed more easily, and their sense of smell becomes more sensitive. This behavior may indicate the dog’s eagerness for food and can be seen as the canine equivalent of “I can’t wait to eat!”
❂Getting Ready for Action
Many dogs lick their noses before starting activities such as walking, playing, or sleeping. This habit of gathering information through their sense of smell is unique to dogs, and their noses may get dry while sleeping, especially when they wake up. They may lick their noses to sharpen their sense of smell before starting their activities.
🐾 Calming Signals
Animals, including dogs, have body language that includes calming signals. The reason a dog licks its nose may indicate its emotions. For example, when a dog is nervous, such as when visiting the vet, it may lick its nose to calm itself. Dogs may also lick their noses to soothe others, and they may lick to calm themselves when they smell a good shampoo.
❂Cleaning the Mucus
When a dog’s nose is irritated, it may produce mucus, and when they drink water or inhale dust, water may enter their nose, causing it to run. They may lick their noses to get rid of the mucus. However, if the amount of mucus is excessive, it’s essential to seek veterinary advice as it may indicate an allergy or periodontal disease.
❂Stress or Excitement-Induced Runny Nose
A dog may produce a runny nose when it’s stressed or excited as one of its coping mechanisms. Dogs regulate their body temperature through their tongues and paw pads, and when they’re nervous, they increase their blood volume and mucus volume, resulting in a runny nose. When a dog licks its nose, it may be a sign of stress or anxiety, and it’s essential to monitor the dog and eliminate the source of stress.
❂Allergies or Infections
Like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies, viral or bacterial infections, and have a runny nose. If a dog’s nose is runny and discolored, it’s essential to take it to the vet as it may indicate an infectious disease. A runny yellow nose may indicate rhinitis or sinusitis, and if it’s due to allergies, it’s essential to install an air purifier and remove pollen from the nose before bringing the dog inside.
The temperature difference between the inside and outside can vary, and a sudden temperature change, such as when a dog returns from a walk may cause a sneeze or runny nose. Dogs living in cold winter climates are more likely to experience this. A runny nose is usually clear and transparent, but if it’s discolored or excessive, it’s essential to seek veterinary advice. To protect your dog from the elements, ensure that its house is well-insulated, especially in areas where the temperature drops at night or where there is a lot of wind.
Periodontal disease can cause toothache or rhinosinusitis in some dogs, causing them to lick their mouths or noses. If a dog is exhibiting signs of discomfort in its mouth or teeth, or if it has a stuffy nose, discolored runny nose, or nosebleeds, it’s essential to seek veterinary advice. Periodontal disease is common in older and middle-aged dogs, and it’s crucial to start caring for a dog’s oral cavity at a young age to prevent tartar buildup.
In conclusion, dogs may lick their noses and mouths for various reasons, such as moistening the nose, food anticipation, getting ready for action, calming signals, cleaning mucus, stress or excitement-induced runny nose, allergies or infections, temperature changes, and periodontal disease. If a dog is licking its nose or mouth more frequently than usual or if its mucus is discolored, it’s essential to seek veterinary advice.