It is believed by many that a cold and wet nose is a sign of good health in a dog. While this is true to an extent, the health of your dog is not so black and white that it can be determined from a simple touch of the nose. A protection dog cannot speak, so it is up to the handler to look for other signs of good or poor health.
Concerning a dog’s nose, it is not necessarily true that a dog with a warm or dry nose will always be sick, nor is it true that a dog with a cool and wet nose will always be healthy. In many mammals, humans included, the purpose of the nose is to help clean and condition the air we breath in order to reduce the stress on our lungs and passageways. To a certain extent, the moisture from a dog’s nose helps humidify the air that they breath in. However, this humidifying effect has much more to do with the inside of your dog’s nose than the outside. Truthfully, the primary reason that a dog’s nose will be wet is because dogs frequently lick their noses.Certain breeds of dog, such as the bulldog, often have dry noses due simply to the fact that the dog’s tongue cannot reach its nose. Similarly, your own dog’s nose may be dry during certain times of the day when less licking occurs, such as while it sleeps. Neither of these cases indicate a dog that is sick or unhealthy.
However, many dogs avoid licking their noses when they become ill. While a dry or warm nose by itself is certainly no indication of sickness, it may be one symptom accompanying a number of others, such as lethargy or difficulty breathing. As a general rule, you should always consult your veterinarian if your dog shows any other signs of illness, regardless of whether its nose is wet or dry. In rare cases, your dogs nose may not only become dry, but will begin to crack or produce sores. Excessive dryness lasting more than a day, or the appearance of sores on the nose should both be examined immediately by your veterinarian.
Whether you have a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd, knowing the signs and symptoms of sickness in your protection dog is the most important step in ensuring it a long and healthy life. When in doubt, you should never hesitate to seek the advice of a trained and licenced veterinarian.