Why Are Dogs' Noses Wet and Other Facts About Your Pet

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Aug 07, 2017

Why are dogs' noses wet? Get the answer to this and other common questions about your favorite companion.

There are a lot of opinions when it comes to our four-legged fur babies. If your dog's nose is dry, it means he's sick. Dogs wag their tails when they're happy. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Of course, like any tales of old, some of these have been completely debunked. It's fair to say that if you've ever seen some of the things your dog eats, you're ready to give up the idea that a dog's saliva is sterile! Other questions remain, though. Why are dogs' noses wet? Does paw size really correlate to adult size? And why, oh why, can the smallest of dogs take up two-thirds of a queen-size bed?



7 Common Questions About Dogs


1. What is the friendliest dog breed?
It's important to realize that any dog breed can be friendly, just as any dog breed can be aggressive. Anything from the environment to health can impact a dog's behavior. With that in mind, there are some breeds of dogs that, as a group, are especially friendly. There is no absolute consensus on the single friendliest breed, but there are a few that make almost every list.

  • Labrador Retrievers are smart, playful, and love to make friends.
  • Golden Retrievers bond quickly and love their humans.
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs are calm, gentle, and easy to train.
  • Beagles are happy, energetic companions for families.


2. Is my dog happy if she is wagging her tail?
Dogs communicate through body language. Tail wagging is one of many ways a dog can express happiness. But not all tail wagging is happy tail wagging. Dogs also wag their tails to express fear, uncertainty, and curiosity. It's tail wagging, along with the overall body language, that will let you know if that tail wag signifies happiness or playfulness.

3. Why are dogs' noses wet?
Dr. Brittany King, DVM, explained to VetStreet that wet noses help dogs "collect" scents in the air. "Moist noses are also one of the ways that canines can regulate body temperature and cool down." And for the record, a dry nose doesn't mean your dog is sick

4. How big will my dog get?
If you know the dog's parents, you can get a good idea of how big your fully grown dog will be. If you don't know the puppy's parents, you can get a general idea of your dog's future size by looking at his or her paws. Large paws tend to equal a large dog. This isn't a foolproof way to tell exactly how large your dog will be, though. Your best bet is to talk to your vet and ask their opinion.

5. Why do dogs howl at the moon?
Spoiler alert: dogs don't actually howl at the moon. According to Mark Beckoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, “Dogs might just howl because they enjoy it.” 

6. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
Despite the popularity of the phrase, you can teach new tricks to an old dog. Pet MD notes that "learning new things helps keep the dog active and his mind young—just like with people." And in case you're wondering, you can teach your dog pretty much anything you would teach a puppy: touch, back up, find a toy, put toys away, or even how to open doors. 

7. Do I need to be the Alpha dog to get my dog to behave?
The theory of dominance training and being more aggressive than your dog became popular because people believed that dogs need a "pack leader." This training method, while still common, is scientifically inaccurateSo what is a dog owner to do? University of Bristol Professor John Bradshaw recommends reward-based training. "The latest science shows that dogs learn to 'please their owners.'"  He's not alone in that opinion, either. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, The Pet Professional Guild, The Humane Society of The United States, and The Academy for Dog Trainers are just a few of the professional organizations that promote positive reinforcement as a better way to train your dog. 


As for the question of how even the smallest of dogs can take up the largest part of your bed—and steal most of the covers, too—you'll have to wait. No one knows. That's a physics problem that even Albert Einstein couldn't crack.

One thing we do know, though, is that you want the very best for your dog and your cat. That's why pet insurance is a must. Call your local Pekin Insurance agent today so you can make sure your pet has the best coverage possible.



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