Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Healthy Pets

Font Size

Is a Dog's Hot Nose a Sign of Illness?

Our expert tells us what's true and not true about the old wives' tales about canine nose temperatures.
By
WebMD Magazine - Feature

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics, including questions about what's true and not true in the field of pet health. For our July/August 2012 issue, we interviewed a professor of veterinary medicine about what a dog's nose temperature means about his health.

Q: My dog's nose is hot and dry today. Does that mean he's sick?

Recommended Related to Pets

10 Tips for Safe Car Travel With Your Pet

For some pet parents, a trip’s no fun if the four-legged members of the family can’t come. But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your animal companions. With thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone. Planning a road trip? Traveling with a pet involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off-especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. The ASPCA offers the following tips...

Read the 10 Tips for Safe Car Travel With Your Pet article > >

A: The common belief that a healthy dog has a cold, wet nose and a sick dog has a hot, dry nose is FALSE.

Here's why: The temperatures of dogs' noses fluctuate day to day, even hour to hour. It's hard to say exactly why (it could be the environment or it could be what they've been up to recently). But a dog can be perfectly healthy and have a warm, dry nose. A dog can be really sick (think heart disease or critically injured) and have a cold, moist nose.

The moistness of your dog's nose is also not an indicator of health, says Steven Marks, DVM, clinical associate professor of critical care and internal medicine at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "In a very dehydrated dog, yes, the nose might be dry," he says. "But dogs can have moist noses because they're healthy, and they can have moist noises when they have a nasal disease. It's just not a reliable sign."

Better indicators of a dog's health are symptoms such as not eating, not drinking, or behaving oddly.

Reviewed on May 15, 2012

Today on WebMD

Small dog large dog
Slideshow
boxer dog
Slideshow
 
Night stalking cat
Slideshow
puppy eating from bowl
Slideshow
 
Woman holding puppy
Article
Sad dog and guacamole
Slideshow
 
Siamese cat eating from bowl
Slideshow
cat on couch
Evaluator
 

Love your pets, hate your allergies?

Get tips for relief.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Cat People vs Dog People Slideshow
Slideshow
Kitten playing
Quiz
 
Orange cat nuzzling woman
Slideshow
German shephard reading a book
Quiz