Pet Tips

Dogs – Cats – Noses and Sickness – Pet tip 226

When it comes to determining if our pet cats or pet dogs are sick we often try to gauge their levels of health through quick checks. A quick check might involve running your hands along your pet’s body with gentle pressure to see if the pet reacts in pain at certain points. This is a pretty good and quick test and can reveal potential health problems. Other quick tests that pet owners frequently do involve touching their dog’s or cat’s noses and making determinations based on their temperature and moisture levels. These types of tests are often wrong and should not be used to gauge your pet’s health. There is a lot of confusion and misinformation when it comes to the state of your pet’s health in relation to how your pet’s nose feels to the human touch.

It is indeed true that normally your average dog’s nose is wet and cool to the touch. However some dogs, even when they are perfectly healthy have warmer dryer noses than other dogs. Additionally some simple activities such as sleeping and when the dog gets very excited warm up a dog’s nose that is normally wet and cool. For these reasons, concluding that your dog is healthy or sick based on its nose may well be inaccurate. A better indicator of illness with regard to your dog’s nose is runniness and/or discharge and/or crustiness, all of which are not normal. If these signs are present with or without a warm dry nose then a call to your veterinarian is in order.

When it comes to cats a similar misconception exists. Some cats have warmer noses and some cats have cooler noses. Some cats have wetter noses and some cats have dryer noses. The temperature/moistness of your cat’s nose has a lot to do with its environment as well as its own body temperature based on its activity level. In addition, a cat’s nose has sweat glands and if the cat is sweating its nose will have a different temperature and moisture level than when it is not sweating. In a similar way to dogs if your cat’s nose is doing other things like emitting a discharge or sneezing, then all those signs together likely indicate an illness and a vet should be called.

As has been pointed out many times before, nobody knows their pet better than a pet owner and if you are an extremely diligent observer then even the most subtle change in your pet can indicate a problem. As always, it’s best to call/contact your vet if you think your pet may be ill.

© 2010

One Response to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar dee says:

    What does it mean when my Golden Retriever’s hair on nose turned white?

Leave a Comment

(Additional questions? Ask them for free in our dog - cat - pet forum)