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Little red dog Nellie has a cold nose but a very warm heart.  Photo

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Cold Nose 
Warm Heart

     Big noses.  Small noses.  Flat noses.  Long noses.  Black, brown or pink.  From Basset Hounds to Dobermans, from Labradors to Westies their noses appear to be nothing short of magical.   They can detect drugs in human body cavities as well as in all kinds of man-made structures, they can detect termites, rats, bombs, missing persons, and bodies drowned or buried in snow or rubble. Some experts and researchers from around the world believe that a dog’s nose can even sniff out cancer. 
     But why do our furry friends noses sometimes become cold and wet? 
    Scientists, experts and researchers have many answers for this.   Some say that that evaporation or moisture from the nose helps cool the dog. Another is that added moisture in the nose makes the dog more sensitive to odors. 
       A folk tale that goes back to biblical times gives yet another answer. As the story goes, God bestowed cold wet noses on dogs for saving Noah's Ark from sinking. One of the two dogs Noah had chosen was on patrol when he discovered water seeping through a hole in the Ark’s hull. The clever dog instinctively stuck his nose in the small hole to keep water from flooding in. 
    The second dog ran off to alert Noah, who quickly then repaired the hole. The dogs averted a major disaster, thus saving the day for all those aboard the Ark.  God wanted to reward them for their heroic act.  He gave them a cold, wet nose, a symbol of good health. 
Though it is true that a cold, wet nose can be a sign of good health in a dog, it is not a reliable barometer. According to the “Dog Owner's Guide”, the canine nose is normally cool and moist, but not wet. It has no sweat glands; the moisture is caused by the mucus lining.
         Another misconception is that you can tell how your dog is feeling by touching its nose.  If your dog’s nose is hot, then it might have a fever. But if it’s cool, it’s feeling just fine. While our furry friends certainly will appreciate the attention, the nose is not an accurate gauge of temperature.  A pet with a fever could have a warm, dry nose.  It’s just as likely, however, his nose could be cool and moist.  Don’t trust your hands to take an accurate temperature. 
         You still can tell a lot about the health of your dog by looking at its nose. If you notice any of the following, you'll want to consult your veterinarian right away: discharges that last more than 24 hours, swelling, odor and or difficulty breathing. These things can be symptomatic of the presence of a foreign object, tumors, or sinus/respiratory infections.
      Well I have a cold moist nose nudging me, telling me it is time to go!

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