What Is a Dog's Nose Made Of?

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Our question this week was:

Our daughter-in-law says a dog's nose is leather. We say it's not. What is a dog's nose made of?

ANSWER: Thank you for your e-mail to . Leather is a material consisting of animal skin that has been specially treated for use by removing the hair and tanning. While you can use the word leathery as an adjective or comparison for anybody's skin that appears to resemble the product, living tissue is not actually leather.

A dog's nose is part of the epidermis or "skin" which is a living part of the body. Although the nose is usually pigmented and appears to be a tough, thick region of integument it is actually composed of only three layers rather than the five layers found on other parts of the body. The outermost layer of cells on the nose is called the stratum corneum (horny layer). The grooves within the epidermal surface give it its textured appearance. This texture is unique to every animal, much like fingerprints are in humans.

We hope this information helps settle the dispute. You may find the following articles available on our site useful in your discussion. The articles include:

Nose Printing of Dogs

Why Do Dogs Have Cold, Wet Noses?


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