Why Do Pugs Always Lick Their Nose? What You Should Know

Pugs are funny little dogs that always seem to be licking their own noses! It doesn’t matter if there isn’t anything in front of your pug’s nose; he or she darts that tongue out and licks!

Why Pugs Lick Their Nose?

The behavior has more to do with a pug’s sense of smell and taste than anything else, but there may be other reasons involved too.

The unique facial structure of a pug plays a part in why your pug seems to lick his/her nose a lot. The compressed facial structures put a pug’s nose behind its mouth, and a pug’s tongue is as long as most dog tongues for similar small breed dogs. This genetic and intentional breed characteristic is known as brachycephaly.

why do pugs lick their nose

When your pug lets his long tongue out to lick his upper and almost non-existent chops, he ends up licking his nose. It is completely inevitable because of how the breed’s head and face are structured.

Now let’s take a closer look at why Fido is constantly licking their nose.

Why Does My Pug Lick His Nose

my dog won't stop licking his nose
The most common reason your dog may be licking is they are trying to taste something.

All dogs lick their noses, but some breeds like the Pug may lick more often than others. Here are some of the reasons your pooch is licking their smushed nose.

To Keep Cool

This breed doesn’t do very well in extremely hot temperatures. Your pooch may be constantly licking their nose in hot temperatures to help keep them cool.

Pugs tend to sweat on a hot day, however, they don’t sweat the same way you and I do. Instead, they release moisture through their paws and their nose. If your dog is licking their nose excessively on a hot day, they may just be trying to keep themselves cool.

You can help them by moving them to the shade and ensuring they have enough water to stay cool.

Your Pug May Also Lick His/Her Nose to Keep It Moist

Dogs need a somewhat moist nose. It helps them smell things better. Your pug may be licking his/her nose to help keep that recessed nose of his/hers in top sniffing shape.

The saliva will help keep their nose moist. Similar to how you and I put lotion on our hands when they feel dry.

Taste Is Directly Tied to Smell

Smell and taste are directly tied together. You cannot taste your food without first smelling it. The same holds true for your pug.

When your pug licks his/her nose, they are getting a taste of what they just smelled. If he/she put their nose in a bowl of food, a bit of the food might be smeared on your pug’s nose. It could be that Fido is not just trying to smell the food, but also taste and lick off what is left behind on their nose.

Additionally, with their recessed noses and upper jaws, pugs end up putting most of their faces into a bowl of dog food. When you feed your pug wet food, he/she gets a lot of that food on their nose, and sometimes even in its nose. Licking the nose helps clear the already narrowed nostrils of food and help your pug breathe better.

Identifying Other Dogs

Most dog owners know that dogs sniff other dogs’ backsides to identify those dogs by their anal gland secretions. A pug doesn’t smell as well without licking its nose, so it combines taste and smell for identifying other dogs in its neighborhood.

After your pug sniffs another dog’s behind, it licks its nose to identify the other dog by “taste.” This is perfectly normal dog behavior and should be allowed.


Dog lovers know that dog hygiene isn’t always, well, less gross. One thing pugs (and most other dog breeds) do is forcibly sneeze a lot to clear their nasal passages.

Whether they are clearing a bit of wet dog food or clearing out mucus is irrelevant. Your pug will lick whatever comes out, no matter how unpleasant that seems to you.

Your Pug Might Have Allergies

Dogs, like people, can have allergies. If your pug seems to be sneezing every few seconds and then licking their nose after each sneeze, maybe due to allergies.

You can have your vet check your pug and run a few tests to see if your pug has an allergy. If the results of the test show an allergy, you have two choices; either remove the allergen from your pug’s environment or give your pug allergy medicine.

Your Pug May Have a Sinus Infection

Pug constantly licking their nose
If your dog is restless and won’t stop licking his nose, it could be a sign of problems.

Pugs and other dogs like English Bulldogs are very susceptible to sinus infections. Their sinus passages cannot drain as easily as dogs with elongated noses and snouts.

If your pug is having an excess amount of drainage from his/her nose and keeps licking it, it may be an infection. Your vet can take a sample of the discharge and look at it under a microscope to determine if your pug needs an antibiotic.

Problems With The Nose

Dogs are curious creatures and will sniff anything and everything, so it could be that your dog has a foreign object inside their nostrils.

If your dog has sudden sneezing attack or starts pawing or licking the nose all of a sudden, there’s a good chance that a foxtail (plant awn) or some other foreign object may be lodged in their nose.

If this is the case, you will need to contact your veterinarian to have the object removed. Especially, if your dog can’t get it removed by themselves.

Dental Problems

Continual licking of the nose can be a sign of dental disease. Dogs can’t tell you when a tooth or their gums are bothering them.

Instead, they use licking as a way to help deal with their pain and discomfort. It’s important to use a canine-specific toothpaste to keep your dog’s clean at home and ensure they get their teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year.

You can see if the licking is related to a tooth issue. Open your dog’s mouth and check for foul breath, tartar buildup, or any loose teeth.

If you believe it may be a dental issue or your dog hasn’t had their teeth cleaned in a while, it’s best to take your dog in to have dental x-rays done to rule out any major issues.

Your Pooch Can Be Stressed

Stress can lead to excessive licking. In fact, some stressed dogs will lick couches, floors, blankets, their beds, and everything and anything they can rub their tongue on.

Stress in dogs can be triggered by many events such as getting a new pet, having a baby, someone moving out, or even changing the layout of your home.

Dogs thrive best when there is an established routine. That’s why it’s so important to keep your dog on a regular potty routine, especially when trying to house train them. They learn more quickly when they become familiar with their daily routine.

Pugs Are Bred from Other Brachycephalic Lines, Which Also Lick Their Noses

The pug is a direct result of breeding Lo-sze with smaller dog breeds like the Pekingese. Modern pug lines have also been crossed with bulldogs to get more of that smushed-in face people love about the pug.

All of these dogs in the bloodlines of the pug have tongues that are longer than their faces. All of these dogs also frequently lick their noses. Your pug may just be licking his/her nose because it is in his/her nature to do so.

Final Word On Pug Licking Nose

While it’s completely normal for dogs to lick their noses, excessive licking may be a sign of something more serious.

Always monitor your dog’s behavior and if you notice more licking than usual, you’ll want to inspect your dog’s nose for any cracks, foreign objects, blood, or nasal discharge.

A majority of the time your dog will be fine. However, if you notice a nose bleed, reduced appetite, lethargy, pale gums, and discomfort, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

References And Further Reading

Pet Place – Dr. Debra Primovic DVM – My Dog Is Constantly Licking His Nose

Dog Breed – Pug Breed Information

Black Pug Site