Can Nose Prints Be Used to Identify a Dog?

Why It's Possible

Just like the pattern of every person's fingerprints are unique, each dog's rhinarium has features that are unique to each dog. The rhinarium is the section at the tip of a dog's nose; it's a special type of skin that secretes moisture. The surface of the rhinarium is part of what gives dogs a superior sense of smell. The surface of a dog's rhinarium attracts odor molecules and dissolves them so the dog can smell them easier, according to D. Caroline Coile and Maragaret H. Bonham's book "Why Do Dogs Like Balls?" If you were to look at your dog's rhinarium, you'd see a distinguishing design of dimples, dots and ridges that, along with the shape of his nostril openings, makes a mark that is distinctive enough to conclusively identify one dog among many.

How to Nose Print

If you want to take a print of your dog's nose, for identification purposes or just to have, you'll need a pad of paper, a roll of paper towels and some food coloring. Blot your dog's nose with a paper towel first, to dry it out a bit. Then dip a clean paper towel into some food coloring and dab it onto your dog's nose. Gently press the pad of paper to your dog's nose, curving it around or rolling it in a smooth motion from one side to the other to ensure that you get an impression of the entire nose. Remember to gently wash the food coloring from your dog's nose with a soft, damp washcloth when you're done.


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