Can Nose Prints Be Used to Identify a Dog?

by Betty Lewis
    Not only is your dog's nose a great sniffing tool, it's unique to him.

    Not only is your dog's nose a great sniffing tool, it's unique to him.

    Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    Part of your responsibility to your pup is to make sure he's identifiable if he wanders off. There are a variety of ways to track down Duke, including tags, microchips and tattoos. Like your thumbprint, his nose is unique to him. You could make a nose print, but its use would be limited.

    Nose for Smelling and Telling

    Duke's nose is a tiny map of bumps and ridges that together form a unique pattern that's his alone. No other dog shares his nose pattern, just as your fingerprints are unique to you. Dog "nose printing" would identify a dog, but there's been little progress toward nose-printing dogs and no means of maintaining a database to share the identification information. If you take a print of Duke's nose, it may make a nice little piece of art, but it won't likely do much to identify him at the local shelter. If you won't microchip Duke, he at the least needs a tag with a current phone number securely attached to his collar in the event he gets lost.

    Photo Credits

    • Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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