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Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry? (Top 11 Reasons & What to Do)

Sleepy senior dog with dry dog nose

A dry and cracked nose in dogs is not always something to be worried about. However, there are times when these signs indicate that your canine companion might have serious health issues. 

A dry dog nose is usually caused by simple exposure to the elements and aging. But there are also cases when it resulted from poor hydration, the dog’s brachycephalic features, fever, allergies, autoimmune diseases, canine distemper, leishmaniasis, and other issues that need veterinary intervention.

Wet noses are always associated with a healthy dog. But pet parents must also know that a dry nose occurs several times a day.

In this article, you will find the reasons that make a dog’s nose dry and how to remedy it at home. 

What Does a Healthy Dog’s Nose Look Like?

Close up of a healthy dog nose

A plump, moist, and wet nose is expected from healthy dogs. This is important because scent particles stick better on a moist surface, making a dog’s sense of smell stronger. 

Dogs also do not have sweat glands. Instead, dogs use their nose and paw pads to cool off. That said, a dog’s nose is meant to help your pooch release the heat pent up inside the body. 

Common Reasons Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry

Close up photo of dry dog nose

There are several reasons why a dog’s nose is dry. They are usually not serious conditions. But if they are accompanied by other signs and symptoms, an immediate visit to the vet might be required. 

1. Sleeping

One of the reasons why a dog’s nose becomes dry is because your pooch has been sleeping. Dogs usually have dry noses upon waking up because they haven’t licked their noses for a while. 

This is something you shouldn’t be worried about because there’s nothing wrong with your pet’s nose. It’s just a dry nose, and it would get wet and cool again once your dog licks its nose. 

2. Not Drinking Enough Water

Your dog can be dehydrated and have a dry nose after a heavy exercise or after being left outside on a hot sunny day. Don’t forget to provide a fresh bowl of water to your pooch so the lost fluids will be restored. 

However, immediate medical attention may be needed if you notice that your dog’s body temperature is elevated and does not go back to normal even after resting. Other symptoms of dehydration are sunken eyes.

You may also notice your dog licking its snout excessively. This could also be a sign that your four-legged friend needs to freshen up with a clean bowl of water. 

3. Brachycephalic Features

Dogs keep their noses wet by licking. However, this can be hard for other breeds like the Pug, Boxer, American Bulldog, and Cocker Spaniel. Brachycephalic breeds have drier noses because of their short snout. 

Other dog breeds with short noses and flat faces are the French Bulldog, Japanese Chin, Brussels Griffon, and Dogues de Bordeaux. 

4. Fever

Fever is another possible reason why a dog’s nose is dry. Other symptoms of fever are lack of appetite and lethargy. In this case, it is very important to visit the veterinarian. 

Aside from fever, one must also remember that leaving your dog outside in very hot weather will make your dog’s nose dry and lead to heatstroke. 

5. Aging

Aging dogs are also often seen with dry noses. This is because the skin of senior dogs thickens as time goes by. This makes older dogs more prone to nasal hyperkeratosis. 

If left untreated, this may lead to a cracked and bleeding nose. One must also be on the lookout for other signs and symptoms of an underlying disease. 

6. Sunburn

A dog’s nose is sensitive and prone to sunburn, especially if your dog has a pale nose. This can make your dog’s snout dry, sore, and painful.

You may apply a thin layer of nose balms which you can buy at pet supply stores to protect your dog’s nose from sunburn. Aside from heat, cold weather may also dry up a pup’s nose. 

In general, exposing your dog to harsh weather conditions for an extended period makes your pooch prone to developing nasal hyperkeratosis.

7. Allergies

Dogs are also prone to allergies which can cause dry skin and nose. This can be due to their environment, food, and even medications. In such cases, bring your dog to the vet for immediate medical attention.

Keep in mind that worsening allergies may cause anaphylaxis in your dog. Anaphylaxis is a condition that causes difficulty in breathing which can be fatal. 

Moreover, pale gums may indicate low oxygen levels in your dog. Likewise, discolored gums can also be a sign of heart problems. Bring your dog to the vet if your pooch is experiencing these health issues. 

Watery eyes are one of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. However, this can also be a signal that your dog has blocked tear ducts. 

Meanwhile, a thick discharge and excessive mucus coming out from the nasal passages of your dog could indicate a fungal, bacterial, or viral infection. 

8. Autoimmune Diseases 

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), an autoimmune disease can cause a severely dry dog nose. Autoimmune diseases attack specific cells in the dog’s nose that cause dryness.

Examples of these diseases are systemic lupus erythematosus and pemphigus foliaceus. Lupus causes hair loss and severely dry nasal skin. This can also cause discoloration on your dog’s nose. 

Meanwhile, pemphigus is an autoimmune skin disorder that can be caused by several factors. Genetic predisposition, medicines, ultraviolet rays, and viruses may cause pemphigus. 

Hereditary nasal parakeratosis is another condition that causes dry noses in dogs. This is caused by a genetic mutation commonly seen in younger dogs. However, an affected dog is still considered a healthy pup.

Severe dehydration can also dry up dog noses. If you notice excessive nose licking, chances are your dog is in too much heat and needs to cool down. 

Dogs lick their noses to regulate their body temperature and to keep their nose moist. Make sure to have a bowl of fresh water always accessible to your dog. 

9. Canine Distemper

This is a notorious viral infection that affects all kinds of breeds, especially the unvaccinated. It is a lethal condition targeting the dog’s nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems. 

Aside from a dry nose, other signs of canine distemper include fever, excessive mucus and thick discharge from the nasal passages, watery eyes, poor appetite, vomiting, and tiredness. 

10. Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is caused by a sandfly bite that may lead to a parasitic infection in dogs. Signs and symptoms of this disease include weight loss, fever, poor appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and a bleeding nose.

If left untreated, this may lead to shortness of breath, kidney failure, and even death. The vet will ask for your dog’s travel history, blood, urine, and tissue samples for proper diagnosis.

11. Superficial Necrolytic Dermatitis

Dogs affected with this severe illness experience weight loss, poor appetite, weakness, and dry crusty noses. This condition is common in dogs with liver and pancreatic issues. 

Any breed is susceptible to this condition. Chronic skin lesions are also commonly seen in the face, paws, and genital areas of dogs affected with superficial necrolytic dermatitis.

Some of these conditions may resemble an ordinary dry nose. However, if you see that your dog is uncomfortable and is experiencing other symptoms, contact your vet immediately. 

What to Do If Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry

Woman hand cleaning and washing dry nose of Pug

A dog’s nose naturally has moist surfaces. But when their nose becomes chronically dry, a dog dry nose treatment may be required. A dog’s dry nose means skin elasticity is lacking, and extra hydration is needed. 

There are things you can do to prevent your dog’s nose from becoming too dry.

Aside from medicated nose balms prescribed by your veterinarian, applying a few dabs of coconut oil on a dry nose can do the trick.

Shea butter and olive oil are also great options that you can apply to your dog’s nose several times a day. These should provide relief for your dog for a mild to moderate dry nose.

Watch this video to see a home remedy performed on a dog’s dry nose:

Dog's Nose Chapped? Cracking? Heal And Maintain, Easy and Cheap

How to Prevent Dry Dog Noses

Selective focus on cracked and dry dog nose

It may seem impossible to keep the wet nose of your dog from drying since many factors cause a dry nose. However, there are a few things you can do to keep your dog’s nose wet.

Here are the best ways to prevent dry dog noses:

  • Balanced Diet: Feeding your pooch a balanced and nutritious meal will not only prevent a dry dog nose but will also keep your dog healthy. Making sure that your dog gets enough vitamins A, C, and E will not only promote healthy skin but also boost your dog’s immune system. 
  • Keep your dog hydrated: Severe cases of a dry nose may cause chapping and bleeding of your dog’s sensitive snout. Making a bowl of fresh water always available can help keep your dog’s skin young, elastic and healthy.
  • Clean your space: Keeping your home clean is needed to prevent skin infections on your dog. Don’t forget to also regularly clean your dog’s bed, food bowls, and the corners of your house, which your pooch frequents. 
  • Humidifiers: Putting on a humidifier indoors during the cold winter months can help prevent your dog’s nose from drying. Also, do not leave your dogs outdoors during hot weather or let them stay near a heat vent. 
  • Regular vet visits: Following your dog’s veterinary appointments can help you detect early signs of an underlying disease or any medical issues. 

By practicing these precautionary measures, you will be able to protect your dog from getting any fungal or bacterial skin infections and a dry nose. 

When to See a Vet

Although a dog’s dry nose is not often serious, there are some signs and symptoms you must look out for. You need to immediately bring your dog to the vet if you suspect severe dehydration in your pooch. 

Severe dehydration, a dry nose, and a brittle hair coat are all red flags. Meanwhile, worsening allergies may also be a cause for worry. Not only does it cause a dry nose but anaphylaxis as well. 

Other early signs you should look out for are poor appetite, runny nose, lethargy, and fever. A dry nose and excessive watering of your dog’s eyes may also indicate blocked tear ducts. 

You must also contact your vet if you notice that your dog’s nose bleeds. Check if there are any injuries on your dog’s nostrils and snout. Applying an ice pack on the bridge of the nose could be done as first aid. 

Every visit to the vet entails expenses. That’s why as a fur parent, you must be prepared financially to give your dog the best medical care. Getting pet insurance for your pooch can greatly help.

Pet insurance can cover the medical expenses of your pet in times of emergencies. 

Most insurance plans cover common issues like tick infestation, black spots on the skin, bloat, seizures, ear wax problems, and more.

Paying for a pet insurance policy for your pooch may seem expensive, but in the long run, this can help your dog get the best medical treatment and keep you from stressing over finances. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

White dog with dry nose lies down

Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry and Warm?

A dry nose can happen anytime and many times in a day. This can be due to natural reasons such as weather or exercise. 

A warm and dry nose does not necessarily mean that your dog is unhealthy. But if it is uncomfortable for your pooch, it may be necessary to seek a vet’s professional opinion. 

Why Does My Dog Have Dry Nose and Vomits?

There are conditions whose signs include a dry nose and vomiting. Canine distemper and Leishmaniasis are two of them. Immediately bring your pooch to the vet when you first see these signs. 

Why Does My Dog Have Dry Nose and Is Not Eating?

If your dog is not eating, chances are your dog has an underlying medical issue and a dry nose is just the tip of the iceberg. Your vet may perform different tests to properly identify the culprit. 

Why Does My Dog Have Dry Nose and Is Tired?

Too much exercise and training can make your dog tired. This can also make your dog dehydrated, which leaves your pooch feeling tired and having a dry nose. 

In these cases, you may encourage your canine companion to drink more water to replace the fluids and electrolytes lost. However, if your pooch is panting and does not relax after this, call your vet immediately. 

Should a Dog’s Nose Be Wet or Dry?

Dogs are known for their wet noses and sloppy kisses. A dog’s wet nose is always associated with a healthy dog, while a dry nose is often regarded as a sign of a medical problem. 

However, if your pooch doesn’t seem to be sick and does not experience other symptoms, chances are your dog’s dry nose is nothing serious. 

Why Is a Dog Nose Wet?

A dog’s nose stays wet because of the mucus produced by special glands located inside the nasal canal of a dog’s nose. This mucus also provides moisture in your dog’s nostrils. 

Scent particles stick to this mucus which makes a dog’s sense of smell strong and reliable. 

What Can I Give My Dog for a Dry Nose?

Aside from making sure that your dog’s water intake is sufficient, applying pet-friendly creams and oils can help relieve and cure your dog’s dry and cracked nose. 

Can I Put Vaseline on My Dog’s Nose? 

While it is safe to apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly to your dog’s nose, it is not a good idea. Dogs are known for licking their noses. Large amounts of petroleum jelly may upset your dog’s stomach when ingested. 

Final Thoughts

A dry dog nose is not always serious. Your dog may have a dry nose due to extreme weather conditions, breed, and age. However, a dry dog nose accompanied by other symptoms could indicate a health issue. 

Bleeding and cracked dry noses can be cured at home by applying creams whose ingredients are safe for animals. But it is still advised to visit your vet because cracked and bleeding nasal skin can lead to infections.

Have you ever dealt with a chapped dog snout before? Let us know your tips and tricks for handling a dry nose dog in the comments below!