Why is my dog’s nose dry?


Many dog owners get concerned whether a dry nose means their dog is sick. Well, the answer is no. There are several reasons for your dog to have a dry, nose that has nothing to do with Its health. For example, your dog may have a dry nose if It has been exposed to the sun for a long time, lying near a heat source or in a poorly ventilated room. In fact, your dog’s nose can go from dry to wet several times during the day.

Keep reading to find the main causes for nose dryness in dogs.


The moisture on their nose helps intensify the scents and gives dogs the ability to determine which direction the scents are coming from.

Dogs’ wet nose attracts tiny particles which are then examined by their scent glands. The thin layer of mucus on the muzzle of dogs retains and then absorbs scents. So when a dog licks Its nose, It adds a sense of taste to Its sensory information.

This wet nose is, therefore, and in part, why dogs have such an incredible sense of smell – 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than ours.

But should you be concerned if your dog has a dry nose? While sometimes this can signal something serious, most of the time it is a normal reaction to the environment, a sign of age, or a breed-specific characteristic of the dog.


Unfortunately no, this idea is a myth. If your dog’s nose is hot or dry, that doesn’t necessarily mean It’s sick.

The same is true if a dog has a cold, wet muzzle. That doesn’t necessarily mean It’s in great shape.

In short, your dog’s nose shouldn’t be the only way to tell if your dog is sick or not.

Moreover, the temperature of the nose of dogs fluctuates from day to day, even hour to hour. A dog can be perfectly healthy and have a hot, dry nose. A dog can be really sick and have a cold, wet nose.

In other words, the appearance of your dog’s nose is really not a reliable signal.


Your dog’s nose is dry while It sleeps

This just happens because your dog is not licking its nose while It’s sleeping. Its nose should be wet again within 10 minutes of waking up.

Winter can be harsh for a dog’s nose

You’ve probably already woken up with a dry, itchy throat during the winter months. The cause? The flow of hot air from your heaters. A stream of warm air can have the same effect on a dog’s nose. Does your pet sleep next to a radiator to warm up? This hot air can therefore dry Its nose. The good news is, things should be back to normal when It moves away from the heat source.

Along with indoor heating, cold air and winter winds cause a dry nose

Think about the dryness and chapping of your lips when you are outside in the winter. This phenomenon is just like what happens to a dog’s nose when it is cold.

Older dogs may have a drier nose

If you notice this as your dog ages, a dab of nose balm will help keep their nose moist.

Brachycephalic breeds are prone to dry nose

Shortnose dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, often have difficulty licking their noses. You may need to apply moisturizer to keep it moist for them.


Allergies  can cause a dry nose

Dogs can have allergies just like humans, and one of the symptoms is a dry nose. Talk to your vet to determine the cause of the allergy and get prescription allergy medication to help relieve your dog’s dry nose.

A dry nose can be a sign of sunburn

Some breeds, especially those with thin coats or with pink or pale nose and eyelids, are particularly susceptible to sunburn. But even thick-haired breeds are not immune. This phenomenon is obviously particularly prevalent during the summer months. The best way to avoid this is to use sunscreen to protect your pet.

Dehydration causes a dry nose

Your dog’s dry nose can also be the result of strenuous exercise, especially in hot summer weather. To avoid dehydration, make sure your dog has access to a source of freshwater at all times. Watch for other signs of dehydration and see a vet if in doubt.

A dry nose is sometimes a sign of an autoimmune disease

While it’s not the first thing to think about when your dog’s nose is dry,  discoid lupus erythematosus or pemphigus  – two autoimmune diseases – can cause the nose to dry out, scab, and crack. dog.

Most of the time, a dry nose is just a dry nose

If your dog’s dry nose is chronic and your vet sees no signs of allergies or illnesses, you may need to use a prescription lotion or balm to keep Its nose moist. The nose is the dog’s main source of sensory information and you must keep it in perfect working order.


As owners of pets, it is quite normal to wonder and worry about your dog’s health.

Even if your dog’s nose is dry or hot but your pet looks normal, don’t panic.

Observe your companion and try to identify other symptoms that might indicate an underlying problem.

To tell if your dog is sick, look for signs more telling than the appearance of Its nose, such as:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Strange behavior
  • Moans
  • Lethargy
  • Loose stools
  • Vomitings
  • of  tremors
  • Inflammation, irritation, redness, swelling

Contact your vet immediately if your dog exhibits any of these signs or anything else seems unusual to you.

Also, if your dog’s nose changes color, shape, or has scabs, you should also make an appointment with your veterinarian. It could be a sign of an autoimmune disease. These can usually be treated quite easily, but require medical attention.

About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

Leave a Comment