3 Reasons To Worry If Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry

By Roxi & Huck •  Updated: 12/08/20 •  7 min read

I woke up this morning and instantly noticed that my dog’s nose is dry. It was an unfamiliar sensation than the usual wet nose I am used to poking my face.

My first instinct was that he was sick. I have always assumed that a healthy dog’s nose is wet and slightly cold. What did his dry dog nose mean? In this article we are going to explore these issues:

dog's nose is dry in this picture

Does A Dry Nose Mean A Dog Is Sick?

I was relieved to learn that a dry and warm dog nose without fever or dry eye means my dog is not sick. A healthy dog’s nose will change from wet and cool as well as from warm and dry several times over the course of a day. It meant that my dog was not sick. If your dog has other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy with a dry, warm nose, I would immediately contact my veterinarian.

Dry Nose On Dog From Normal Healthy Activities

  1. Age – Face it, as we all age, things in our bodies droop, dry out, and wrinkle. The same thing happens with dogs. The dry nose symptoms are more noticeable with the changes in seasons. The difference in temperature, humidity, and air pressure impact the nasal passages. It is perfectly normal.
  1. Breed – Breed has an enormous impact on the moistness and temperature of your dog’s nose. There are dog breeds with flat snouts that have a difficult time licking their noses. These breeds include:
    • Boxers
    • Brussels Griffon
    • Chihuahua
    • English Mastiff
    • French Bulldogs
    • Pugs
    • Shih Tzus
  1. Dehydration – Dogs need water no matter the temperature, hot or cold. After drinking, you will notice them licking their nose. When a dog has a dry nose and is dehydrated, it won’t lick its nose as much. Provide your dog some water.
  1. Waking Up – Dogs will typically have a dry nose right after they wake up. Pets don’t lick their noses when sleeping, resulting in the surface of the nose having less moisture. There is nothing to worry about, as it is an everyday occurrence. If, after 10 minutes or so, their snout is not wet and cold, make sure there is water in the dog bowl.
  1. Allergies – Yes, dogs can have allergies. While people suffer more in the fall, dogs experience allergies more in the summer months. Dogs can take Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), or Claritin (loratadine). It is best to check with your veterinarian, especially if your dog is on other medications.

Call A Vet If Dog’s Nose Is Dry With These Symptoms:

  1. Severe Dehydration – Provide water and call your veterinarian immediately if your dog is showing symptoms of:
    • Excessive panting
    • Sunken eyes
    • Lack of skin elasticity
    • Lethargy
    • Vomiting
  1. Sunburn – A red nose with dry flaking skin can be a sunburn. Dog breeds with pink or pale noses can quickly get a sunburn on their snouts. Never use a dog nose balm that contains zinc oxide as it is toxic to pets. If the sunburn is blistering, call your Vet immediately.
    Here are the top 3 dog sunscreens we found to be popular and highly rated:

    Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for PetsPetkin Doggy Sunmist – 4 ozMy Dog Nose It Moisturizing Sun Protection Balm

    If you click these links and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

  1. Hyperkeratosis – A nasal hyperkeratosis is an intense form of nasal dryness. It shows as an excessive formulation of nose crust called keratin. This type of protein overgrowth causes skin tissue to grow wildly on a dog’s noses that look crusty. It is not life-threatening and merely a cosmetic issue. It will, however, affect the ability to smell properly. And, if your dog’s nose is dry and crusty, never pick off the crust. Dogs with nasal hyperkeratosis benefit from a lower, flatter food bowl. It helps them avoid frequent rubbing along the bowl edges. Breeds susceptible to hyperkeratosis dog nose include:
    • American Bulldogs
    • Affenpinschers
    • Boxers
    • Bedlington Terriers
    • Bullmastiffs
    • Bulldogs
    • Cocker Spaniels
    • Collies
    • Dogues de Bordeaux
    • French Bulldogs
    • German Shepherds
    • Golden Retrievers
    • Irish Terriers
    • Japanese Chin
    • Labrador Retrievers
    • Mastiffs
    • Pekingese
    • Pomeranians
    • Poodles
    • Pugs

Dry Dog Nose Remedy

A natural remedy is to gently wipe your dog’s nose with a wet and cool cloth. If the nose stays moistened, you are good to go. Otherwise, if your dog’s nose remains dry and the dog is healthy, a dog nose balm could do the trick. Choosing the right one will provide a moist nose and improve your dog’s sense of smell.

Dog Dry Nose Cream or Balm

Since dogs always lick their noses, you want to make sure any treatment is 100% dog-safe. Here are the top 3 dog-safe cream for dry dog noses.

Burt’s Bees All-Natural Paw and Nose Lotion
Paw Nectar – It is 100% Organic & Natural
4-Legger Organic Nose and Paw Pad Healing Balm

If you click these links and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Coconut oil for dry dog nose

Massaging coconut oil onto your dog’s dry nose is a safe and effective moisturizer. ResQ Organics Pet Skin Treatment includes coconut oil, hempseed, and olive oils. This fantastic dog dry nose cream also contains the ingredient manuka honey which is great for when your dog’s nose is dry,

Avoid vaseline for dry dog nose.

Vaseline is a petroleum jelly, which is a synthetic product. It can clog your dog’s nose pores, and it can be toxic! Dogs will get an upset stomach and even diarrhea if they lick the petroleum jelly off their nose. Also, the use of vaseline could cause Lipoid pneumonia. This type of pneumonia is a rare condition that inflames the lungs and could be fatal to your dog.

Why do dogs have wet noses?

There are two primary reasons why dogs have wet noses:

1. Sense of smell – particles of scent stick better to damp surfaces like a wet dog nose.

A cold, wet nose means a healthy pup. That wet nose is part of the reason why dogs have an amazing sense of smell –10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than ours. The wet nose draws in tiny particles to be examined by a dog’s olfactory glands. The thin layer of mucus on dogs’ noses holds and absorbs scents and when a dog licks its nose, that adds the sense of taste to its sensory information.

Dogs keep licking their noses to keep them moist for maximum ability to smell but also because it allows them to taste the smell. They do this via their olfactory glands on the roof of their mouth. It is one of the reasons why some dogs always lick their snouts.

2. Body temperature regulation – A wet moist nose helps dogs regulate their body temperature. Because of their fur, dogs don’t have sweat glands. Instead, dogs sweat through their nose, tongue, and paws.

dog licking his dry nose


What Does A Dry Nose On A Dog Mean

As we have seen, it can be a perfectly normal event. My dog’s nose is dry often, but I can relax and be happy with no other problematic symptoms. The dog dry nose treatment I selected to follow was a simple one. My dog and I sampled the various nose balms and creams until we found one where my dog’s nose is dry no longer.



Roxi & Huck

Hello, we're Roxi and Huck. Our passion lies in researching and understanding the compatibility between various dog breeds, both purebred and mixed, and the lifestyles and housing situations of potential owners. We work alongside Mom and Dad to uncover insights that facilitate ideal matches between dogs and their human companions.