7 Reasons Your Dog Has a Dry Nose and How To Fix It


Anyone who has spent time around dogs knows that their noses are usually cold and wet when you touch them. So what leads to dogs developing dry noses? My own dog got a dry nose and I started researching this query. This is what I found out.

Dogs need their noses for smelling which is one of their most important senses. The nose needs to be wet in order for them to do this task best because the thin wet layer of mucus on their noses holds tiny particles and absorbs the scent. Dogs often then lick their noses to add taste to the smelling sensation.

These are the reasons why your dog could have a dry nose:

  1. Heat Exposure
  2. Sickness
  3. From Sleeping
  4. Allergies
  5. Old Age
  6. Dehydration
  7. Genetics

1. Heat Exposure

Fluffy laying in the sun in my garden

When dogs are exposed to sunlight for a long time their snout can get a sunburn. Especially dogs with pale noses are prone to this but even darker noses aren’t safe. You could even use some sunscreen if you notice that your dog keeps on getting sunburns on their nose.

Staying close to ovens or heaters in the winter can have a similar effect and dry the nose of your dog.

We tend to warm our houses or cars with warm dry air which can cause a dog’s nose to dry out. If your dog tends to sleep close to these kinds of heat sources, moving him away from them should clear up his dry nose on its own.

2. Sickness

Usually, the first or second thing you’d think is that your dog is sick and a dry and chapped nose could be a possible indicator of said sickness.

Usually, a dry and warm nose means that your dog has a fever, also watch out for other symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting and changes in his behavior and eating patterns.

If your dog has any of these additional symptoms you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

3. From Sleeping

Do you know how sometimes when you have a blocked nose and sleep at night but then wake up with a dry mouth? Well, the same can happen to a dog’s nose when he sleeps because he can’t lick it when he sleeps. It should resolve itself after a few minutes and is nothing to worry too much about.

My little pup sleeping

4. Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can have allergies. If you notice that your dog only has a dry nose during the summer it could mean that your dog is allergic to an allergen only present in the summer. You should go to your veterinarian if that’s the case and get a prescribed medication or see if a natural treatment works.

Try to determine if there were any changes in the environment that could have sparked an allergic reaction in your dog. Have you recently switched to a different shampoo to wash your dog? Or maybe a new laundry detergent for your clothes and your dog has had contact with it?

5. Old Age

Older dogs like my own can develop dry noses over time which is exactly what my dog has. I eliminated all the other possibilities and since he’s already 11 years old that seemed very likely.

6. Dehydration

During the hot summer months it is extremely important to keep some freshwater near your dog. Especially when you and your dog have been spending a long time outside and working out or even just playing and running around your dog needs a freshwater supply.

You can check if your dog is dehydrated by looking at his gums. They should normally be pink and wet but if your dog is dehydrated they will be dry and pale because of decreased blood flow to them.

I usually keep a separate bowl of freshwater outside for my dog so that he has a short path to the water and more than one source- if the water outside is empty there is more inside and vice versa. I am always sure to position the water bowl in the shade as well to prevent evaporation and keep it cool for him.

Freshwater bowl outside in my garden (in the shade)

7. Genetics

Specific breeds of dogs can be more prone to developing a dry nose than others. Brachycephalic breeds (including the English and French bulldog, Pugs, Pekingese and Boston terrier) were bred to have short snouts and noses and they can often struggle with moisturizing their noses themselves. They may not reach their noses to moisturize them.

How to fix a dry nose

My dogs nose after a few days of treatment with coconut oil

My dog gradually started getting a dry nose as well and since he’s already older the only logical reason to me was that he got it from old age. His nose was chipped at the top and even bleeding from time to time. You can see how bad his nose was in the picture at the very top and the vet gave me some cream with a bunch of chemicals to help improve it. I tried it for a bit but it didn’t help much and I didn’t want to continue giving him a mixture of chemicals.

That’s when I switched to natural coconut oil. I smeared his nose with coconut oil for a few days every night before going to bed. I gave him a treat on which he would need some time to chew on so that he wouldn’t lick the oil off of his nose right away. Coconut oil is supposed to keep the skin moist and smooth and for my little guy it definitely helped fix his dry nose and it’s safe for him to eat.


I’m sure this should work for a variety of other reasons for a dry nose too but if it doesn’t I would suggest changing things in his or her immediate surrounding, like washing powder or shampoo and see if the nose improves meaning that your dog could have had an allergic reaction.

If your dog shows other symptoms you should go see a vet to make sure that it’s nothing serious and your little guy isn’t sick.

To quickly find out which of the reasons is the reasons for your dog’s dry nose you can think about the following guiding questions: Does my dog only have a dry nose during certain seasons? Does my dog have enough water available to at all times (especially when it’s warm outside)? Is my dog breed prone to dry noses because of his genetics/breed?

Update:

I started giving my dog these small dried fish treats for dogs and his nose magically healed itself.

It’s possible that he was just lacking some vitamin or mineral that the fish treats gave him and now his body was able to fix his chipped nose.

My vet later confirmed that fish contains omega 3-fatty acids, which helped fix his nose.

No more annoying smearing coconut oil on his nose anymore!

I give him one or two small dried fish per day now, any more and he tends to get a loose stool.

Lisa

I'm Lisa. I grew up with a Yorkshire Terrier, recently got an Aussiedoodle puppy and have learned a lot of things over the many years. I created this website to help you with your puppy and dog-related troubles and share the information I learned about my dogs Fluffy and Teddy.

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