Why Does My Dog Have a Dry Nose?

June 30th, 2022

Most dog owners believe that a wet and cold nose is a sign of a healthy dog.

So, does a dry nose mean that your dog is sick? Not really! A dog's nose could change from wet to dry several times in a day.

Dogs are known for their extremely well-developed sense of smell.

A wet nose enhances this ability because it helps them absorb and hold on to scent particles more easily.

A dog's wet nose is also helpful in keeping them cool during hot days, just as panting helps them regulate their body temperature.

What keeps a dog's nose moist? The lining of a dog's nose contains special mucus-producing glands.

These glands produce a thin layer of mucus that helps moisten the nasal passages.

You will also find dogs frequently licking their nose, which also helps to keep the nose wet.

Is your dog's nose unusually dry?

Have you been wondering why is my dog nose dry?

If your dog's nose is dry, there could be several reasons.

Read on to know the causes of a dog dry nose, and when to take your dog to a vet.


Close up of a dog with a went nose

So, why is my dog's nose dry?

A dog's nose is often the most typical way to check a dog's health.

There could be many reasons, some common and some abnormal, why your dog's nose is dry.

If you have been thinking "why is my dog nose dry?", here are the reasons.


Common reasons your dog's nose is dry

Wet or dry, your dog's nose is not a very reliable indicator of your dog's health.

Sometimes, even healthy dogs have dry noses. Also, some dogs may have drier noses than others.

If your dog has a dry nose because of the reasons mentioned below, there is absolutely no cause for concern.



If your dog has just woken up from a nap, chances are that its nose would be dry.

That's because dogs do not lick their nose when they are sleeping.

Have you ever fallen asleep with your mouth open? Your mouth gets dry. It is the same for dogs.

Once your dog is awake, it will be back to licking its nose.

If you feel that your dog's nose is still dry even after several minutes of waking, you should offer your dog some water to rehydrate.


Exposure to the elements

Your lips feel dry when it is extremely hot or cold outside, don't they?

Similarly, the heat or cold could also dry out your dog's nose. Being out when it is too sunny or windy could also be a reason your dog's nose feels dry.

Does your dog like to lie near an air conditioning or heat vent?

Warm or cold air from the vent could be the reason why your dog's nose is dry. A dog dry nose due to heat or cold is usually temporary.

However, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures should be avoided.



Has your dog had a ton of exercise running around all day?

Or, perhaps your dog is too excited? Excessive exercise and excitement could also be the reason why your dog's nose is dry.

Typically, an overactive dog forgets to drink water or lick its nose. This could cause the dryness of the nose.

Exercise is important for a healthy dog, but too much of it and your dog could get dehydrated, causing a dry nose.



Age may also affect the wetness of your dog's nose. Older dogs tend to have drier noses than younger pups.

Just like humans get wrinkles and grey hair as they age, dogs tend to have dry noses.

For this excessive amount of shedding hair, it is advised that you purchase a dog hair remover.

If your older dog's nose is dry, you may dab some balm on the nose to keep it moist.


Brachycephalic heritage

Do you own a pug or a bulldog? What does a dry nose mean for such dog breeds?

Pugs and bulldogs belong to brachycephalic breeds. Brachycephalic refers to dogs that have a short muzzle and a flattened face.

Because of a genetic mutation, the bones in their skull grow differently than others, making the skull wide and short.

Bulldogs and pugs have shorter snouts, making it difficult for them to lick their nose.

Lhasa Apsos and Spaniels are dog breeds that are extremely prone to blocked tear ducts. This could cause their nose to dry out.

A runny nose or a dry nose in itself is not a huge cause for concern.

If you find that your pup's nose is getting dry, you may keep it moist by applying some moisturizer.


Close up picture of a white dof with a black face

Abnormal reasons why your dog has a dry nose

A dry nose is not always a cause of concern. However, in some cases, your dog dry nose may indicate an underlying health issue.

There are certain conditions that could cause your dog's nose to become dry.

Here are a few conditions you should be aware of:



Dehydration occurs when your dog does not have sufficient water in its body.

It can either happen on its own or as a result of another illness. Severe dehydration could also be potentially life-threatening.

How can you tell if your dog is dehydrated? Take your forefinger and thumb and pinch a bit of skin on your dog's back or head.

If your dog is well-hydrated, the skin will immediately spring back into place when released.

However, if your dog has mild dehydration, you will see that the skin is not as elastic. Dehydrated skin takes time to come back to its original position.

In severe cases of dehydration, the skin may remain dented and not come back to its original position.

Besides the loss of skin elasticity, other symptoms of dehydration include sunken eyes, lethargy, and dry gums.

Your dog may also experience weakness and may even collapse from being dehydrated.

How to prevent dehydration in dogs? The best way to prevent dehydration is to ensure that your dog does not get to that condition in the first place.


  • Ensure that your dog has plenty of fresh water available. Keep the water bowl where it is easy for your dog to get to.
  • Be sure to check the bowls every few hours and fill it will clean, fresh water.
  • Some dogs drink a lot of water, while others don't. If your dog is a picky drinker, pay attention to ensure that their water intake is sufficient. Some pet owners flavor the water with bone broth to get the picky drinkers to drink. If it is too hot, you may also give your dog some ice cubes to chew on.
  • Carry a bottle of water for your dog when you are taking it for a walk or when traveling.
  • If it is too hot outside, do not exercise your dog. Exercise in hot and humid conditions could lead to water loss, which, in turn, could cause dehydration.
  • Do not leave your dog alone in a hot car.
    Ensure to clean the water bowls regularly. Bacteria and other microbes could grow in the water, causing stomach problems. Tummy issues, vomiting, and diarrhea could also cause dehydration in dogs.

Check out our portable water bottle to prevent dehydration in your dog wherever you go.

Dog sitting on our comforting Calming Dog Bed


Not just humans, but even dogs can get a sunburn.

Severe sunburns could also cause dehydration in dogs, which could cause your dog's nose to become dry.

Dogs with lighter skin are more prone to sunburns.

If the skin around your dog's nose is red and starting to peel, your dog has probably suffered a sunburn.

Other signs of sunburn include hair loss, skin infections, and skin ulcers.

If you notice the edges of your dog's ears to be dry, cracked, or curled, it could be because of sunburn.

Sun exposure is also one of the leading causes of skin cancer in dogs. Your dog may need medical attention if you notice skin irritation, redness, scabs, or sores.


How do you prevent sunburn in dogs?


  • Using a non-toxic sunscreen is the best way to prevent sunburn in dogs. Your dog may lick itself after you apply sunscreen, which is why you should look for a non-toxic one.
  • If you are unable to find sunscreen, you may consider using sun shirts that block UV rays for your dog. Light weight sun shirts keep your dog cool during the day and are a great option for outdoor activities.
  • It is better to walk your dog early in the morning or in the daytime when the sun is not as harsh.
  • Your dog's coat is a natural sun barrier. A summer trim is fine, but you should avoid shaving your dog. Shaving puts your dog at a higher risk of sun damage.
  • Get a pair of goggles to protect your dog's eyes from the sun. There are many flexible and shatterproof doggy goggles available on the market.

Dry eye or blocked tear ducts

Like humans, dogs also have tear ducts that drain tears into the nasal passages.

Sometimes the tear ducts may get obstructed, causing tears to overflow from the eyes.

Because the tear ducts are blocked, your dog's nose would not be getting the moisture, which could be the cause of the dryness.

There are many reasons that could cause blocked tear ducts and dry eyes.

If your dog has an infection or inflammation within the eye, it could cause swelling, thereby blocking the tear ducts.

The blockage could also be a result of foreign material or tumors developing along the duct.

Sometimes, the shape and size of a dog's head could also be the cause of obstruction.

It could also be due to a hereditary defect in the formation of the tear ducts (nasolacrimal ducts).

In this hereditary disorder, there is no opening where the tear duct meets the pink tissue of the eye, creating a condition called imperforate puncta.

Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers have a higher predisposition for this condition.


Like humans, even dogs can suffer from allergies. A dry nose could be one of the symptoms that your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction.

Other common symptoms of allergies include itchy skin, that could be localized or all over the body.

Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing could also be signs that your dog is having an allergic reaction.

In some cases, your dog may also have a runny nose and watery discharge from the eyes.

Sometimes your dog may be allergic to certain foods, which could cause vomiting and diarrhea.

An allergy is basically your immune system overreacting to certain substances called allergens.

Some common allergens that could induce an allergic reaction in your dog include dust mites, pollen, flea bite, mold spores, and so on.

How can you prevent allergies in dogs?

As a dog owner, you would want to know the cause of your dog's allergies to prevent them in the future.

For instance, if your dog is allergic to pollen, you may want to keep your dog indoors during the pollen season.

However, that may not always be possible. So, you should consult with your vet and discuss a possible treatment plan.

If your dog is allergic to fleas and ticks, you may want to keep their coat free of such bugs.

You should bathe your dog at least once in two weeks and use a flea and tick prevention powder or spray.

Brushing your dog's coat every day is also a good way to get rid of ticks and fleas.


Autoimmune disorders

An autoimmune disease is when the immune system starts attacking healthy cells. Ideally, the immune system is only supposed to attack germs and other foreign bodies.

However, in an autoimmune disease, the immune system is unable to differentiate between germs and healthy cells.

Autoimmune diseases such as pemphigus and DLE (discoid lupus erythematosus) may cause a dry nose in dogs. If your dog has pemphigus, you may notice lesions all over the body.

In the case of DLE, you will notice color changes and sores around your dog's nose. There may also be bleeding from the surface of the nose.

Many autoimmune diseases are genetic, which is why an early diagnosis is almost always the best form of prevention.

Ticks are also one of the leading causes of autoimmune diseases in dogs. You should take measures to prevent ticks all around the year.


Related Read: 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs


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