A cold, wet nose is generally believed to be the sign of a healthy pup. And to a certain extent, that’s true. A dog’s nose naturally secretes mucus that helps it trap scent particles on the surface. But what if you notice your dog’s nose is warm and dry. Does that mean your dog is sick?
Not necessarily. Most of the time, a dry dog nose is nothing to be concerned about. (Sometimes it simply means your pet hasn’t licked its nose in a while.) But accompanied by other symptoms, a rough, flaky nose can indicate underlying health problems.
If your dog’s nose is rough and starting to crack, here are four steps you can take to make the right diagnosis and care for your furry friend.
Step 1: Keep Track Of When Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry And Wet
The first thing you should do is start taking detailed notes whenever you notice your furry pal’s snout feels a bit parched.
Is it only during certain times of the day or year? How often does it happen? How long does the dryness last? As you investigate, consider the most common reasons for a dry dog nose to help you pinpoint the cause and improve your pet’s health.
Common reasons for a dry dog nose
- Exposure to the elements or dry air. When it’s hot and sunny, it’s possible for a dog’s nose to get sunburned. During the cold winter months, it’s easy for their skin (and nose) to dry out — especially if your dog spends time in front of a heater or source of warm, blowing air.
- Your dog has allergies. Like humans, dogs can develop allergies to all sorts of things, including specific types of food, plastic water dishes or toys, and household cleaning products.
- Your dog has trouble licking its nose. Brachycephalic breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs have difficulty licking their noses because their snouts are so short. Other breeds, like Poodles and Lhasa Apsos, are prone to blocked tears ducts, which can also dry the nose out.
- Your dog just woke up. Dog’s don’t lick their noses while they’re asleep. Without any other symptoms, a dry nose after waking up from a cat nap (yep, we said it) is nothing to worry about.
- Your dog is dehydrated. Dehydration is often the result of strenuous exercise — especially when it’s hot outside. Keep fresh water available at all times. Remember: dogs should drink approximately one ounce of water per pound every day
Check Your Dog’s Gums For Dehydration
Paying attention to your dog’s gums is an important habit to make — especially if you and your pup lead a particularly active lifestyle. Whenever you observe a dry nose, also check the gums. If they’re shrimp-colored pink and moist to the touch, it’s a sign of proper hydration. If they’re dry, tacky, and pale, your dog is likely dehydrated.
Gums can also be an indication of other serious medical conditions, including low blood pressure, anemia, and cyanosis. Consult with your veterinarian if your dog’s gums turn dark purple or beet red.
Step 2: Remove Potential Allergens
The tricky thing about allergies is different dogs have very different sensitivities. There are a few key contributors you can remove to see if it makes a difference. Plastic is a typical dog allergy that can cause a dry dog nose. If your dog has a plastic dish for food or water, switch it out for a stainless steel bowl.
Certain dog treats and household products can also spark your dog’s allergies. Try and pinpoint any changes to the environment around the time your dog’s nose dried out and became chapped.
Step 3: Soothe Your Dog’s Nose With A Balm
Whether your dog needs temporary relief or a regular regimen of balm (we’re looking at you, Pugs), a balm like Snout Soother® can help moisten your dog’s dry nose — and keep it that way.
A sensitive dog is more prone to a dry nose, which is precisely why we carefully source every last ingredient that goes into our vegan, all-natural dog products. You can rest assured that no matter how sensitive your sweet canine, our products are 100% safe.
Step 4: Watch Out For Other Symptoms
Most of the time, all it takes to fix a dry nose is a few good habits and some Snout Soother® balm. But if you don’t begin to see any improvement after making a few changes, consult with your veterinarian to explore allergy testing and get a checkup.
Take note of other symptoms like fever, dry eye, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, or changes in appetite. In combination with a prolonged dry nose, symptoms like those could be a sign of more serious medical conditions, such as autoimmune conditions like discoid lupus erythematosus, pemphigus, or hyperkeratosis.
Dry Dog Nose FAQs
Can I put Neosporin on a dry dog nose?
The short answer is no. You should avoid putting Neosporin anywhere your dog can easily reach with its tongue — like its nose — and use a dog-specific balm instead.
Dr. Danel Grimmett, a veterinarian with Sunset Veterinary Clinic in Oklahoma, told the AKC that while “small amounts of Neosporin are not harmful,” the main concern is the potential to impact healthy gut bacteria, which can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Grimmett also explained that “a second potential cause of GI upset would be the lubricant base, which could also give them diarrhea, etc.”
Is baby oil safe for dogs?
Baby oil is safe to use on fur, but it should be applied conservatively. Because it often contains chemicals and fragrances that aren’t digestible, you should keep it away from the mouth or areas of frequent licking. As always, consult your vet about home remedies ahead of time.
Is coconut oil safe for dogs?
The benefits of coconut oil can be just as helpful for dogs as they are for humans. Organic coconut oil (a key ingredient in many of our products) offers powerful moisturizing qualities for your dog’s dry nose, skin, and hair. But if you’ve just decided to introduce coconut oil to your pet, do so slowly and sparingly at first to find the right balance — it can be a bit messy.
Why is a dog nose dry?
There are many reasons for a dog’s dry nose, but most are easily treatable with nose balm and good habits. However, prolonged dryness, along with other symptoms, can indicate a more serious health issue.