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Reasons a Dog has a Dry Nose

Most pet owners have heard that if a dog has a dry nose, it must signal an illness. The truth is that dry noses in dogs can be caused by a number of reasons, so dog owners should not panic as soon as they notice dry dog noses. If you are looking for answers to why your dog has a dry nose read on.

Before we investigate why a dog’s nose might be dry, it is important to understand what is normal.

Reasons a Dog has a Dry Nose

Dogs’ noses typically have varying temperatures based on their activity and location.

Additionally, some breeds naturally have drier noses than others.

A moist nose helps enhance the sense of smell and regulate body temperature.

If your dog has a dry nose, let’s take a look at a few common reasons and remedies.

Why Does My Dog Have a Dry Nose?

When your furry friend has a dry nose, it can be caused by a variety of factors.

The main reason is usually environmental conditions such as humidity, cold weather, or wind.

Other causes for dry noses may include allergies, sickness, poor nutrition, or excessive licking.

Let’s take a look at the most common reasons.

The Sun

Lying in the sun can cause a dog’s nose to dry out. You should also watch for signs of sunburn.

Too much sun exposure to a dog’s nose can lead to sunburn that is sometimes severe.

Dogs that spend a lot of time in the sun should have sunscreen applied to the nose and be offered plenty of water for hydration.

Heat Source

Spending too much time near a source of heat or hot air from heating vents often dries out a dog’s nose.

This can become uncomfortable for the pet, but it is nothing to be alarmed about.

To prevent or alleviate this issue, dog owners should make sure their pets have easy access to lots of clean water and cool surfaces for relief from the heat.

If a dog’s nose continues to dry out despite drinking enough water, further medical attention may be necessary.

Beautiful dog with woman touching his nose

Poor Air Circulation

A dry nose in dogs can simply be a side effect of being in an area with poor air circulation.

If this is the case, then simply by opening a few windows owners can get the dog’s nose nice and wet again.

In this way, they can avoid using ointments or nasal sprays that might not be good for their pet.

Plastic Allergy

Dogs can have allergies or sensitivities to plastic. This may lead to nose dryness if a dog uses plastic bowls.

Switching to stainless steel or ceramic dog bowls can be an effective solution for dogs that have allergies or sensitivities to plastic.

The material of the bowl will not cause nose dryness, as plastic often does.

Medical Causes

Nose dryness in dogs can indicate a medical condition or health issue and should be addressed if it is accompanied by lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Additionally, owners should watch out for any signs of infection on their dog’s nose such as flakes, crust, scabs, or sores.

If they notice any of these symptoms on the dog’s nose then they should contact a veterinarian immediately.

With proper treatment and addressing any underlying conditions, a dog’s dry nose will return to normal.


A dog’s nose can become dry and cracked if he is dehydrated.

Make sure the dog has easy access to a regular fresh water source, especially if he spends time outside during the hot summer months.

If your dog spends time outdoors during hot months, he may become dehydrated more quickly due to the higher temperatures and increased activity.


Your climate can lead to your dog having a dry, cracked nose.

Very cold winters are especially damaging to sensitive tissues. Hot weather and hot dry summers can dry out the tissues or even cause sunburn on the nose, which can lead to cracking.

Additionally, fluctuations in humidity levels also contribute to the dog’s nose becoming dry and damaged as it exacerbates the effects of extreme temperature changes.

Although there are many causes for this condition, pet owners should be aware of the impact of their climate in both summer months and winter months on their dog’s nose health.

Closeup of a white dog's black nose


Dogs can get infections in their noses that lead to flakiness or crusty patches.

Infections can both cause dry noses or running sores. Loss of pigmentation is another sign of an infection.

1. Look for signs of dryness, flakiness, or crusty patches on your dog’s nose.

2. Check for any sores that may be present on the nose and examine them closely to see if they are oozing any pus or other fluid.

3. Monitor your pet’s nose pigmentation – if it is lighter than normal, this could be a sign of infection.

4. Pay attention to any changes in your dog’s behavior – if they seem unusually lethargic or uncomfortable while touching their face/nose area, this could be an indication of an infectious disease.

5. Be sure to seek veterinary help right away if you observe any symptoms of infection on your pet’s nose so that it can be properly diagnosed and treated before it gets worse!

Remedies for a dog’s dry nose

You can apply unscented lotion to a dog’s dry or cracked nose.

Put sunscreen on the nose of a dog that will be out in the sun for long periods of time.

Consult your veterinarian if the dog’s nose is dry or cracked continuously.

Moisturizers, Lotions, Creams, or Petroleum Jelly

Exposure to enough sunlight can dry out just about anything and the same goes for a dog’s nose.

Too much sunshine can result in a dry nose. In these instances, moisturizers, creams, lotions, coconut oil, or petroleum jelly may be necessary to protect or remedy the dry nose.

Be sure to choose products that are dog-safe as recommended by the dog’s veterinarian.

Generally, these include lotions that are free of perfumes and other harsh chemicals that may cause an issue with the dog.

This is important since the dog will likely try to lick his nose after the product is applied, which means some will inadvertently be swallowed.

Swap Out the Dog’s Bowls

Some dogs can suffer from sensitivity or an allergic reaction to plastic, which can trigger a dry nose.

The simplest remedy for this situation is to swap out the plastic food and water bowls for stainless steel bowls or ceramic bowls.

Of course, it should be noted that results may not be immediate.

It may take a couple of days for the dog’s nose to return to normal. This is true IF the bowls actually are the cause.

Dog-safe Products

As expected, there are several different products available on the market that are made specifically for treating the canine’s occasional dry nose.

These products are safe for dogs, meaning that if the dog licks the product off his nose, it will not cause illness or other issues.

For example, some products like nose balms are applied directly onto the dog’s nose to relieve dryness and cracking.

Closeup of a dog's nose

In Conclusion

It is important to remember that a dry nose in dogs can stem from a variety of causes and is not necessarily an indication of sickness.

While some pet owners may panic when they first notice their pup’s dry nose, it is important for them to take time and evaluate the underlying cause of the lack of moisture.

In essence, a nose that is too dry is just as important as a runny nose.

If your dog’s nose dryness does not go away after providing your pet with better hydration, you should contact a veterinarian who will be able to effectively diagnose and treat the issue.


Friday 3rd of March 2023

Thanks for sharing this, it is important to pay attention to your dog's nose for health concerns!

Debbie P

Thursday 23rd of February 2023

This was very interesting and informative. Thank you.

Lauryn R

Tuesday 21st of February 2023

This is very helpful information to know, thanks for sharing! My puppy always has a dry nose when she is asleep, but as soon as she wakes up it is super wet again. I wasn't concerned, but it is nice to know all of the different reasons your dog's nose could be dry.

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