Dry Dog Nose – What Does It Mean?

Why is My Dog’s Nose Dry

You’re probably used to feeling your dog’s cold, wet nose brush against you. But what if you suddenly notice a dry dog nose? Many dog owners believe a dry nose on a dog is a telltale sign that your canine companion is sick. But this isn’t always the case…

Let’s explore what a dry nose means in dogs, and a few dry nose treatments to consider.

Why is My Dog’s Nose Dry? 

A dry dog nose may be surprising, but it’s not always a bad thing or a cause for concern. In fact, perfectly healthy dogs can have dry noses, and sick dogs can have cold, wet noses. 

Here are just a few reasons why a healthy dog may have a dry nose:


Heavy bouts of exercise can dehydrate the natural moisture in your dog’s nose. If it’s a hot day and you plan on giving your dog rigorous exercise, make sure he has plenty of cool water to drink at all times throughout the day. This can help prevent any possible dryness and dehydration.


One way dogs keep their noses wet is by licking them. Since a sleeping dog won’t usually lick its nose, it may wake up with a dry or warm nose. 

Cold Air, Sunlight & Other Elements

 If your dog has been spending lots of time in the wind, cold, or hot sunlight, these things can all potentially dry his nose out. Indoor sources of heat, like fires and heaters, can also dry your dog’s nose if he lies close to them. This makes dry noses particularly common during the winter time, as dogs spend time outside in the cold, and then also are exposed to warm air indoors from heating vents. 


It’s normal for some dogs to have a drier nose as they get older. Especially certain breeds … which brings us to our next point.


Pugs, boxers, bulldogs, and other brachycephalic dog breeds often have drier noses. As mentioned earlier, many dogs tend to lick their own noses to keep them wet. Since these breeds have shorter snouts, they may not be able to lick their noses. 

Does a Dry Dog Nose Mean a Sick Dog? 

Even though healthy dogs can have a dry nose for all the reasons given above, dry dog noses can also be a symptom of other underlying issues.

There are a few specific conditions and illnesses that may cause a dry dog nose:


If your dog has been exercising a lot, especially in hot weather, this can lead to a dry nose and other symptoms of dehydration. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water, especially when he’s exercising or when it’s hot outside. 


Dogs can develop allergies to certain foods and other things in their environment. In fact, allergies are one of the top reasons for vet visits. Keep an eye out for other allergy symptoms in your dog, and consider some natural relief options. 

Autoimmune Diseases 

Pemphigus and discoid lupus erythematosus are autoimmune diseases that affect dogs’ skin and mucus membranes. These can cause scabbing, blisters, and dryness on the nose. It can also affect the skin around the eyes, ears, and feet. If you notice significant dryness and lesions on these areas of your dogs, contact your veterinarian to evaluate whether your dog has an autoimmune disease. 


Hypothyroidism in dogs often results in dermatological symptoms like a dry nose. However, this condition will usually be accompanied with other symptoms like hair loss or thinning, weight gain, lethargy, etc. Hypothyroidism is relatively common in dogs, and your veterinarian can help diagnose whether or not your dog has this issue. 


Hyperkeratosis is a condition where the skin produces too much keratin. This can result in dry and cracked skin on a dog’s nose or footpads. In certain breeds, like labrador retrievers, the condition can be hereditary and symptoms can manifest at a young age. Most of the time, though, hyperkeratosis occurs in older dogs and no serious treatment is required. As you’ll see below, there are a few simple remedies you can use to give your dog natural relief. 

What Can I Give a Dog for Dry Nose?

Most of the time, a dry dog nose is natural and nothing to worry about. In that case, the best thing you can do for him is to make sure he’s well hydrated and has plenty of cool water around to drink.  

However, if you feel your dog’s dry nose is making him uncomfortable, there are a few simple treatment options you can consider to give him relief. 

3 Dry Dog Nose Treatments to Consider

1. Calendula Oil or Salve

Calendula is a healing herb that can help a dry dog nose. You can soak your dog’s nose in a warm, moist towel briefly, and then apply the oil or salve to his nose to help soften it. 

RELATED: Calendula: A Great Herb For Dogs

2. Nose Balm

There are also several nose balm products you can buy to help give your dog relief. In this case, just make sure to read the ingredients before you choose your balm. Ideally the ingredients will be simple, organic, and natural, like natural oils, vitamin E, etc. 

3. Coconut Oil or Olive Oil

Perhaps the best option is to forego the balm all together, and make your own. It’s easier than you think, especially if you have high quality organic oils around your house already. Coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil all make great options. To use, simply wet your dog’s nose with a warm moist towel and then apply a bit of one of these oils. 

Bottom Line …

Most of the time a dry dog nose is nothing to worry about. It’s perfectly natural for a healthy dog to have a dry nose every now and again, especially if he just woke up or has been exercising vigorously. In this case, the simple dry dog nose treatment options above can help give your dog some speedy relief. 

However, there are some more serious conditions that can cause a dry dog nose. Most of the time, these will have other symptoms that reveal a bigger problem. If you notice these other symptoms, your holistic vet can help diagnose and treat these conditions in your dog.


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