Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry? Unraveling the Mystery Behind Your Pup’s Dried-Out Sniffer

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Author: Jacob Kay

Most of the paw parents presume that if their fur baby has a wet nose then he is perfectly healthy. For them, a dry nose is a signal to health-related issues.

Why Is My Dog's Nose Dry?

Dog use their nose to sniff to be familiar with the surroundings but apart from that dog’s nose is important to keep their body cool. A dog’s nose contains a special mucous-producing gland that produces clear watery fluid which keeps him cool.

For any dog their nose is important and in some conditions the indicator of their health too. So let’s find out the reason behind a dog’s dry nose and all possible outcomes related to it.

Common Reasons Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry

A dog’s dry nose is not always a matter of concern, a perfectly healthy dog too can have a dry nose. There are many common reasons related to a dog’s dry nose which are not serious[1].

As quoted by Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM in petmd, "Dog noses are fascinating little structures. Not only do dogs use their noses for breathing, dog noses also drain excessive tears from the eyes through tear ducts. In addition, they have sweat glands, which help to cool the body through sweating."

Your dog was napping

Dogs tend to keep their nose wet by licking them frequently. But when they are sleeping, they don’t lick their nose which results in a dry nose when they wake up. This is common in dogs and you may not need to worry about it.

Dog napping


Another common reason behind your dog’s dry nose is exertion due to overactivity. That is why you should always provide your dog with plenty of water after any activity which requires the use of strength.


As the dogs get older their mucus membrane too ages which leads to dry noses. The dry nose of old dogs is not an issue of concern and has no ill effect on their health.

Exposure to elements

Just like humans dogs too face problems due to exposure to elements like hot sunlight, wind and cold. This exposure to elements leads to the dry noses of dogs.


Drying of the nose also depends on the breed of the dog. The brachycephalic breeds are flat-faced and thus have difficulty licking the nose due to which their nose remains dry. Bulldog, pug, Shih Tzu, etc. belong to brachycephalic breeds.

Dry Nose and Possible Health Issue

There are several health issues related to dry nose. So if your dog is having a dry nose look for the symptoms to avoid further discomfort.

Dry Nose and Possible Health Issue


A dry nose can often be related to sunburn, especially for dogs with light colour. So if you notice redness along with a dry nose, accommodate your dog to a cool place. To prevent sunburn further, you can even apply sunscreen suitable for dogs.


One of the main causes of dry nose is dehydration. If you notice your dog’s nose is dry, before proceeding toward any treatment try giving him water. When a dog is indulged in activities he might be dehydrated, so be sure to provide your dog with plenty of water.


Dry nose can be caused even due to allergies. Dogs can suffer from allergies due to environmental particles, food or any skin disease, which can lead to a dry nose.


Fever can cause a dry nose, and temperature in dogs. The normal body temperature of a dog is 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. When this temperature increases the dog’s nose tends to become dry.

Autoimmune disease

Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) and pemphigus are autoimmune diseases. It happens when the immune system protecting our own body from infection, starts attacking its tissue. This leads to blisters and dryness on the nose.

Dry eye or blocked tear duct

Dogs have tear ducts which drain tears in their nasal passage. Blocked tear duct or keratoconjunctivitis sicca will prevent that moisture from reaching and thus will flow through the eyes which results in a dry nose.

Canine distemper

Canine distemper is highly contagious and caused by a virus that attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory and nervous systems. They can be prevented by a vaccine.

Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis

This is a genetic condition often seen in labrador retrievers which leads to crust and cracks in nose skin. This condition has no health-related effects and normally shows up between 6 months to 2 years of age.


Leishmaniasis is caused by a parasite transmitted through biting sandflies. Dogs are usually prone to a visceral form of this disease and may show symptoms like vomiting, nose bleeding, diarrhoea and soreness.


In hyperkeratosis, the body produces excessive keratin which leads to nose skin becoming hard and dry. This condition if not treated may develop infection.

Dry Nose Treatment and Prevention

Normally, a dog’s dry nose resolves on its own but if it doesn’t you can try the following ways[2]:

Dry Nose Treatment and Prevention

Keep your dog hydrated

If you notice a dry nose in a dog, make sure to keep him hydrated by frequently providing him with water to drink.

Apply sunscreen

If your dog is light coloured apply dog-friendly sunscreen available either online or at any pet store near you. Applying sunscreen will provide your dog protection from sunburn.

Organic oil

Applying coconut, olive, or calendula oil can provide your dog relief from a dry nose. Just dab your dog’s nose with a towel soaked in warm water and apply the oil. The oil made from coconut, olive, or calendula works as a great moisturizer. These oils are even edible so you don’t have to worry about your dog licking it.

Nose balms

You can also apply dog-friendly nose balms which are easily available online or at any nearby dog store. These dog-friendly nose balms are safe to use and can help repair cracks on your dog’s nose.

If your dog is suffering from hyperkeratosis you can visit a pet clinic, their vet will trim the excess keratin and prescribe antibiotics for cracks.

When Should You See a Vet?

Generally, a dry nose is not directly associated with serious health-related issues, as it can be due to some common causes. But if there are some serious symptoms apart from just a dry nose then you should immediately consult a vet. These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Green and yellow colour mucus
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Unusual discharge from eyes
  • Ulcer
  • Constant nose licking


Should I be worried if my dog’s nose is dry?

There are several factors behind a dog’s dry nose, some are normal whereas some are chronic. A dry nose can be due to common reasons like overnapping, overactivity, and age in that case you need not worry. But if your dog’s nose is drying frequently then consult the vet as it can be due to allergies and other serious conditions which may require medical help.

Can I put coconut oil on my dog’s dry nose?

Coconut oil works as a great moisturizer for a dog’s dry nose. Applying coconut oil on a dog’s dry nose prevents it from cracking and heals it. As the coconut oil is edible it doesn’t harm your dog even if he licks it off.

Why is my dog’s nose dry and crusty?

Dehydration and low humidity cause the dog’s nose to be dry and crusty. This can happen even due to allergies which can lead to your dog scratching its nose and making it crusty.

Why is my dog’s nose dry when he sleeps?

When dogs are sleeping they don’t bother to lick their nose, but it’s only till they wake up. Once the dog is awake he will lick his nose and it will be wet again. Thus drying of dog’s nose when he is asleep is a temporary situation and you may not have to worry about it.

Is my dog thirsty if his nose is dry?

Yes, the dry nose of a dog is often a sign of dehydration. Dehydration could be because of overactivity. If you find your dog’s nose dry, try giving him water to drink. When a dog engages in overactivity his body heats up, causing dehydration, thus giving water can help.


A dog’s dry nose can be an indication of health issues but not always. Next time if you observe your dog’s nose getting dry don’t panic, if it is due to some common causes like over napping, overactivity it will be wet again in almost 10 minutes. But if your dog’s nose remains dry for a longer period try looking for other symptoms.

Your dog may not be able to tell what’s wrong with him, but his nose can. So before reaching any judgment look for symptoms to avoid any further consequences and if necessary consult a vet.


  1. Mmyers. (2022a, June 24). Does The Nose Know?—The Truths and Myths of Canine Nasal Health. VMBS News.
  2. Purdue Veterinary Medicine. (n.d.-a). Pet health tips: Dogs. Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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