Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry and How to Help It

A wet nose is a sign that your canine is hydrated and healthy. It also helps them sniff objects and people and regulate their body temperature. What about when your pup has a dry nose?

Your dog may have a dry nose due to dehydration, overexertion, or sunburn. A dry nose can also result from an autoimmune illness or allergies. You can treat your pup’s dry nose with a warm, moist cloth, and you can also get a special nose balm for your pup.              

You should always treat a dry nose to prevent infection. Check out this article if you want to know why your dog’s nose is dry and how to help it.

why is my dogs nose dry clifton park ny

Benefit of Wet Noses in Dogs

Dogs depend on their noses for a lot of purposes. Dogs should have wet noses, but that does not necessarily mean that a dry nose is a huge concern. The following include reasons why your dog’s nose should be moist and ready for use.

Better for Smell

When it comes to sniffing out trouble, your dog’s nose should be wet. Your pup must sniff out visitors to your home to ensure the person is safe and worthy of their master. Dogs have a thin layer of mucus over their nose, which enables the tissue to verify scents.

Dogs lick their nose after sniffing. The licking delivers the scents from the nose to a special organ, referred to as Jacobson’s organ, which allows the dog to experience the scent. By licking their nose, dogs clean off the old smell, which frees up their nose for new and exciting scents.

Helps Regulate Temperature

The only place a dog perspires is through their paws. Instead of sweating, a pup will cool down by evaporating moisture from their tongues, nasal passageways, and the inside layer of their lungs. They can accomplish this task through their mucus glands inside the nostrils, which produce fluid that helps with the cooling process.

Why is My Dog’s Nose Dry?

A dog can have a wet nose for a variety of reasons. It is usual for a dog to have a cold, wet nose. However, there are some situations when your dog’s nose may become dry. The following are some reasons why your pup’s nose may be dry:

Your Pup Has Been Sleeping sleeping dog dry nose

Do you ever awaken in the morning to find that your mouth is dry? You are not alone. The canine version of this is when a dog’s nose becomes dry due to them sleeping. When your dog is off in dreamland, they are not licking their nose as they tend to do when awake.

Once your dog wakes up, they start their routine of licking again and moistening their adorable little nose. It may take about ten or so minutes for a wet nose to occur. If not, offer your pup a drink of water to rehydrate them.


If your canine does not have enough water in their body, it can cause many problems. When your pup becomes dehydrated, so does their nose. There is a surfeit of reasons your dog could be dehydrated:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Heatstroke
  • Vomiting

Excessive panting or breathing may trigger dehydration in dogs as well. Dehydration can also lead to health problems, and it is essential that if your pup’s dehydration persists, you get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Dry Eye or Blocked Tear Ducts

Your dog has tear ducts in their eyes to drain tears created to lubricate their face from their eye to their nose. Blocked tear ducts often cause thick eye discharge and reddened eyes. If your pup’s tear ducts are blocked, their eyes will be watery and come down the side of their face, and their nose will not be moist.


If your dog has been highly active, their nose may become dry due to not licking their nose, not keeping themselves hydrated, and the air blowing on them. Some of the signs of overactivity in your dog:

  • Exhaustion after exercise
  • Heat sickness or overtiredness
  • Stiffness and sore muscles
  • Wear and tear on paw pads

Pay attention to a risky increase in body temperature. If the pup’s body temperature gets higher than 106 degrees, it can be life-endangering. Elderly dogs and very young pups have trouble regulating their body temperature. Make sure they are not overheated, and be sure to keep your pup hydrated during exercise.

Breed Distinction

french bulldogs

Dogs who have short snouts are called brachycephalic breeds:

  • Boston terriers
  • Boxers
  • Bullmastiffs
  • English and French bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzus

The above canines may not be able to properly lick their noses, which causes the nose to dry. It is a matter of not being capable of getting their tongue to their nose.


Sunburn can cause a dry nose in your canine companion because the skin on their nose and snout are pretty sensitive. The skin on their nose is thin and is ineffective at shielding them from sunburn. Their nose may also become dry, flaky, or crusty.

It may also hurt them for you to touch, so be cautious and mindful of this. Breeds with pink or pale noses and light-colored dogs may be more prone to sunburn, especially during the summer. You can use sunscreen to protect your precious pooch from sunburn on their nose.


how to help dry nose in dogs

Dogs can have environmental-related allergies, which can cause their nose to dry out. Your veterinarian can help you control allergies with medicine. The actual culprit may be tricky to determine. Sensitivities can also take place in the form of food allergies, flea allergies, or allergies to cleaning products. Some symptoms of allergies:

  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Itching of the skin
  • Inflamed, red, or watery eyes
  • Runny nose, sneezing, and allergies

The most common places dogs with allergies will itch is their ears and paws. Environmental allergens include dust, pollen, and mold. Cleaning your house on a regular schedule is the best way to keep your pup from developing this type of allergy.

Autoimmune Disease

Although it is uncommon, autoimmune disease is another reason a dog can have a dry nose. Discoid lupus, for example, can occur when the immune system becomes faulty and starts attacking normal tissue. The skin around the nose loses its pigment, and areas that are black turn pink.

The nose loses its cobblestone appearance and becomes completely smooth, and the pink areas become crusty and blistered and may crack and bleed. Other autoimmune illnesses can cause skin problems, including a dry nose.

How Can I Help My Dog’s Nose?

It is essential to ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean drinking water to keep them hydrated. You may also choose to use a dog-safe nose balm to moisten their dry nose. Coconut oil is another option, as it is safe and healthy for dogs.

You can also try soaking their nose with a warm, moist towel or cloth and then dab a bit of petroleum jelly onto their nose to keep it in good sniffing condition. It is crucial to care for dry muzzles in canines. If it goes with no treatment, it can lead to infection.


If your canine has a dry nose, there is usually no reason for concern, but you can do things to help them out. When you are a pet parent, it is up to you to ensure that your dog’s nose is soft, wet, and up to snuff.

For pup parents in the Clifton Park, NY region, Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital of Clifton Park is here for you and your pet. Give us a call today at (518) 383-6254 or visit us online to make an appointment!

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About Us

Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital of Clifton Park was founded in 1989 as Animal Care Hospital of Clifton Park. We began with 10 employees, 4 of whom are still working with us today. The name “Cornerstone” has special meaning to Dr. Knott and his family, both because it symbolizes their commitment to “faith, family, and then everything else,” and because it promotes the animal hospital as a cornerstone of the Clifton Park community.