What Does It Mean When My Dog's Nose is Dry?

December 03, 2018

No matter how much we’d like them to, our pups can’t speak up when they’re feeling off. This means that dog owners must stay attentive to their pet’s body cues. If you’ve noticed that your dog’s nose is dry, you might be concerned. Urban legend tells us that a dry, warm nose means something is off with your pup. And since a moist nose helps your dog’s 220 million scent receptors do their job, a dry nose in the long term could be cause for concern.

The likely causes of a dry dog’s nose

The good news? A dry nose doesn’t necessarily mean your pet is unhealthy. But there are several reasons why your pooch’s sniffer could lack moisture.

1. Your pup has been snoozing

While dreaming about running through fields or his favorite dog treat, your dog isn’t licking his nose as frequently. If your dog just woke up, it’s normal for his nose to be dry. That dryness should go away about 10 minutes after waking.

2. Doggie allergies

Just like humans, dogs can have allergies. Allergic reactions may cause doggie dry nose; and while the specific sensitivity depends on the pooch, some allergens are more common than others. A major culprit is plastic—something that can be avoided by switching out plastic water or food bowls with stainless steel. If you suspect your dog has an allergy but you don’t know exactly what it is, contact your veterinarian for allergy testing.

3. Weather and sunburn

If you stay out too long on a hot summer’s day, you might come home with a sunburn. The same goes for your pup! Dog noses are prone to burning, something that can be prevented with a little non-toxic doggie sunscreen. Similarly, exposure to hot sun or a toasty heating vent can remove the moisture from your dog’s nose. This brings no major cause for concern, but a sunburned nose should be avoided when possible. UV damage affects dogs as well as people!

4. Dehydration

Pay attention to your pup: Is he drinking enough water? If not, your dog’s dry nose could be the result of dehydration. Be sure to supply your pup with plenty of fresh water. If he’s still not drinking, take him to the vet.

5. Something else

If your dog’s dry nose is coupled with vomiting, diarrhea, or signs of discomfort, take him to the vet. While a dry nose by itself is unlikely to cause harm, a dry nose with other negative symptoms could be more serious.

Loving our dogs is what we do best. After checking these causes, you can get back to what your dog does best: playing fetch or chowing down on a treat.