Why is My Dog's Nose Dry? (And When to Be Concerned)

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A cold, wet nose is a common trait associated with dogs. But what if your dog’s nose doesn’t fit the description? What if your dog’s nose is dry?  Well noses, much like tongues, can tell us a lot about our dogs.

In this article, we’ll cover what a healthy dog nose looks like, common causes of dry noses in dogs, how to treat your pup’s dry nose, and when to know if you should contact your veterinarian. Read on to learn more!

What Does a Healthy Dog Nose Look Like?

In most cases, a healthy dog nose should be cold and moist. It shouldn’t drip excessively, and there shouldn’t be any discharge from your dog’s nostrils.

Your pup's nose should also be cool to the touch. If your dog's nose is warm to the touch it could be a sign of a fever or infection.

It’s worth noting that some dogs have noses that stay on the dry side, even in their healthiest state. It’s always wise to make a mental reference of your dog’s normal state so that you can catch any changes or abnormalities that occur. If your dog’s nose is usually dry, take note if it ever begins to look painful or cracked.

Possible Causes of a Dry Nose

Often a dry nose is just a temporary side effect of an environmental change like weather or allergies. But, since a dry nose can also be a symptom of some serious conditions, it’s wise to try deducing the cause of your dog’s dry nose. As always, it’s essential to consider any additional symptoms that accompany a dry nose as they will help lead you toward a possible diagnosis.

The following are some of the possible causes of dry nose in dogs:


Sunburn is a common culprit for dry noses in dogs. The skin of your pup’s nose and the snout is delicate, and since the hair on the muzzle is usually thinner, it doesn’t protect the skin from sunburn. Dogs with light-colored coats and noses without pigmentation are particularly susceptible to sunburn.

If your dog’s nose is sunburnt it will be dry and the skin may crack. You will likely see signs of sunburn on other parts of your dog as well: the ears and belly can appear red when sunburned.


A dry nose may be a symptom that your dog is severely dehydrated. If this is the case, there will be other symptoms as well. Dehydrated dogs are usually lethargic, and their skin will lose elasticity. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, contact your veterinarian as dehydration can be a sign of other underlying illnesses and conditions.  

Autoimmune disorders

Sometimes an autoimmune disease or disorder can lead to dry nose in dogs. Examples of these conditions include lupus and pemphigus (an autoimmune skin disorder). Sometimes these autoimmune disorders will cause dogs to develop sores, cracked skin, or crusty scabs around the nose. 


It’s not uncommon for senior dogs to have dry noses. You see, when dogs are sleeping, their noses dry out because they aren’t licking them regularly to moisten them. Since many senior dogs take extended naps, it’s not surprising that their noses are commonly on the dry side.

It’s a Breed Trait

Dry noses are prevalent in certain dog breeds, particularly brachycephalic breeds. Because of the compact shape of their snouts, it’s harder for breeds like Pugs and English Bulldogs to lick their noses to moisten them.


A dry nose is a common symptom of allergies. Determining your dog’s allergen can be tricky, as there are so many potential culprits, including food, cleaning products, and more. If your dog develops a dry nose after a change in his environment, allergies may be the cause.

How to Treat Dry Noses

In many cases, your dog’s nose can be treated with some simple products. There are several nose balms and moisturizing products on the market to soothe dry and cracked noses.

You should never put moisturizers meant for humans on your dog’s nose as they may contain toxic ingredients. Since dogs lick their noses frequently, they can easily ingest these toxins and become sick.

If you’re unsure of which product is best for your dog, don’t be afraid to seek advice from your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to guide you toward the most effective treatment for your pup's specific needs. If your dog’s nose is chronically dry, your vet may also prescribe a particular type of lotion to help moisten his snout. 

When to Be Concerned About a Dry Nose

If your dog’s dry nose is causing him discomfort or is accompanied by other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

The dry nose could be just one symptom of a more significant health issue. Your vet will be able to help you treat the dry nose and alleviate your dog’s discomfort as well as help you determine if there is an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. 

While a dry nose isn’t a severe condition most of the time, it can be painful for your pup if it persists. Don’t be afraid to seek veterinary help to alleviate your dog’s symptoms.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.   

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.