6 Reasons Your Dog Might Have a Dry Nose

There are times when you should worry about a dry nose, but most of the time you don’t have to be too concerned.

Slowly back away from the camera, fella. By: MacKinnon Photography/Flickr

Many people worry that their dog’s nose is too dry, or too wet, or too warm, or too cool. We worry when something is different or “off” about our pet.

There are times when you will need to worry about a dry nose — and times when you don’t need to be too concerned about it.

Reasons a Dog Might Have a Dry Nose

1. The nose naturally gets dry during sleep.

A lot of people worry that their dog’s nasal membrane is dry when the pet wakes up from a nap. But this is normal.


When your dog sleeps, they stop licking at their nose. This stops the constant flow of moisture to the nasal area. Within 10 minutes after your dog wakes up, that nose should be right back to its usual wet self.

2. Your dog is too close to the heat.

During the colder months, dogs (like cats) love to sleep close to heating vents and ducts. They find comfy spots with the warm air blowing on their faces.

However, being too close to heating sources can cause your dog’s nose to become dry. It can also make the nose cracked.

Just watch to be sure the snout goes back to its moist state. If it doesn’t, a dab of petroleum jelly may do the trick.

3. Your dog is allergic to something.

Dogs with allergies tend to have dry noses. Humans experience this, too.

Your veterinarian can help you gain control of the allergies. Quite a few prescription medications can relieve the dryness. Once again, you can consider using a dab of petroleum jelly to keep the nose moist and prevent cracking.

Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM, suggests that rubbing on shea butter or coconut oil might work. We have heard that Chapstick can suffice, or even a little olive oil.


We’ve also heard great things about a product called Blissful Dog Nose Butter. Dr. Heather Loenser, DVM, explains more about this product in the quick video below:

4. The nose is irritated by plastic food/water bowls.

One of the biggest causes of dry nose in dogs is a problem with plastic, such as in food and water bowls. Nearly half of dogs are said to have some form of allergic reaction to plastic.

Most people who are dealing with this problem simply eliminate plastics from the dog’s environment. Your dog should eat out of stainless steel or ceramic bowls. These eliminate potential allergy problems and are a cinch to clean and keep sterile.

You can opt for toys that are made of hard rubber (such as KONG toys) as opposed to plastic, which will help.

5. The dog has sunburn on the nose.

All too many people have no idea their dogs can get sunburn on their noses.

Think about it: If you were out in the sun a lot, you would be burned up, too. You need to protect your pet from UV damage as well as potentially getting skin cancer.

Sunblock is the key to keeping your dog’s nose moist and sniffling as it should. It’s essential that you use a sunblock designed for pets or for human infants. These will be nontoxic.

With pet-safe sunblock, you’ll no longer have to worry about your dog being uncomfortable with a dried-out, sunburned nose.

By: patdavid
Dogs lick their noses throughout the day, but clearly they can’t do that while they’re sleeping. By: patdavid

6. The dog hasn’t been drinking enough water.

When a dog doesn’t have enough fluids taken into his body, they become dehydrated.

This could be a real issue because the dry nose can crack — but also the kidneys and other body systems could become compromised, shut down and cause your pet to go into shock. It is incredibly important that every pet have a fresh supply of clean water available at all times.

Chronic dry nose, or a nose that has scabbing or sores, should be brought to your vet’s attention.

vet-cross60pThis pet health content was reviewed for accuracy by a veterinarian, Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS. It was last reviewed and updated Oct. 13, 2018.

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