New dog owners will often assume that like humans, their dog’s nose must stay dry to be healthy. However, a dog’s dry nose will actually indicate that something’s wrong. This article discusses why a wet nose is important for your dog, possible reasons for dry dog noses, and when you need to visit your vet. We also answer the question, “Why is my puppy’s nose dry?”
Why is a Dog’s Nose Wet?
A dog’s amazing sense of smell depends on its nose staying wet. A dog’s wet nose plays an important role — moist noses are able to trap odors and help your dog better detect scent particles. But there are also two ways our canine friends can keep their noses dry.
First, olfactory glands underneath your dog’s nose produce a thin layer of mucus, which coats the surface of the nose to keep it moist. Next, dogs frequently lick their nose; this keeps their nasal passages primed and wet for detecting all kinds of odors. But when should you be worried when it comes to a dry nose?
To understand the answer to this question, it’s important to find out the common causes of this medical condition.
Reasons Behind a Dry Dog Nose
Now that you know the reason behind why and how dogs’ noses stay wet, below are some of the most common causes of a dry nose. While some reasons are a normal part of a dog’s life, others are more serious and should be given immediate attention.
Your Dog is Sleeping
This is a pretty simple reason why the moistness of a dog’s nose is low. When our dogs are fast asleep, they are too busy off in dreamland to lick their noses and to keep them wet. As such, they will often wake up with a dry nose but it should get wet again as soon as they start licking themselves again.
Your Dog is Dehydrated
There are various causes behind dogs who have drier noses, one being dehydration, which can occur during the following:
- When your puppy has been playing and hasn’t had a drink of water for a while
- Hard exercise
Any of these can dry out the surface of your dog’s nose. When dealing with a mild case of dehydration, the dryness of your pet’s nose can be resolved by drinking water. However, if your dog’s dry nose persists for a few days, or is showing signs of illness, it’s best to go for a vet visit. Below are a few other signs that your puppy is dehydrated:
- Dry tear ducts
- A dry eye or eyes
- Dry gums
- Dry skin
Your Dog is a Particular Breed
Brachycephalic breeds refer to dog breeds with shorter snouts; this includes Shih Tzus, Pugs, Boxers, and Bulldogs. Because their faces are a bit more compact, they have trouble trying to reach their own noses. As a result, they can’t effectively lick their nose and will have a drier nose compared to breeds with a longer nose.
Fever or High Body Temperature
A high body temperature can also dry out your pup’s nose. A warm nose will usually be the result of hot weather and can also put your dog at risk of heatstroke. The likely culprit behind this condition is fever, and if this is the case, a sick dog will also show other signs, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- A runny nose
When you see your dog suffering from a fever or high body temperature along with any of these symptoms, be sure to see your veterinarian right away.
There’s Low Humidity
Hot summer days aren’t the only cause behind the dryness of your pup’s nose. During cold weather, your dog might be more comfortable snuggling up next to the heater or fireplace, where the low humidity can quickly dry out your dog’s snout. The good news is that you won’t have to worry about this so much.
They Get Sunburned
Canine noses are one of the most vulnerable parts of your canine companion and can be prone to sunburn if it has a pale nose. Sunburns can cause your dog’s nose to become sore, dry, red, or cracked. Luckily, you can use coconut oil to restore the wetness of your dog’s nose, or you can look for dog-friendly sunscreens to prevent sunburns during sunny days.
Your Pup has Nasal Hyperkeratosis
Dog nose hyperkeratosis or nasal hyperkeratosis is the term used when a dog has a cracked or crusty nose. This condition can happen for many different reasons; in some cases, a crusty dog nose could be a sign of an illness. But in some breeds like Cocker Spaniels along with senior dogs of any breed, this can be a common occurrence.
It’s always a good idea to ask your vet first before assuming that your dog’s dry nose means age-related hyperkeratosis.
It Could have Autoimmune Diseases
An autoimmune disease could be responsible for the changes in your dog’s nasal cavity. Autoimmune disorders usually occur when the immune system attacks the body — these autoimmune conditions will usually target specific areas of a dog, such as your pooch’s nose.
The most common skin condition which affects the immune system is discoid lupus erythematosus. This causes the dog’s skin around the nose to ulcerate and bleed, leading to a color change or a change in its appearance. Sometimes, the nose may be left dry and peeling or cracked, and these are indicators that you should immediately contact your veterinarian.
Why is My Puppy’s Nose Dry?
When you’re trying to determine health problems in your dog through its dry nose, it’s best to check for signs and symptoms first. As detailed in the guide above, there are different reasons why there is an absence of a healthy dog’s nose. While some of them are completely normal and tend to pass on their own, other reasons will require that you seek veterinary care to achieve a healthy dog nose again.
When Should I See a Vet?
Seeing any kind of dramatic change in our pet’s health is a common concern for any dog parent but luckily, not everything should be a cause for alarm. Here are a few signs that indicate the need for medical attention:
- Sunken eyes or severe dehydration
- Having a dry side on your dog’s nose
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of the “cobblestone” appearance their nose usually have
- Bleeding, peeling, or crusting of your dog’s nose
- Reverse sneezing or excessive sneezing
- Change in the color of their nose that isn’t the typical seasonal variation
Keep in mind that Labrador Retrievers will usually have a seasonal variation in their nose color. But if there’s a color change that’s more unusual than normal in your dog’s nose, be sure to speak to your vet.
What Can I Do for a Dry Nose?
In a lot of cases, you won’t even need to treat your puppy’s dry nose, especially if none of the signs above are present. If you want to treat a dry nose from the comfort of your home, you may apply a nose balm such as Dermoscent BIO BALM which is a great option to get a boost in hydration. You can also try getting your hands on vitamin E capsules and rubbing them around the nose.
Performing a dry nose treatment using the products mentioned can help to improve the suppleness and hydration of your dog’s nose when used regularly. However, take care not to obstruct your pooch’s nostrils while you apply a balm to avoid irritation and other health issues. A good thing is that if your vet determines that your dog has a breed-related issue or hyperkeratosis, it will often just be a cosmetic issue.
Just remember that this skin condition may lead to bleeding and fissures, so be sure to try and remedy it by softening and removing excess crusty skin.
The Answer to Why is Your Puppy’s Nose Dry
Now you know that a puppy’s nose isn’t the same as human noses, you’ll now be able to determine when your dog’s health might be compromised. Be sure to assess the situation first before jumping to any conclusions. In severe cases, you may see symptoms such as bleeding, cracking, or even a decline in your dog’s sense of smell.
Once you pinpoint the reason behind your dog’s condition, you may try to remedy the problem yourself using balms and oils, or by offering your pup a large drink of water. Alternatively, you may also contact your vet when you want a more comprehensive diagnosis of your dog’s condition. Your dog’s nose is one of the best things it has to offer, so be sure to take care of it by keeping your pup hydrated and eliminating any underlying cause behind a dry nose with the help of your vet.