Dry Nose in Dogs

For many dog owners, there’s no better way to start the day than with the kiss of a cold nose on their face. While it’s a common belief that a wet nose indicates a healthy dog, and if the dog nose is dry, it means he is ill, this is not always the case. In fact, the natural dampness of your dog’s nose is due to a layer of mucus that aids in smell and temperature regulation. It can vary from dog to dog and often changes throughout the day.

If you notice that your dog’s nose is dryer than normal, there’s no need for alarm—most of the potential culprits are not cause for concern. Seasonal temperature changes, windburn, sunburn, allergic reactions and medications, such as phenobarb and potassium bromide (commonly used to treat canine epilepsy), often contribute to dry nose symptoms.

Treatment of dry nose is quite simple. If the symptoms are mild, you can apply petroleum jelly or aloe gel to sooth the chapped skin. Products like Snout Soother and Snoutstik are also excellent options. Both contain soothing, all-natural ingredients, protective sunscreen, and are formulated specifically for dogs. Application of any of these products should prevent your dog’s dry nose symptoms from worsening. When a nose becomes excessively dry, the skin may crack. This can lead to wounds and infection.

If your dog’s nose is blistered, scabbed, peeling and bleeding, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Dark spots or white patches on the nose may also indicate a more serious health issue such as bacterial infection, fungal infection or skin cancer.

Once your dog’s nose is back to normal, you can prevent the recurrence of unusual dryness by practicing the following:

1. Replace plastic dog bowls. Use stainless steel or ceramic vessels instead. Chemicals in plastic can cause allergic reactions in some dogs.
2. Apply sunscreen. Your dog’s nose can burn in the sun just as yours can—becoming dry and painful. KEYS Solar RX Moisturizing Sunblock is a nontoxic, all natural zinc-oxide sunblock that is safe for pets. Snout Soother, mentioned earlier, also contains sunscreen.
3. Encourage hydration. If your dog doesn’t drink enough water, he’ll become dehydrated—and his nose will dry. Provide fresh, clean water at all times.

While most cases of dry dog nose are nothing to worry about, when in doubt, consult your veterinarian. An unusually dry nose that lasts for weeks or is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, appetite changes, vomiting or diarrhea may indicate a serious health problem.

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