Should You Worry if Your Dog’s Nose is Dry?
You’ve probably heard the myth that a healthy dog’s nose should be cold and wet, but did you know that this isn’t necessarily true? While a cold, wet nose does typically mean a dog is healthy, a dry or warm nose doesn’t mean there’s a problem every time.
Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most common causes of dry nose in dogs. You can use this guide to determine when you should be concerned about this symptom and when it may be nothing to worry about. Read on to find out more.
Mild Causes of Dry Nose in Dogs
A mild dry nose in dogs can be a common occurrence and is usually not a cause for concern, but it’s important to monitor it as it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health issue.
Winter weather can cause a dog’s nose to dry out, just like it causes your hands to dry out. If you have a dry, cold winter climate where you live, or if you’ve been running the heater in your home a lot lately, this could easily be the cause of your dog’s dry nose. Canine nose balm may be helpful for this issue.
As dogs get older, they naturally develop a drier nose than they had as a young dog. Aging is a perfectly normal cause of dry nose in dogs, but if you’re worried about this symptom in your older pet, you can always talk to your vet for more information.
Any dog who has recently been deeply asleep is likely to have a warm, dry nose for a little while. This is also very normal and will resolve itself within a couple of hours after your dog wakes up again.
Allergies can contribute to a dry nose in some dogs. While some dogs’ allergies may cause a runny nose instead, others may experience dryness of the nose along with red, dry eyes. Some canine allergies may need to be medicated, but many can simply run their course naturally until your dog feels better.
Moderate Causes of Dry Nose in Dogs
If a dog’s nose is moderately dry and shows other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or fever, it’s best to consult a veterinarian as it may indicate a health problem that needs attention.
Any type of dog with a “smashed” face is known as a brachycephalic dog. These dogs have a wide variety of breathing difficulties and respiratory health problems, including frequent dry noses. You should always work closely with your vet to provide proper health care for a dog with this type of face.
Sunburn or windburn
Exposure to the sun or to high levels of cold, dry wind may cause sunburn or windburn on your dog’s nose. While these problems will typically resolve themselves in a few days, your dog may be uncomfortable during this time and could need medical attention for severe sunburn or windburn.
Bacterial or viral respiratory infections can cause nose dryness in some dogs. Like allergies, these underlying problems may cause a severe runny nose in some dogs and a dry nose in others. If your dog has a respiratory infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics, steroids, or other medication to help her recover quickly.
Severe Causes of Dry Nose in Dogs
Severe dryness or cracking of a dog’s nose can be a sign of a health problem and should be evaluated by a veterinarian, as it may be indicative of a condition such as dehydration or an autoimmune disorder.
While some levels of dehydration may be mild and can easily be resolved by giving your dog enough water to drink on a hot day, moderate to severe dehydration should be treated by a vet. An excessively dry and cracked nose may be a sign of severe dehydration.
Some dogs who have difficulty breathing may experience a dry nose. If your dog’s sides are heaving significantly when she breathes or if she is wheezing in an attempt to take in a full breath, go to the emergency vet to figure out what’s causing this problem.
Some types of autoimmune disorders may cause nose dryness in dogs. Although this is not a very common cause of dry nose for dogs, it can be a contributing factor, so it’s important to work with your vet if you suspect your dog could have an autoimmune issue.
Finally, some dogs may have a dry and cracked nose as a result of unmanaged diabetes.
As you can see, there are a wide range of potential health problems that can contribute to a dry nose in your dog. Although most of the underlying causes of dry nose in dogs are nothing to worry about, there are a few that may be concerning. For this reason, it is always important to take your dog to the vet to be checked out if you notice a dry nose that lasts longer than a few days or doesn’t have an obvious explanation.
Your vet can run tests to determine what’s going on with your dog, and can also let you know if you should be worried about future dry noses in your pet. With the help of quality vet care, you can be well on your way to taking care of underlying causes of dry nose in your dog, and you can rest assured that your pet is getting the right treatment for her issues, too.
About Brown Veterinary Hospital
We are here to serve as your partner in keeping your four-legged family member healthy, ensuring you have all the tools you need to provide them with a lifetime of outstanding care. Our animal hospital in Terre Haute offers a full range of services to nurture and extend your pet’s life, from wellness and preventative care to critical care, exotic pet care, and dermatology.