Last week we talked about your dog’s cracked paws. So this week it’s also important for our dog’s noses, since a dog's nose can become dry and cracked.
We humans love everything about dog noses, snouts, or snoots. We rely on the superpowers of our best friends to guide search and rescue efforts, to find lost animals and to detect disease earlier and more accurately than modern diagnostics.
When they're not hard at work, we playfully, lovingly booping them as long as they'll let us.
Have you ever wondered how a dog can catch even the faintest of scents? Do issues like a dry dog's nose affect your dog’s ability to smell?
It turns out getting the sniff right can be difficult if your pup develops a dry dog nose.
Why Is A Dog's Nose Wet?
Did you ever wonder why a dog’s nose is wet? It's not because their paws are sweaty or they have allergies, it's just that dogs are constantly sniffing everything out of their environment.
A dog's nose is filled with mucous membranes that keep it moist, and the mucous membranes produce a liquid that helps filter air before entering the nose.
Dog noses love moisture. The nose has a mucous layer that captures scents, enhancing the ability to smell. Your pup will clean their nose from time to time, transferring the scent to their mouth.
Dogs have olfactory glands on the roof of their mouth, sense the scent from their noses. These glands signal your dog’s brain so they can smell things.
A dog's nose seems to be wet all the time because they keep licking it. Licking the nose, helps keep it clean.
Dogs may also try to cool off by “sweating” through the nose. As the saliva evaporates, it cools the nasal surface and the blood circulating through it. Blood then circulates throughout the dog's body, cooling it.
Your dog's nose being wet is a good thing, right? When you boop your pup or they nuzzle you, they transferred their scent to you.
Keeping your pup's nose moist helps them be able to smell and interpret your scent, so you're strengthening your relationship.
Fun pup fact: Your pup sweats through their paws, but not through the rest of their body.
Is a Dog's Dry Nose a Bad Thing?
No, not necessarily. A dog’s nose typically fluctuates between wet and dry. It is normal for your dog's nose to get warm and dry for a while.
So, what makes your dog's nose dry? Some reasons behind dry dog noses include:
- Weather - heat or cold weather
- Low Humidity from indoor dryness
- Breed Traits
What Causes a Dry Nose in Dogs?
Dog's Not Licking Their Noses
When your dog stops licking his nose, it may go dry. This usually happens when a dog is sleeping.
As the dog snoozes, the nose feels warm and dry, but gets wet again when the pup wakes up. If it's just this, the dryness will disappear by itself.
Dog Breeds with Dry Noses
Dogs with flat faces have trouble reaching their noses with their tongues. Such dogs include Pugs, Shih Tzus, Brussels Griffons, Chihuahuas, and Miniature Bulldogs.
In large breeds, English Mastiffs and Boxers' flat faces make them prone to dry and crusty noses.
Besides having crusty noses, brachycephalic toy breeds like a pug have breathing problems because of their small noses.
Breeds with small noses also have a reduced sense of smell because of the smaller surface area, and a smaller number of scent receptors.
Did You Know? Dogs with flat faces were originally bred as companions or for show because their sense of smell wasn't up to hunting.
How Weather Affects your Dog's Nose
Your dog's nose is going to sweat a lot in the heat to keep them cool. If the heat becomes too much, the nose may even dry up. Once the dog finds a shady spot or comes inside and can cool off, his nose will become moist again.
Both dry and cold weather can cause a crusty and dry dog nose. This usually isn't a big deal unless the temperatures and weather are extreme and the exposures are long term.
During the winter, your dog may camp out in front of a fireplace or heater to keep the chills off. There's a chance your dog's nose will dry out from the heat of the fireplace or heater.
To avoid weather and air-related causes of nose dryness, make sure your dog's room is humid enough to moisten and soothe their snout when indoors and use a good nose balm.
Your Dog's Age
It's a sure sign that your pup is getting old when their nose is always dry. When this happens, you'll need to keep your pup's nose moist.
There are plenty of ways to do that, by making your own homemade doggy nose balm or purchasing a good nose balm to help your dog’s nose stay moist.
Congenital Deformities in Dog's
Dogs with deformities like a cleft palate are more prone to dry dog noses.
Congenital deformities can often be corrected while the dog is still a puppy, and dryness caused by other forms can usually be managed by applying topical products to a dry or crusty nose.
When you Should Worry about a Dog’s Dry Nose?
A temporary dry nose in a dog is usually nothing to worry about, but a skin condition, allergy or a disease can cause excessive dryness.
An itchy, crusty, or flaking nose usually involves other symptoms such as:
- Sneezing frequently
- A runny nose
- Reverse sneezing
- Loss of apetite
- If your dog has a hard time breathing because of a stuffy nose
All these symptoms are signs of trouble and need to be checked out by a veterinarian.
Your pup may not only have a dry dog nose but also be battling an underlying disease.
Conditions a Dry Dog's Nose can Cause
- Ticks and fleas
- Nasal Hyperkeratosis
- Demodex manage
- Tooth abscesses
- Malignant growth
Ticks and Fleas on Dog's
Ticks and fleas normally affect your dog’s coat. They like to hide in the hairs while they feed’s blood.
A severe tick infestation can even cause a crusty, dry dog nose, complete loss of appetite, and hair loss.
Nasal Hyperkeratosis in Dog's
One of the leading causes of dry nose in dogs is nasal hyperkeratosis when too much keratin is produced. It leads to the nasal tissues hardening and cracking, making a puppy more prone to secondary skin infections.
Keratin is a protein found in hair, nails, and other body parts. Dog nose hyperkeratosis is more common in some breeds than others, especially flat-faced or brachycephalic breeds, but any dog can develop it.
When hyperkeratosis is present, the dog nose may appear cracked and hard, but it is important to remember that this “crust” comprises overgrown skin cells, not mucous or skin cells, and it should NOT be picked off.
Picking it off can make your dog bleed and lead to infection. Soothe and keep your pup's nose moist with dog nose balm that contains organic, all-natural and clean ingredients to help relieve nasal hyperkeratosis.
Demodex Mange on Dog's Skin
Mange is a parasitic infection that often affects your dog’s coat. Hair loss and skin inflammation are caused by tiny mites infesting your dog’s coat. Mange starts on one part of the dog's coat and spreads to the rest.
Besides causing rapid hair loss, these mites can also cause dryness on bare skin like the paws and nose. A severe case of mange, also known as sarcoptic mange or scabies, makes the nose itch and flake a lot.
Parvo in Puppies and Dog's
Parvo is more of an internal thing than a topical thing. Parvo is a gastro-intestinal problem caused by a virus. Puppies and young dogs are at higher risk of getting parvovirus than older adult dogs.
Parvo can cause severe dehydration in dogs. If this happens, the skin and the nose of your pup will dry up and flake. Leaving it untreated will gradually make your dog's health deteriorate to the point of death.
Tooth Abscess in Older Dog's
Dental problems in dogs can cause a dry dog nose. One of those is an abscess, which causes severe pain to your pup. This pain is noticeable in the jaw and ears. The mouth feels warm and soft because of swelling.
An abscessed tooth will put the dog's temperature out of whack. The puppy will also have a fever and a dry dog nose.
Malignant Growth's on Dog's Skin
A lot of dry dog noses are caused by skin cell tumors. Some tumors are benign, while others need to be removed surgically.
How to Treat a Dry Dog Nose?
If you know what the underlying condition is, you can treat a dry dog nose. Take your dog to a trained vet to diagnose the problem.
After you rule out any serious causes or treat any underlying diseases appropriately, you can deal with dryness of the nose with a high-quality nose balm made with organic, all-natural, and clean ingredients.
If your dog gets nose dryness, the following tips may help. An extremely dry nose that's crusty, flaky, or has sores would need a doctor's diagnosis first.
Step-by-step Tips on Taking Care of your Dog's Dry Nose
Keep Track of When their Nose is Dry
When does your pup's snout get dry? Is it when they get the chills in the winter or when they go out in the summer? Does their nose only dry out when they sleep, or is it just too short for their tongue?
A dry nose in your dog could be a sign they're dehydrated. Dehydration in dogs includes:
- Panting excessively,
- Your dog feeling weak
- Sunken in eyes that are dry
- Extreme laziness
- Pale gums (normal color of gums is a pink color)
Giving your dog water usually solves the problem. You could also offer hydrating foods like watermelon and cantaloupe. These sweet, refreshing fruits are 90% water.
Identify Possible Dog Allergens in your Home
Sometimes an allergen lurking in your home can cause a dry dog nose. Dust, pollen, and mold are common environmental allergies.
Dogs can get allergies too, just like humans. Fleas and mites also fall into the category of allergen.
If your pup's sneezing and pawing at his nose a lot, he is probably allergic to something that's in his immediate environment.
The constant pawing of the nose makes it dry. Identify and get rid of anything your dog is allergic to.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associate or other programs we take part in). As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Use a Soothing Toxin-free Dog Nose Butter
Keeping your dog's nose moist prevents cracking and drying. Many dog owners use pet-friendly lotions on their noses. The lotions might work for a while, but without a wax base, they don't keep the nasal passages moist for long. Wax is a natural barrier that seals moisture in and keeps irritants out.
Keeping your dog’s nose moist for extended periods is easy with a dog nose balm. Choose dog-friendly products like a natural dog nose balm or make your own homemade dog nose balm for moisturizing, nourishing, and healing your dog's dry, cracked nose.
Don't use ingredients with questionable safety in dogs or ingredients that have no proven health benefits. The ingredients of a product you use on your pup should work together to help keep it happy, healthy, and safe.
Coconut oil is used for flea and tick prevention. Beeswax and coconut oil in the organic version also fight diseases like demodex mange and sarcoptic mange. Coconut oil is a natural remedy for hotspots, itchiness, and inflammation in your dog’s nose.
Using a homemade dog nose balm is an awesome nose balm made with coconut oil, Olive oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E oil, combined these ingredients work to soothe and moisturize your dog’s snout.
As your dog ages, help keep their nose moist. A homemade nose balm or a purchased nose balm used as a daily nose balm can help your dog's ability to smell last a longer time and more effectively by reducing moisture loss.
Dry Dog Nose Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use petroleum jelly on my dry dog nose?
No, using petroleum jelly on your dog’s dry nose can cause vomiting and diarrhea from your dog licking the petroleum jelly off its nose.
Petrolatum-derived ingredients like mineral oils and paraffin wax have been found to accumulate in dogs.
Petroleum jelly hinders nasal perspiration because of its viscosity.
2. Why does my dog’s nose dry out when sleeping?
If your dog sleeps next to a heater or fireplace for too long, their nose could end up looking dry and cracked. But don't worry, licking their snouts will fix all their problems when they wake up.
3. What can I put on my dog's nose to make their dry nose better?
Using homemade dog nose balm or purchase a dog balm over the counter like the Blissful Dog Nose Butter is a vet-approved option that will soothe your dog’s dry nose.
4. Does a dry nose on a dog mean that's they are sick?
Short-term nose dryness is normal in dogs. Put a thin layer of dog nose balm on the nose to keep it moist. If other, more serious symptoms accompany your dog's dry nose, get in touch with your vet right away.
5. Should I put sunscreen on my dog?
The best way to prevent your dog from getting sunburned is to keep it inside when the sun is at its peak, between 10am and 3pm.
That said, if you work during that time, your pet may have to spend some time outdoors while your away and sunscreen may be necessary for your dog.
Put sunscreen on your pet 30 minutes before leaving the house. Dogs can also get sunburned and get skin cancer, so make sure they stay out of direct sun when possible.
If long sun exposure is inevitable, a good sunscreen applied to the nose and skin is probably a good idea.
How to Make Homemade DIY Dog Nose Butter
This soothing salve soothes a dry, crusty dog's nose. It only takes about 10 minutes to make.
You can also apply this balm to both your dog’s nose and paws at night, this absorbs into the affected areas.
Your furbaby’s healthy paws & nose will thank you!
(Printable Full Recipe Below)
- Microwave safe Mixing Bowl
- Storage Container
Step 1: In a microwave-safe dish, add wax and heat in 20-second intervals until fully melted. Stir in between heating the mixture.
Step 2: Add everything else to wax and mix well. You may need to reheat as you want it to be a liquid and fully mixed.
Step 3: Pour mixture into a container and allow to cool before using. It will be firm when cooled. If you want more of a whipped texture like in the picture. Scrap with a spoon or knife to soften it up and place it back in the container.
Tips on how to use a Dog’s Nose Butter
Apply to the nose after every bath, or while grooming your dog.
Try putting some nose butter on before going out in the snow or sunny weather.
Nose Butter helps soothe dry noses such as those of Pugs, Shih Tzus, Brussels Griffons, Chihuahuas, Miniature Bulldogs, Mastiffs, and Boxers.
Nose Balm is also good for cracked dog paws.
If your dog doesn't get any better after applying nose balm, keep an eye out for other symptoms and make a note to talk to your vet about. Red flags include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and dry eyes.,
If your dog has any trouble besides a dry snout, contact a professional vet.
In the dog world, a wet nose is a sign of health and happiness. If your pup gets dry noses occasionally, a little TLC with a nose balm should fix the problem. If you suspect your dog's dry nose is a sign of an underlying condition or illness, consult your veterinarian.
Printable DIY Dog Nose Butter
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- 18 grams Shea Butter
- In a microwave-safe dish add wax and heat in 20-second intervals until fully melted. Stir in between heatings.
- Add everything else to wax and mix well. You may need to reheat as you want it to be a liquid and fully mixed.
- Pour mixture into a container and allow to cool before using. It will be firm when cooled. If you want more of a whipped texture like in the picture. Scrap with a spoon or knife to soften it up and place it back in the container.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 532Total Fat: 60gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 116mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
House that Barks does not provide a warranty, express, or implied in relation to any recipes on this website. The recipes are House that Barks personal experiences in making them and feeding to their dogs. Please make note that your dogs may have allergies or other conditions that may make these recipes unsuitable for them or their lifestyle. Please consult with your veterinarian. Use your own judgement when feeding these recipes to your dog. House that Barks is not liable for any upset stomachs or any other outcomes because of experimenting with our recipes on this site.