Dry Dog Noses

Dry Dog Noses

Your dog usually has a cool, wet nose. If you notice that your dog’s nose is dry and warm to the touch, this can be a worry. Does a dry nose mean your dog is sick?

A dog’s nose will naturally change from cool and wet to warm and dry several times during the day. In most case, a dry nose is completely normal. There are some cases why you should be concerned though.

Why is a dog’s nose wet?

There are two reasons that your dog has a naturally wet nose:

  • A thin layer of mucus on the nose of the dog helps them to smell. A dog’s superior sense of sell is in part due to this mist layer, which absorbs and holds scents. You might notice your dog licking their nose, which is a way to ‘taste’ the smell, giving them more information about what it is.
  • A dog’s nose is one of the few areas that a dog can use to cool down. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have sweat glands. Instead, dogs ‘sweat’ from the pads of their feet and their noses.

Should I be concerned about my dog’s dry nose?

In most cases, a dog with a dry nose is nothing to be worried about. Some dogs naturally have drier noises than others. A dry nose could just mean that the dog has recently woken up from a nap in the sun or near a heater. It could mean your dog needs a drink.

Sometimes a dry nose can be a side-effect of a medical issue.

  • If your dog’s nose is dry, red, or has flaking skin, this could be a sunburn. Ask your vet for a lotion to protect your dog from the sun. Dogs who have pale or pink noses are more likely to get sunburnt. It’s important to protect their noses, as repeated burns can lead to skin cancer, just like humans.
  • Skin disorder. If your dog’s nose also looks cracked or has scabs or sores on it, the dog may be suffering from a skin disorder. Take the dog to the vet, who can tell you if this is the case.
  • Severe dehydration. A dry nose is likely to be just one of the symptoms of a dog with severe dehydration. Other symptoms of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry gums, a loss of skin elasticity, and weakness. If you notice these symptoms, immediately direct your dog to water and get medical attention if you think the dehydration is severe.
  • Odd coloured mucus. When you are checking your dog’s nose, look for any nasal discharge. If your dog’s nose runs, the mucus ought to be clear. If the mucus is bubbly, thick, yellow, green, or black, you should see your vet.

A dog with a dry nose is usually nothing to worry about, but if you notice the symptoms above or any changes in their behaviour, such as lethargy, poor appetite, or vomiting, then a visit to the vet is in order.

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