We’re all used to that moist, cool doggy nose that nuzzles our hand for a treat. But when his nose feels dry and warm that can seem quite unusual. And you may wonder “why is my dog’s nose dry?’. Here we look at what is normal for a dog’s nose, and why his nose might be dry.

What is normal for a dog’s nose?

A dog’s nose is naturally moist for good reason. This thin layer of mucus, or dampness, helps with his incredible sense of smell. This damp surface holds and absorbs scents and particles better. You will see dogs licking their noses to keep them clean and moist for this reason.

A dog’s wet nose also helps to regulate his body temperature. Dog’s don’t have sweat glands like humans. They have a completely different system to dissipate heat. They pant, and use their noses and paws to sweat. This helps to explain why it’s normal for a dog’s nose to be damp.

A dry dog nose, what does it mean?

Even though it is normal for a dog’s nose to be wet, it is not unusual for a dog’s nose to be dry at certain times. 

Just woken: some dogs do a lot of licking to keep their nose moist. After he has woken, his nose might be dry as he will not have been able to lick it whilst he’s been asleep.

After exercise: if your dog has had a particularly energetic period of exercise with no water, his nose may feel drier and warmer than usual. He may be slightly dehydrated and just need some water.

Exposure to elements: If it’s a hot sunny day, or a winters day indoors with the heating on, you could find your dog has a dry nose. Dry, warm environments can make your dog’s nose drier than normal. Make sure he always has access to plenty of water.

Age: Your dog may have a drier nose because he is in his later years. This becomes more common as dogs age.

Brachycephalic breeds: these dogs, like Pugs and Bulldogs, are prone to dry noses. As they have short snouts, they often have difficulty licking their noses. You may have to apply moisturizer to keep it moist.

Is my dog unwell?

In most cases, your dog will not be unwell because he has a dry nose. It will most always be for one of the above reasons. However, there are some health issues that can be linked to a dry nose.

Severe dehydration: alongside excessive panting, sunken eyes, lethargy and even vomiting, a dry nose can be a symptom of severe dehydration. If you suspect this, you should contact your vet immediately.

Sunburn: breeds with pink or pale noses can be susceptible to sunburn. If their nose becomes dry, but also warm and visibly reddened after time out in the sun, this may be the cause. Pet safe sunblocks are available to prevent this.

Skin Disorder/Allergy; your dog may have an allergy to something. Or it could be that your dog’s nose is being irritated by something. Some dogs are known to get a dry nose from plastic food or water bowls. This can easily be resolved by using ceramic or stainless steel bowls.

As you will see, more often than not, if your dog has a dry nose, there is nothing to worry about. If you are still unsure, always seek advice from your vet.

If you have found this blog useful, check out our other blogs for more doggy news and advice.