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Health & Wellness

Why is my dog's nose dry?

So you’ve noticed that something’s different about their boops

You're nuzzling your dog's snout when you notice their usually wet, cold nose is a bit dry. You may wonder: Could this be a sign that they're feeling under the weather? 

The reason for your dog's dry nose is most likely harmless. Only on rare occasions should it be a cause for concern. 

Dr. Georgina Ushi Phillips, DVM, a veterinarian at Pet Urgent Care of Wesley Chapel, Florida, has the full scoop — below, she is sharing tips for determining if your pet's dry nose needs a little extra care. 

What does it mean when a dog's nose is dry? 

If your dog wakes up from a nap or night's sleep with a dry nose, it could be because they were licking their nose while sleeping — this is a very common cause of dry nose in pups and is not usually a reason for concern.

Dehydration (or loss of water and electrolytes in the body) can cause a dog's nose to dry up, too. Other signs of dehydration include loss of appetite, decreased energy levels, sunken eyes and dry gums.

When assessing if your dog's dry nose might be a sign of a more serious problem, it's important to assess your pup's overall health and look for any other symptoms or behavioral changes.  

In some instances, if your dog's nose is warm and dry, it can be a sign of a fever. According to Dr. Ushi Phillips, dogs are naturally warmer than humans, averaging between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pet has a fever (especially if they're also showing signs of lethargy or a decreased interest in food), then it's best to see your vet for treatment.  

A cracked and dry nose can be a sign of sunburn. Other symptoms of sunburn to look for include red skin, blistering or behavior changes signifying your pup is in pain when they're touched. These usually develop about an hour after exposure. Call your vet if you are concerned about your pet's health.

Hyperkeratosis on the nose is a condition where skin cells overgrow and thicken. While the cause is unknown, certain breeds, like pugs, are more prone to it. The condition is usually harmless but still worth mentioning to your vet. 

In very rare cases, a dog's dry nose can be a sign of an autoimmune disease, so it's important to keep an eye out for other symptoms or behavior changes. If you do see other changes in behavior, like a reluctance to walk, limping or lethargy, make sure to consult your veterinarian.

Treatment options for dogs with a dry nose

While Dr. Ushi Phillips advises that a dry nose typically doesn't require at-home or professional treatment, if you believe your dog has a dry nose due to dehydration, it's critical to get your pet water and a cool place to rest. (Any time you are concerned about your pet's health, it's always smart to call your vet.)

When the weather is dry and cold or hot and dry, the moisture on a dog's nose can evaporate, causing it to dry out. If your pet has a dry and cracked nose due to weather changes or a sunburn, you can treat your pup's nose with a soothing balm — your vet will be able to recommend a brand best for your dog.

Anytime your pup starts showing other signs of illness along with having a dry nose – like behavior changes or loss of appetite – make an appointment with your vet for a professional assessment right away. 

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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