When a dog has a dry nose

Many people believe that a dog’s nose should always be wet and cold. However, there is no need to worry: if a dog has a dry nose for a while, this does not necessarily mean that it is ill. Here you can find out how a dog’s nose works and what the reasons are for a dry nose in dogs.

How does a dog’s nose work?

The nose is a dog’s primary sensory organ. Whereas we mainly explore our environment with our eyes, dogs use their noses to sniff it out. This vital organ provides a dog with a wealth of information.  The various smells enable dogs to determine, for example, who has been walking in a field in the last few hours, whether a female dog is on heat, whether a particular dog is afraid and where a human has gone. A dog’s sense of smell depends on the condition of its nasal cavity. A liquid is produced in its nose to ensure that the dog can smell well. There are, however, situations in which the dog’s nose is dry.

5 reasons for a dog having a dry nose

1. Dry air

This is something that we have all experienced ourselves: When the air is dry, our lips may also feel dry. It is similar with a dog’s nose: if the air in a room is particularly dry, its nose can often become dry as well. The same can happen if the humidity outside is too low. We are unable to influence this. At home, however, we can remedy the situation by using a humidifier. Regular airing is also recommended.

2. After sleeping

Here, too, we can make a comparison with ourselves: After waking up, you first have to moisten your lips by running your tongue over them. It is the same for dogs. They do not lick their noses when they are asleep, which is why the outside of the nose tends to dry out. But there is no cause for concern. It can easily take five to ten minutes until it becomes moist again after the dog has woken up.

3. Heat & sunburn

Dogs are only able to sweat to a limited extent. They are best able to regulate their body temperature by panting. This does, however, cause a loss of moisture, which can quickly lead to a dry nose. On hot days, it is therefore not uncommon for a dog to have a dry nose. However, it is important to protect your dog’s nose when it is most sunny, because even dogs can suffer from sunburnt noses. The skin will then not only be dry, but also hot and reddened. It can even start to peel after a few days. Dogs should therefore stay in the shade as much as possible on hot days. There is also special sun cream for dogs. In addition, it is important to make sure that the dog always has enough water to drink.  

4. Dehydration

A lack of fluid can result from a number of different situations. The nose of a lively, high-spirited dog that has just finished a strenuous activity may feel drier than usual. Dehydration can also occur if you forget to fill up your dog’s water bowl or if you do not take a water bottle with you for longer outdoor activities. Also, remember to give your dog water regularly during search and sniff games, because intensive breathing can dry out your pet’s nose more quickly.


5. Illnesses

Usually, there is a relatively simple explanation for your dog’s dry nose and the situation is either harmless or would have been easy to avoid. Sometimes, however, a dry nose can also be a sign of an illness. Pay close attention to your dog’s general condition. If it is not eating, has a temperature or is in pain, or even seems exhausted, it is advisable to take your dog to the vet. It may turn out that your dog has, for example, an infection or an allergy that can sometimes result in a dry nose. It is also possible that your dog has a skin disease that affects, among other things, its nose.

To summarise

We usually do not even notice that our dogs occasionally have dry noses. It is a common occurrence and is not normally a cause for alarm. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that your dog has water readily available at all times. Should you notice any other symptoms besides a dry nose, you should consult a vet.

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