Why Do Dogs Noses Get Dry | What Can I Do

Dogs, just like people can have dry, cracking skin, and scabs. When our dogs nose is dry and cracked, is it an immediate issue we need to be concerned about?  Many people believe that if a dog has a dry nose that something is seriously wrong with their dog.  I am here to tell you what it could mean.  Why do dogs noses get dry?  Is this something that just happens, or are there actual reasons for that flaky, crusty nose.

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Dogs noses have a job

Our dogs use their nose for many vital things like breathing.   Most of us know that a dogs nose is also used to eliminate sweat and to cool them down.  This is because their noses are where their sweat glands are located.

One thing most of you probably don’t know is that a dogs nose is where they drain any excess tears away through tear ducts in the nose.

This scent is transferred through the olfactory glands that are located in the roof of their mouth.  I had mentioned this same set of glands in my post “Can Dogs Sense Illness.”  That post breaks down the role of the olfactory glands in a dogs nose in more detail.

What’s funny, is that if you watch your dog when you are out in the yard or out for a walk, you will notice that your dog will lean down to sniff something and not 2 seconds later they lick their nose.  That one lick sends all that information to your dog, so they know what other dogs or critters may have left behind.

why do dogs noses get dry - nose balm screenshots

Common reasons for a dry nose

Anyone that lives in an area that gets cold winters, knows how dry it can get. Living on the prairies, winters can be extremely hard on our skin, feet, hands, and even our sinuses.

The cold crisp air is the real culprit, for causing the air to be so dry.  Running our furnaces to heat our homes whether it is natural gas, or electric heat, also causes your home to have very dry air and even stat icy.

It is not unusual for us to get cracked feet, dry hands and chapped lips.  When it comes to our animals, this dry air can also have the same effects on them.   Their paws may crack, they made have dry skin, or a dry scaly nose.


There is another reason your dog may have a dry nose.  If you notice it first thing in the morning, it can because your dog sleeping in a room with dry air and simply just not licking their nose throughout the night.   I know even for myself, especially in the winter, I wake up with chapped lips, just from the furnace running all night and it causing the air to be so darn dry.

Some breeds of dogs have short snouts, like a bulldog or pug.  These dogs just have a much harder time of licking their nose as often as dog breeds that have longer snouts.

dog balm why do dogs noses get dry

Some dogs can get a dry nose from being dehydrated.  A dog can get dehydrated  sometimes if they have gone on a long walks or played fetch for a long time, especially in the summer heat.

Heat from the sun can also burn your dogs nose, like a sunburn on their nose.  We tend to forget, that the sun can also cause our dogs to get sun burnt.  Always remember that the sun is just as hot for them as it is for us.

One of the more common reasons for your dogs dry nose, maybe an allergy.  Your dog could be allergic to things like pollen, mold, certain scents you may have in your home. Be on the look out for sudden changes to your dog.

Why Do Dogs Noses Get Dry - Nose Balm Screenshot

Diseases and conditions

There are many common reasons for your dogs nose to be dry, but there are also some serious ones, that we need to be aware of.

Unfortunately your dogs dry nose, can be caused by something serious.   Now more times than not, it is just a common reason, but let’s not rule out a real medical reason for your dogs nose to be dry.

One of the most common diseases that can cause dry nose in your dog is an auto-immune disease.  Some examples of these diseases could be

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA)
  • Autoimmune diseases of the skin
  • Cushing’s Disease

I am familiar with one of these diseases personally.   My dog Finnegan is a Labradoodle and he has Addison’s disease.   We can definitely relate to this disease and how it causes his nose to be very dry.

The ironic thing about Finn is that he takes prednisone every 2 days because of his Addison’s. Well predisone, is also know to cause excessive thirst.  What does this mean then.  Well Finn is constantly drinking water and him having his nose in the water dish all the time causes his nose to be dry.

The poor guys nose, doesn’t have a chance either way.  His could be from the disease itself, the medication, or dehydration.  It makes it really tough to determine what the real cause is in his case.  Honestly the bottom line is his nose does get dry.


What can we do

When we have dry skin or chapped lips, we use a cream, lotion or ointment to help conquer our issues. There are very similar products for dogs, that will help relieve the dry scaly nose.

First off you can first try using a home remedy like:

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Almond Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Cocoa Seed Butter

Remember that you want to make sure just to use a small amount of any of these oils at one time.   Your dog is obviously going to lick off the oil, so try really rubbing it in before he gets a chance to lick it all away.  You may have to apply it more often, to compensate for some getting licked away.

Now if you don’t want to try any of these home oils, you can choose from lots of different products that are true dog   balms made for dry paws, noses, and elbows.

These products are made specifically for dogs.   The ingredients in most topical balms should be all natural and safe, so that if your pet licks it off the area you have applied it too they will be fine ingesting it.

You can get these balms or waxes in a few different ways like: stick shape, moisturizer tin, or lotion.  Deciding which style of wax or balm is good for you, will depend somewhat on your dog.   You may buy one and your dog may hate the taste, so you may have to try a few products to get the right one for you both.

Why Do Dogs Noses Get Dry - Roll ON Balm
Why do dogs noses get dry cta

The nose

Anytime there is a change in your dogs eyes, ears, mouth etc. it is always a good idea to check with a Vet, just to rule out that there is something major wrong with your dog.

The one thing I find with Veterinarian, is that they don’t always think outside the box.  Now I have 2 dogs, with 2 different auto-immune diseases, so we have our own Vet.  Both diseases have their own challenges and issues that arise.  In talking to my Vet they don’t always have all the answers either.

Trying things that are natural and made with real ingredients is things that we need to try on our own.


When I bring up an idea of something I have seen, like with Boo for example, we purchased an Adrenal Gland Support all natural product online and he said let me know if you get any results.  For us we wanted to try it and we did get some improved results for Boo.

This is just my example as to how we did our own research and read reviews to see what product we could try from over the counter.

Just think about yourself, and all the options of vitamins and all natural products that we try, just to see if it will help us with an issue.  The same applies for your dogs needs.

When it comes to why does my dogs nose get dry, their are few different scenarios as to the reason why.  I hope I have given you some interesting facts and answers, as to your dogs dry nose.


6 thoughts on “Why Do Dogs Noses Get Dry | What Can I Do”

  1. Thank you very much for explaining about dogs’ dry nose. My cousin pups’ nose recently has been dried out, although we live in tropical country. Based on your article, I think it’s possible that the pups play in the outside too much (it’s dry season in our country). I will tell him to hold playing outside a bit and see if the dry nose can be reduced. If not, we will check for some dog balm products. Thanks

    • Hello Alblue,

      Thanks for sharing your story about your cousins dog. I think you maybe right about his nose getting dry from being outside in the dry air.  Will be interesting to see if keeping him inside more helps.  

      The bad thing about the dry nose is it can affect their noses abilities to smell like normal. If he doesn’t see results getting a small container of nose balm will do the trick. 

      Best of luck.


  2. Interesting article, I don’t have a dog but I am thinking about getting one. Now for me, I noticed when I am properly hydrated, that gets rid of my chapped lips and also my dry nose. I am always surprised by how many illnesses/ allergies dogs can get. I still think they do just fine in the wild, like a wolf, perhaps not a pug but I find it strange how many products you can buy for your pet. I grew up with cats and well, they are easy. Food and water and they are happy. I don’t know maybe I need to get a dog to find out. 🙂

    • Hi Hendrik,

      Thank you for your comments on my post.  Dogs just like people can develop many of the same type of issues.  If you do get a dog, you will see the journey that you go on.  They are amazing, and the reward you get is unmistakable.

      Best of luck.



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