Dog Tips

Dog Dry Nose: Should I Be Worried?

You may be wondering if your dog’s dry nose is a sign of some major illness or just a missed nose moisturizer for the day. It is, however, a little complicated as there can be multiple reasons for it. Some are benign and others may need some worrying on your side. Let’s nosedive into this and understand more. 

A dog’s nose is a remarkable piece of biological engineering. It’s their radar, their guide, their primary means of experiencing the world. Dogs have about 300 million olfactory receptors as compared to 5 million of them for humans. (2) A lot of a dog’s brain power is also dedicated to interpreting smells. With just a whiff, a dog can determine if a new friend is male or female, happy or aggressive, healthy or ill. Such an incredible part of their body must be protected at all costs. 

But what does it mean when this nose goes dry as against the usual wet and cold? 

Here are some reasons for this – (1)

  • Sleep 

A dry nose may just tell you that your dog is a sleeping beauty. Dogs tend to lick their noses constantly when they are up. This is the primary reason for a wet and cold nose. While sleeping, the tongue is at rest, causing the nose to dry up. This is not at all an issue and is actually a good sign indicating that your dog’s nose is leakproof. 

  • Dehydration – 

Less water in the body = less saliva in the mouth. Result? Dry licking and hence a dry nose. Offering fresh water to your dog can solve this. However, dehydration can even be severe if there are additional signs along with it. These include – 

  • Reduced appetite

  • Excessive panting

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Sunken eyes

  • Lethargy

  • Dry and sticky gums

  • Thick and goopy saliva

  • Heat Stroke

This one can be severe. It’s when your dog’s body temperature rises dramatically due to high sun and heat exposure. It can even be life-threatening. A dry nose can be an indication of the same but there should be other signs to confirm it like – 

  • Signs of dehydration (mentioned above)

  • Red gums

  • Increased heart rate

  • Disorientation

  • Seizures

  • Difficulty walking

  • Sunburn

Prolonged sun exposure can even cause a sunburn on the nose for dogs. This can lead to a dry nose. 

  • Allergies

Your dog may have environment-related allergies, skin-related allergies, and even food-related allergies. Even these can cause your dog’s nose to dry out. 

  • Autoimmune disease

Although uncommon, your dog may also be suffering from an autoimmune disease like Lupus or Pemphigus that causes a dry nose. Among all the reasons for your dog’s dry nose, this one is the worst to have.  

My Dog’s Nose is Dried and Cracked

All the above reasons can cause your dog’s nose to be cracked along with it being dry. Apart from them, there is even a chance of your dog suffering from nasal hyperkeratosis. It can affect all the non-haired portion of the nose and can prevent your dog from fully using their smelling superpower. 

In this case, you’ll typically see growth on the surface of your dog’s nose that is crusty with bumps or ridges of extra tissue. It is caused by the build of extra keratin. It should be treated at the earliest to avoid increased chances of skin infection.  (4)

Can a Healthy Dog Have a Dry Nose? 

A lot of people think that a healthy dog always has a wet and cold nose. But a dry nose does not always mean that your dog is sick and needs to be rushed to the vet. For all you know, they may just have woken up from a nice and dreamy nap and because of that the nose hadn’t been licked for a couple of hours, causing it to dry out. 

Why Do Bulldogs Get Crusty Noses?

As we mentioned above, the reason for dogs’ noses to be wet and cold is because of their constant nose-licking. In the case of the dog breeds of the brachycephalic family, the ones with shorter snouts and flat faces, the tongue isn’t long enough to reach the nose. This causes their noses to be drier than other breeds. Bulldogs are a member of this family. 

Having said that, all the reasons for a dry nose in dogs apply to Bulldogs as well. These dogs are also prone to other skin conditions like skin fold dermatitis because of their unique anatomy. (3)

Do All Dog Breeds Have Dry Noses? 

Yes, all dog breeds can have dry noses. If you look at the reasons causing a dry nose, you’ll see that they can affect any dog, irrespective of any breed. 

Having said that, brachycephalic dogs are more prone to dry noses for 2 main reasons – 

  • Their tongues not reaching their noses.

  • Them being more prone to dehydration and heat stroke because of their shorter snouts.

More About Spot Pet Insurance

The reasons for your dog getting a dry nose can be plenty. Some may be extremely severe as well. But, whatever the reason, we can help you save up to 90% of the treatment costs. 

Spot accident and illness plans can be used with any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Whether you are home, or traveling to the U.S., veterinary services your pet receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of covered conditions can be eligible for reimbursement. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions including broken bones, lacerations, aggression, kidney disease, diabetes, and more. With the addition of Wellness Riders for an extra cost, you can also receive reimbursements for wellness exams, certain vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more. 

Learn more about dog insurance or get a free quote!


1. SavannahS. (2023, April 24). 5 Reasons Your Dog’s Nose is Dry. Berthoud Animal Hospital.

2. Anatomy - Medical Detection dogs. (2018, August 3). Medical Detection Dogs.

3. Stanleydunthorne. (2023, August 1). Does your bulldog have a dry crusty nose? | How to help. Stanley’s Paw Balm.

4. Why is my dog’s nose dry & cracked? (n.d.).

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