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Causes and treatment of dry noses in dogs

Updated on February 18, 2012

Dogs are generally known to have wet noses. For canines, a wet nose is a sign of good health. It is a common practice for would-be pet owners to carefully examine the nose of a dog. The wet nose of a dog is some kind of assurance that pet will be healthy. Disregarding the possible vet bills, a pet owner would naturally want to invest love on a pet that will be healthy and stay longest with the family.  A dry nose though is not a definitive sign that the dog is sickly.

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A dog’s dry nose

A dry nose just like a wet one is normal in dogs. An owner need not worry if the dog is noticed to have a dry nose. The nose would normally change from being moist to dry. This normally happens when the weather or the temperature changes. Owners would find the nose of the pet dry on windy days. Extremely cold temperature would also cause the dog’s nose to go dry. This is pretty much the same when cold causes humans to have chafed lips. The situation is not a cause for concern. A dab of petroleum jelly would solve the problem.


The dry nose of the dog can be due to an allergic reaction. Dogs are ultimate sniffers. The dog may have sniffed substances it is allergic to. The allergic reaction can be due to the new plastic feeding bowl. An observant pet owner would know what makes the nose of the pet dry. If it is due to an allergic reaction, you simply need to remove the offending object. After a while you will again be kissed by a pet with a cold wet nose.

Harmful UV rays

The nose is one of the body parts not covered with fur. This body part is prone to sunburn. Allowing the dog to stay long under the harsh rays of the sun would result to a dry sunburned nose. Continuous exposure to the sun would not only result to a dry nose but to skin cancer as well. Aside from a prolonged dry nose, this condition is manifested by loss of pigmentation, lethargy, loss of appetite.  Skin cancer is hard to diagnose. A vet may not be able to tell if the dog has skin cancer simply by looking at the black spots on the dry nose. Fine needle aspiration will confirm the presence of cancerous cells. Treatment can be surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.

Pemphigus foliaceus

Symptoms for this autoimmune disease are blisters on the nose that burst and form scabs that cover the nostrils making it difficult for the dog to breathe. This condition certainly needs medical attention. The vet commonly administers immunosuppressive drugs as well as antibiotics and steroids to keep the disease under control.


Fido’s dry nose can be due to an infection. The dog uses the nose not only in sniffing but in a lot of other ways. The nose can get wounded and infected. An infected nose would go dry; parts of the skin can crack and appear to be flaky. Bring the pet to the vet for proper diagnosis and medication.


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    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States

      Great Hub topic. I use a humidifier in the drier months so my dogs will breathe better (oh yes, it is for the humans too!) My dogs seem to breathe much better and their skin is not as dry and flaky. I love my humidifier!