Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry? – VET VERIFIED!

This article has been edited and verified by our own veterinarian Dr.Stevce Ilievski. 

Have you noticed a change in your dog’s nose? Perhaps it doesn’t seem as wet as it used to be, or maybe it’s starting to crack and get flaky. While often nothing to worry about, a dry nose in dogs can be indicative of other health problems that should be addressed

So,  ‘Why is my dog’s nose dry, exactly? Keep reading to find out what it could mean. 

Are Dogs’ Noses Supposed to Be Wet?

Before we jump right into the good stuff, we need to go over why dogs’ noses get wet in the first place. The answer is quite straightforward and boils down to three main reasons.

  • For starters, dogs rely on their heightened sense of smell for a variety of things. From finding food to tracking down a potential mate, their nose is key for survival. Since the little particles tend to stick to wet surfaces better than dry ones, a moist nose helps them sniff out these smells more efficiently.
  • The wet nose also helps cool down dogs when they’re overheating. We all know how sweaty humans get when we exercise on a hot day. Well, dogs don’t sweat through their skin as we do, so they use the sweat glands in their nose to regulate their body temperature and prevent themselves from getting too hot.
  • Not to mention the fact that dogs have a tendency of licking their nose (or anything else for that matter) for just about any reason. This could be because they’re trying to clean something off or simply enjoy the taste and texture. All that tongue action also adds moisture to their nose.

In any case, the importance of a damp nose is evident, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog’s nose has to be dripping wet at all times. Even though it’s perfectly normal for there to be some variation, you should still take note of any significant or sudden changes.

But what does it mean when a dog’s nose is dry? While the list of potential causes is long, we’ll start with some of the more common ones.

Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry?

There may be several reasons why your dog’s nose is dry and cracked. Although a dry nose isn’t usually a medical issue or cause for concern, it could indicate an underlying health problem. To get to the bottom of things, it’s important to consider any additional symptoms that your pup is experiencing along with the dry nose.

Breed Traits

Some breeds are simply more prone to having drier noses than others. It doesn’t mean it’s a sign of an unhealthy dog nose; it’s just how they are. Breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and boxers often experience this phenomenon because of their short snouts.


Dog years work differently than human years, so it’s important to keep that in mind when assessing your pup’s health. For example, a one-year-old dog is roughly the equivalent of a seven-year-old human child.

As dogs get older, they can start to experience changes in their skin, including the nose. The skin can become thin and dry, mainly due to decreased oil production. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about.

Sometimes, however, an elderly dog’s dry nose can be a sign of Cushing’s disease, which is a condition that causes the overproduction of the hormone cortisol. If your senior dog’s nose is dry and crusty, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian just to be on the safe side.


If your dog likes to nap frequently or sleeps for long periods of time, it’s not uncommon for its nose to become dry. This is because they’re not licking it as much as they normally would when they’re awake and alert.

Once they wake up and start moving around, the moisture will likely return. If not, it could signify something more serious, like dehydration.


Stepping into the more serious side of things, a dry nose can sometimes indicate dehydration. If your pooch isn’t drinking enough water or is losing fluids faster than it can take them in, it’s likely that its nose will become dry and cracked.

In addition to a dry nose, other signs of dehydration in dogs include sunken eyes, increased thirst, decreased energy levels, and urinating less often. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, it’s important to take action immediately and get it to a vet.

Elements Exposure

If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, it’s possible that the elements are taking a toll on its nose. Dry air, wind, and sun can all cause the nose to become dry and cracked.

Sunburn in particular is a risk for dogs with lighter-colored noses. If you notice that your dog’s nose is red and inflamed, it may be sunburn. In this case, it’s best to consult with your vet on how to treat it. A range of creams and ointments are available that can help soothe the skin and promote healing.

Skin Conditions

Why is my dog’s nose peeling? That’s something you may ask yourself if you notice your pup’s nose is shedding its top layer. Painful scabs and weird-looking sores can sometimes form on a dog’s nose due to various skin conditions. The most common culprits are allergies, infections, and autoimmune diseases.

If you notice any unusual bumps or sores on your dog’s nose, visiting the vet as soon as possible is the best course of action. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and provide treatment options for the kind of skin disorder your pet is dealing with.

Finishing Thoughts

A doggo’s nose is one of the most important parts of its body, playing a vital role in its sense of smell and temperature regulation. As a concerned pet parent, you might think, ‘Why is my dog’s nose dry?’. Don’t worry. In most cases, a dry nose is nothing to be concerned about and is usually the result of things like breed traits, age, sleep, or exposure to the elements. 

However, if your dog’s nose is accompanied by other symptoms like swelling, crustiness, or bleeding, it could be indicative of an underlying health condition, and you should consult with your vet.


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