Which Dog Dry Nose Treatment Should You Use When?

Who doesn't love a cold, wet dog nose rubbing up against them? However, if you go to nuzzle with your canine friend and notice his nose is dry, it's important to know what dog dry nose treatment to use and when his dry nose is serious enough to require a trip to the veterinarian.

What Does Normal Look Like?

Your dog's nose is an amazing part of his body. NOVA notes that a dog's nose has around 300 million olfactory receptors (the cells that detect and process scents), compared to about 6 million in your nose. The area of the canine brain devoted to analyzing odors is about 40 times larger than the comparable part of the human brain. All of this fine-tuning means that a dog can detect faint whiffs that are the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-sized swimming pools. A wet dog nose means a nose at work!

But why does your pup's sniffer have to be moist? The wet layer on his nose helps him hold in scents. When your dog licks his nose, it's a way to taste the scents and really take in his surroundings. Your dog also sweats through his nose, so having a wet nose can be a sign that your dog is cooling down in a healthy way. Unfortunately there are times when your pup's nose may dry up, and it is important to know when to be concerned about a dry nose.

Close-up of beagle nose.

Dog Dry Nose Treatment Options

Although your dog's nose may get dry here and there, a nose that remains dry for longer than a day probably needs some attention. When deciding on a dog dry nose treatment, first consider some important factors.

  • Clean the nose first: Depending on the cause of your dog's dry nose, it is a good idea to clean his nose first to remove any external causes of the dryness. Take a cool, wet cloth and gently wipe his nose. Wait a little bit to see if his nose naturally moistens back up. If not, check some of the more frequent dry nose causes and treatments below.
  • Use dog nose balm for a sunburned nose: It's possible your dog has a little sunburn on his nose causing it to dry out. Can you just use the same lotions you would use on your face? The answer is no; instead, use a dog nose balm (found at most pet stores) to help soothe his sunburnt schnoz. Since dogs like to lick their noses, you may find yourself having to apply the balm quite frequently. Check that the ingredients are safe if ingested. Your vet can also provide some recommendations including a prescription lotion.
  • Overcome a dry nose caused by allergies: Your dog's dry nose could be a sign of a mild allergic reaction, says the American Kennel Club. If you can identify the item causing the allergic reaction, remove the item from your home and see if the condition improves. However, in some cases you may need to take your dog to the vet to get a prescription antihistamine or steroid to overcome the allergic reaction. When it comes to allergies, it's always better to be cautious and get your dog to the vet sooner rather than later.
  • Make sure your dog is hydrated: Dog dry nose can sometimes be a sign of dehydration. When the temperatures are high for many days, make sure your dog always has fresh, cold water to encourage him to drink. Dogs can get dehydrated even on cooler days, so if you notice your four-legged friend isn't drinking much water, try getting him to lick an ice cube or some low-sodium chicken broth to stay hydrated.
  • Check to make sure your dog isn't sick: In rare cases, a dry nose can be a sign of dog flu or an autoimmune disorder. Wag! notes that Pemphigus foliaceus, a group of autoimmune and skin diseases, can present itself as scabs or scales around the nose area. Akitas, chow-chows and dachshunds are some of the more commonly affected breeds, but any dog can develop an issue. If your dog is experiencing these signs, your dog dry nose treatment will have to be administered by a vet.

Before you ever apply anything to your dog's nose, make sure to consult your veterinarian. Every dog is unique, and what might have worked for one dog does not mean it will necessarily work for your dog. Your veterinarian may even let you know that you have nothing to be concerned about.

Your dog's nose provides an important way for him to interact with his environment. If his nose becomes dry, be sure to look for accompanying signs and seek a soothing treatment.

Contributor Bio

Chrissie Klinger

Chrissie Klinger

Chrissie Klinger is a pet parent that enjoys sharing her home with her furkids, two of her own children and her husband. Chrissie enjoys spending time with all her family members when she is not teaching, writing or blogging. She strives to write articles that help pet owners live a more active and meaningful life with their pets.

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