Have you noticed your dog’s nose is dry or cracked? If so should you be worried? We reveal what’s causing your pet’s dry nose, whether you need a nose balm for your dog, or if you should visit your vet.

But, before we look at the different treatment options we need to understand what causes your dog’s nose to become dry and cracked in the first place.


What Does it Mean When a Dog’s Nose is Dry?

Usually, a dog’s dry or cracked nose is nothing to be worried about. In some cases, it is easily explained. The reasons can include an allergic reaction or be sleep-related or seasonality, etc (these are explained in more detail further down).

These are easily remedied with products like Mushers Dog Nose Balm. However, if your dog’s nose is crusty looking like the picture below, then it is very likely your dog has a more serious health condition called Nasal Hyperkeratosis.

Nasal Hyperkeratosis


Nasal Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

Many dog owners do not realize the harmful effects Nasal Hyperkeratosis has on their dog. Nasal Hyperkeratosis occurs when the nose tissue becomes rough and dry, often cracking.  Your dog’s nose contains a protein known as keratin. This keratin protein sometimes grows too fast and is extremely uncomfortable for your pet.

The crust is layers of tissue skin that has grown over your dog’s nose. Hyperkeratosis can also form on your dog’s paws so will also need to monitor this. It may be tempting to attempt to pick this off, however, you shouldn’t.

It would be extremely painful for your dog and cause bleeding. Even though this condition is not life-threatening it can cause great distress for your dog and affect his overall health.

If the nose remains dry and cracked for a long period of time, your dog will feel pain and could lose his sense of smell.


How is Nasal Hyperkeratosis Treated?

Don’t forget, Nasal Hyperkeratosis is a condition, meaning there isn’t a cure as such. You can’t just use Mushers Nose Balm for a few days, and the dryness will go away forever. You need to think of it just like using sunscreen or moisturizing your own skin. You can’t use a skin moisturizer (or rub on SPF20) once and be done forever.

Much like applying moisturizer to keep your skin healthy, you need to apply Mushers Nose Balm to your dog on a regular basis…. we owe it to them to build it into their grooming routine.


Dry & Cracked Nose (Less Serious Causes)

A lot of dogs have a temporary dry nose. Some dog breeds just have drier noses than others. There are many other reasons why your dog has a dry and cracked nose.

The 7 most common causes are:

1. Sunburn 

Dogs have pink skin on their noses which can get sunburned. This can cause the skin on their nose to dry out, peel and crack.

2. Sleep-Related

You might have noticed your dog’s nose dries up while sleeping. This happens because your dog does not lick his nose while he is asleep. Their dry nose will get wet again after around 10 minutes of waking from sleep.

3. Seasonality

Seasonality will also play a big factor. Dogs often got dry and cracked noses during the winter months. It is the same as when your throat is sore and dry during winter or how chapped or dried your lips become when you are in a heated room.

This can occur due to the warm flow of air from the vents. This hot air has a similar effect on a dog’s nose. Once they move away from any such heat source their nose should become moist again.

4. Age

As dogs get older, they are more likely to suffer from dry and cracked noses. This is why a dog nose balm is recommended.

5. Allergies

Some dogs suffer from a dry, cracked nose due to an allergic reaction. This can come from numerous sources like pollen or a food allergy, etc. These allergies can also cause swelling and redness of the nose.

6. Dehydration

Dehydration could also play a role. This can happen when your dog exercises during hot weather. So… make sure your dog has access to plenty of cold water.

7. Difficulty licking

Some dog breeds such as Bulldogs and Pugs are more prone to nasal dryness. This is because they have difficulty licking their nose. 


How Do You Treat a Dog’s Dry Nose?

dog with wet nose

If your dog’s nose has been dry and cracked for a long period of time, he may need to see a vet. Here are some of the possible treatments that you can give your dog at home.

    • First of all, clean your dog’s nose, by taking a damp cloth and wiping the nose.
    • You can use a nose balm to moisten your dog’s nose. Use dog-specific balms only. These are designed to nourish and hydrate the skin on the dog’s nose. Dogs love to lick their nose, and some human balms contain ingredients that are not safe for dogs, so only specific lotions are recommended.
    • If the dog’s nose is dry and cracked from sunburn, use a dog-specific sunblock.
    • If the dry, cracked nose is due to an allergic reaction, try to keep your dog away from the source and the problem should improve.
    • Always give your dog plenty of water in hot weather to keep them hydrated

If you think none of these treatments are working, make an appointment with your vet.


Frequently asked Questions

Can I put Vaseline on my dog’s nose?

No, you should never put Vaseline on your dog’s nose. Dogs lick their noses quite often and Vaseline is toxic therefore it may harm your pet. Although petroleum jelly isn’t going to kill your dog in such a small amount, it can cause an upset stomach and even diarrhea. Therefore it is best to avoid Vaseline and use a product specifically made for dogs


How do I know if my dog is dehydrated?

Dehydration can be a dangerous situation for your dog and therefore you want to make sure that your dog is not dehydrated before, during, or after strenuous activity. The first sign of dehydration is anorexia where the dog will suddenly stop eating and will not drink any water or salt.

Dehydration can also be caused by vomiting, a sudden drop in body temperature, or just a low body fluid count. In order to recognize if your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, you should try to see your vet as soon as possible.


How can I hydrate my dog?

If your dog is dehydrated give them small sips of water every couple of minutes. Additionally, you can mix electrolyte replacement powder into the water. Drinking too much water too fast, however, may cause your dog to vomit, which will prolong their dehydration.

Dogs use their noses to breathe, and it also helps them drain excess tears from their eyes with the help of the tear duct. A dog’s nose also has sweat glands that help them cool down through sweat. Therefore it is very important to keep your dog hydrated to ensure their nose performs its best.


Should You Leave Water Out For Dog All Day?

If you have a dog and have a garden, you may be tempted to leave water out for the dog all day long. After all, dogs can drink from any fountains, lakes, or ponds – as long as it is clean and not contaminated. But the problem with leaving water out all day long is that it can become stagnant.

In time, the water will become moldy and smell stale. And given enough time, your dog may even start to associate the water with illness and disease, and be less likely to drink it when they need to rehydrate.


Why is your dog’s nose is wet?

There are two main reasons why a dog’s nose is wet.

    • The wet coating on a dog’s nose helps them to smell. The superior sense of smell in dogs is basically due to the moist coating that can absorb and retain the scent.
    • Dogs also have wet noses because it helps them cool down. This is because dogs do not have sweat glands, so they use their nose and paw pads to sweat.


Should a dog’s nose be dry or wet?

While it is true that the question “should a dog’s nose be dry or wet?” is rarely asked by pet owners, it is a very important one. The answer is that you need a balance. You don’t want your dog’s nose to be too dry as it could lead to some of the health issues we discussed above. You also don’t want your dog’s nose to be too wet.

“Wet-nose” can be quite serious, as the constant wetness makes it easy for bacteria to multiply. If a dog’s nose is constantly wet, it may even begin to cough up blood – a potentially life-threatening situation that can be easily avoided by using a quality nose wash regularly.

The dog’s immune system may not fight off the bacteria that cause the illness and could result in complications such as pneumonia or meningitis. While serious infections are rare, if a dog’s sinuses become blocked, the condition could become severe, requiring drastic measures such as surgery.


Can I tell if a dog is sick by feeling its nose?

If your dog is sick then their warm or dry nose will go together with other symptoms of illness, such as vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea, etc. These signs are a good enough reason to call your veterinarian, no matter how warm or cold your dog’s nose feels.



Dogs also use their nose to gather information from the environment. This information is gathered by sniffing, however not all the information is gathered through the nose. Information is also gathered through other scenes such as when a dog licks its nose and transfers all scent detection to the roof of the mouth where the olfactory glands are located.

The next time you see your dog sniffing something, notice that he will lick his nose and transfer all the information about other animals such as cats, dogs, squirrels, and other creatures to his olfactory glands.

To do all these things dogs depend on having a moist and healthy nose to breathe. This means that the owner needs to maintain a normal level of hygiene.

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