Dry Dog Nose Woes: Why Your Dog’s Nose Is Dry And Crusty
Did you reach out to boop your dog’s snoot only to find it dry and rough to the touch? You must’ve found yourself wondering why your dog’s nose is crusty and dry.
You may be surprised to learn that your dog’s nose is one of its most critical body parts that are vital to its overall health. Dogs use their noses to navigate the world around them, sniffing out scents and identifying familiar places and objects.
But does that mean their noses have to be wet? Is a dry nose something to be concerned about? Let’s find out.
Dogs and Their Wet Noses
Dogs are known to have slightly wet noses, and there’s a good reason for that! As we know, dogs have an exceptional sense of smell. And it’s in large part thanks to a thin layer of mucus on the top area of their noses.
This mucus layer absorbs and preserves scents. And when your dog licks its nose, it transfers the scent to its olfactory glands that help assess the scent. It’s also why your dog keeps licking its nose, which also keeps the nose constantly wet.
Dogs also use their noses to regulate their body temperature by allowing the saliva on their noses to cool as it dries.
Now, this doesn’t mean that our dogs should always have wet noses. Dogs’ noses go from wet to dry to wet again throughout the day. Generally, a dry nose is no cause for concern.
As noted by Dr. John Smith, DVM, “Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, and their noses are essential to their overall health and well-being. When a dog's nose is dry and crusty, it can be concerning, but it's not always a sign of illness. In many cases, it’s simply due to environmental factors such as sunburn or exposure to cold and dry air.”
However, sometimes, a dry nose can be indicative of other health concerns.
What Does It Mean When A Dog's Nose Is Dry And Crusty?
A dry and crusty nose in dogs is a common occurrence and can be caused by several factors, often harmless. But although a dry nose is not necessarily a sign of illness in dogs, it’s always best to get your pup checked out by a vet to rule out any underlying health issues.
That being said, here are some of the reasons why your dog’s nose is crusty and dry:
One of the most common causes of a dry and crusty nose in dogs is environmental factors, such as exposure to the sun or wind. Just like humans, dogs can get sunburned, too. And this can cause their nose to become dry and flaky. Similarly, exposure to cold and dry air can also lead to a dry, cracked nose.
Another reason why your dog’s nose may be dry and crusty is allergies. Many dog breeds are allergic to a variety of things, including food, pollen, and certain chemicals.
“Allergies can cause a dog's nose to become dry and itchy, leading to excessive scratching and a dry, crusty nose. It's important to identify the allergen and eliminate it from your dog's environment to prevent further irritation,” says Dr. Emily Jones, DVM.
It’s thus crucial to keep an eye on your dog’s overall lifestyle and diet. Stick to healthy foods like Sundays for dogs or seek your vet’s opinion to ensure a healthy diet for your dog.
If your dog’s dry, crusty nose is accompanied by any form of nasal seepage like mucus, it can be a sign of an infection. Bacterial or fungal infections can cause the nose to become dry and scaly. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. So, it’s important to seek veterinary care if you suspect your dog has an infection.
Certain autoimmune diseases, such as pemphigus, can also cause dryness in your dog’s nose. Pemphigus is a condition in which the dog’s immune system attacks its own skin cells, causing blisters and lesions. If you suspect your dog of having an autoimmune disease, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Other Severe Medical Factors
Sometimes, your dog having a dry, crusty nose may be indicative of more serious illnesses. Her are some major diseases that can cause this.
- Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE): an inflammatory skin disease that leads to loss of pigment and sores on and around a dog’s mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Distemper: a viral disease that typically affects puppies who are not vaccinated.
- Idiopathic Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis: a skin disease that causes overproduction of keratin on the nose and foot pads.
A genetic disease like Hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK), which is common to Labrador Retrievers, can also cause a dog’s nose to turn dry.
Some dog breeds like Bull Mastiffs, Boxers, English and French bulldogs, or Boston terriers have flat noses, which makes it difficult for them to breathe properly, which can cause dryness on and around their nose. It also makes it difficult for these dogs to lick their noses, resulting in a dry, crusty nose.
What If Only One Side Of Dog’s Nose Is Dry And Crusty?
When only one side of a dog’s nose is dry and crusty, it may be an indication of a more localized issue. Here are some potential causes of a dry and crusty nose on one side of a dog’s nose:
If your dog has recently experienced trauma to one side of their face, it may cause a dry and crusty nose on that side. It’s because some types of trauma can cause swelling and inflammation, which can lead to dryness and crustiness.
Something Stuck in the Nose
Dogs are curious animals, and they love to explore and play around with anything they can get their paws on. This can sometimes lead to an object getting lodged in your furry friend’s nostril, which can lead to dryness on that side of the nose.
“If you notice that only one side of your dog's nose is dry and crusty, it could be due to a foreign object lodged in the nostril. It’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately to remove the object and prevent further damage.” — Dr. Samantha Lee, DVM.
A bacterial or fungal infection on one side of the nose can cause dryness in that specific area. Infections may be caused by a variety of causes, including environmental factors or underlying health conditions.
Tumor or growth
In some cases, a tumor or growth on one side of the nose can cause dryness and crustiness. This is more common in older dogs but can occur in dogs of any age.
Just like humans, dogs can get sunburned. If your dog spends a lot of time in the sun and only one side of its nose is exposed, it’s possible that this could cause dryness and crustiness on that side.
Treatment Options for Dry and Crusty Noses in Dogs
If you notice that one side of your dog’s nose is dry and crusty, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian for an examination. Your vet can help to diagnose the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment options.
In many cases, a dry and crusty nose will resolve on its own, especially if it’s due to environmental factors like sunburn or exposure to dry air. However, if your dog’s nose remains dry and crusty or other symptoms develop, it's important to seek veterinary care.
Here are some treatment options that your veterinarian may recommend for a dry and crusty nose in dogs:
Moisturizing the Nose
Your veterinarian may recommend a moisturizing ointment or lotion to apply to your dog's nose. This can help to hydrate the skin and reduce dryness and crustiness.
Note that home remedies like applying coconut oil or other natural ingredients to your dog’s nose are not recommended. These remedies can cause more harm than good and may even be toxic to your pet.
If a dog’s dry and crusty nose is due to allergies, your veterinarian will typically recommend allergy medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids. These medications help reduce the allergic response and alleviate the symptoms.
Antibiotics or Antifungal Medications
If your dog’s dry and crusty nose is due to a bacterial or fungal infection, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications to treat the underlying infection.
In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a foreign object that is causing a dry and crusty nose in dogs.
Now that you know the possible causes for why your dog’s nose is crusty and dry, you can rest easy knowing that it’s often nothing to worry about. Often, it’s simply a temporary condition that will resolve on its own.
However, while a dry nose is not necessarily a sign of illness in dogs, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary care if it is accompanied by other symptoms or you notice any changes in your dog’s nose or behavior.