Why is My Puppy’s Nose Dry?

As a new puppy parent, we have a lot of questions – I know I did when I first bought home my puppy, and one of those is about pup’s nose, and why it may be dry.

Puppies, while bringing joy, often prompt concerns for dog owners, including the worry over a dry dog’s nose. Contrary to the belief that a moist nose denotes a healthy pup, it’s reassuring that a dog’s dry nose isn’t always alarming news. Let’s explore the significance of your pup’s nose and what might lead to its dryness.

A dog’s nose is one of those vital clues about their health that we should try and understand. A wet nose is generally linked to a healthy dog, yet a dry nose doesn’t necessarily indicate a health issue. It’s often a case that older dogs, particularly breeds like Lhasa Apsos or Labrador Retrievers, may experience changes in body temperature and tear ducts, leading to a drier nose. Good news is, in many cases, a dog’s dry nose is not a severe health concern.

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The following are the core metrics I like to understand in order to monitor my dog and their wellness, along with looking for sudden changes in these to indicate some poor health or reasons to worry;

  • Heart Rate
  • Breathing rate
  • Lethargy
  • Wet nose
  • Temperature
  • Skin/itchiness
  • Hydration test (tenting the skin on the head)
  • Gum Checks

These are all things I use to check my dogs at home and gain comfort that they’re okay, or if they need a trip to the vet.

When examining health issues, a closer look at signs such as hair loss or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye) is important. Certain breeds, including Cocker Spaniels and Shih Tzus, may be prone to health conditions affecting their nasal passages, so be conscious of your dog’s breed when making these assessments.

Being proactive involves using natural ingredients to maintain your dog’s nose health. In severe cases or persistent dryness, consulting a veterinarian is your best bet. Veterinarians can identify potential skin conditions or underlying health issues affecting your dog’s nose and airways.

PET HEAD Oatmeal Paw Butter

Pet head are a great brand, they’ve recently refocused on very natural ingredients and their paw butter is a great example of this.

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Musher's Secret Dog Paw Wax

Safe and natural, Mushers secret is widely regarded as one of the best, safest and most effective paw balms on the market. It’s also totally edible, and wont give your dog an upset tummy if licked and ingested!

Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Balm

Another really reliable brand, and comes with the added benefit of being super easy to apply in this stick form.

4 Causes of a Dry Nose in Puppies

1. Dehydration

The single biggest cause your puppy’s nose is dry is Dehydration. Naturally, this becomes particularly pronounced during scorching hot days of summer! Making sure that your dog or puppy has constant access to water is incredibly important, and water should not be limited.

This precautionary measure is especially critical for sick dogs, as they are more susceptible to dehydration. Pet owners should monitor their furry companion’s water intake.

Why is My Puppy's Nose Dry
A dry nose on your puppy might just be a sign of a cozy nap or playful adventures. Keep an eye on your furry friend’s overall well-being and enjoy every moment together.

2. Sunburn

You’d be amazed how delicate a little snooter is, particularly if they’re unlucky to have a brown or pale nose. Puppies, with their delicate noses, are indeed susceptible to sunburn, a concern similar to what we get.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to dryness and discomfort, impacting the well-being of these young furry companions.

This vulnerability becomes more pronounced in breeds with thin or light-colored noses.

3. Overexertion

Overexertion, often stemming from vigorous play or over exercise, can result in increased panting, and subsequent dehydration. This dehydration, in turn, contributes to the development of a dry nose in puppies! It’s pretty simple, but ensuring that our dogs are properly exercised, and kept well rested also, will help puppy stay fit, healthy and avoid dehydration and dry noses.

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4. Autoimmune Illnesses

Autoimmune illnesses can affect various aspects of a puppy’s health, including their skin condition and, consequently, the moisture levels of their noses. Puppies with autoimmune disorders may exhibit dry noses as a manifestation of these underlying health issues. These ones are certainly harder to tell, but if you can rule out all the others, and your pup’s nose is still dry? Then it’s quite possible this is an immune response.

Why is My Puppy's Nose Dry (1)
Illness can cast a shadow on even the most vibrant companions. If your dog is unwell, swift veterinary care and your comforting presence can help them on the road to recovery.

5. Allergies

Allergies are another one that can create a dry nose, much like us humans who have allergies, it affects our nose, and our nose may become dry or cracked, our puppy’s nose can be the same. So, if your dog is struggling for

6. Poor Food

Low quality food can cause changes in our dog’s biology, and their response to things. For example, dogs who eat a dry diet of kibble may struggle more for hydration (as their food needs additional water to process), and if that diet is a lower quality, their nose may not be prioritised for that water, instead the body will focus that water on excreting the filler materials in the food.

7. Hyperkeratosis

Some breeds are prone to hyperkeratosis, this is one of the medical conditions that can occur, it’s quite an interesting one too, but it’s basically an over-growth of the skin that makes up your dogs nose and paws, it’s quite an unusual one, but it can result in your puppy having a dry nose.

The Significance of a Puppy’s Nose

Understanding your pup’s nose is crucial for assessing its health. While a wet nose is often considered a sign of well-being, a dry dog’s nose doesn’t necessarily indicate illness. Dogs’ noses naturally vary in wetness, and a thin layer of mucus aids their exceptional sense of smell by trapping scent particles.

Maintaining awareness of your dog’s overall well-being involves considering factors like the heat source, the dog’s sense of smell, and the condition of paw pads. It’s essential to recognize the different reasons behind a dog’s dry nose and the potential impact on their immune system.

When a Dry Nose Might Be Serious

While a dog’s dry nose doesn’t always indicate illness, specific signs demand closer attention.

If your pup displays a dry nose alongside;

  • a loss of appetite
  • sunken eyes
  • or pale noses or gums

it may signify severe dehydration or canine distemper.

Similarly, a persistently runny nose, especially with nasal discharge, could be indicative of respiratory infections.

Immediate medical attention becomes crucial in such cases.

Maintaining a healthy dog’s nose involves regular attention to your pet’s well-being, creating a robust foundation for proactive care. This includes staying vigilant about signs pointing towards skin conditions or respiratory infections. By understanding these nuances, pet parents contribute to a surface that fosters overall health for their dogs. It’s a symbiotic relationship, ensuring not just a healthy dog’s nose but also proactive care for both their own noses and other canine companions in their lives.

And remember, if you’re ever uncertain? A pinch of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s what mobile vets, and online veterinary services are great at!

Why is My Puppy's Nose Dry (2)
A little runny nose in your puppy may just be a temporary sniffle. Keep an eye on their energy levels and if it persists, a visit to the vet might provide some peace of mind.

How to Help Your Puppy’s Dry Nose

Naturally, we want to help our dogs and keep them healthy and happy, so what can you do for your puppy’s dry nose? (I hope you didn’t miss the paw and nose balms above!)

  • Vet Visit – If you’re uncertain about your dog’s dry nose, then take them to the vet or book an online consult! These sorts of things can be worrying and don’t need to be concerning for us.
  • Nose & paw balm – natural balms can help our dogs recover or keep them from cracks or dryness, and whilst they are great, I would be a little cautious about constantly applying it as you may mask important medical information about your dog.
  • Sufficient water access – it’s no secret that dogs should have access to water at all times, but ensuring that it’s always topped up is a great plan!
Why is My Puppy's Nose Dry (3)
Did you know a dog’s nose pattern is as individual as a human fingerprint?

A Dry Nose Is Part Of The Picture

A dry nose may be a symptom of a tired puppy, or a bigger health concern, and should be considered as a part of a larger picture, on it’s own, it’s not really something to worry about.

I do encourage you though, as a new pet parent, to learn and understand your puppy, and I love that you’re taking your first steps on that. It’s really important to understand your pup as thoroughly as you possibly can, and this is a great first step.

The next best step you can take is to sign up to pupdates, that’s my comprehensive puppy program, designed to guide you through puppyhood, from setting a schedule, to the changes in development phases.

Go on, go sign up to pupdates, it’ll really help!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a professional, qualified, and multi-award winning trainer is the founder of rebarkable. She has always believed animals deserve kindness and champions force free methods. Believing that dog guardians will all choose the kindest options if proper information is provided, she aims to help all dog guardians who need it and make dog training as accessible as possible

Ali lives win Maryland, US with her husband and her three dogs.


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