You may notice that your dog's nose is dry sometimes. Contrary to popular belief, a dry nose does not always signal a sign of disease or illness in dogs. Brief periods of dryness of your dog's nose is a normal occurrence; however, there are times when a dry nose that accompanies other symptoms is a red flag for underlying health issues.
Wet Nose Theory
There are various theories about why a dog's nose is wet most of the time. One theory attributes wetness to a dog licking its nose frequently. Another theory is that a dog's nose stays wet to help with capturing scents.
Texture and Color
If your dog's nose is dry and has sores, scabs or a crusty texture, he may have an infection. This is also true if there is a loss of pigmentation in the colour of his nose. In either of these cases, you should consult with a veterinarian for further diagnosis.
There are several possible causes of your dog's dry nose. If your dog has allergies or any sensitivities to materials such as plastic, then this could effect the moisture on his nose. You can use stainless steel or ceramic bowls to reduce the chance of an allergic reaction. Sunburn can also effect your dog's nose. You should use sunscreen on your dog if you expect he will be exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Consult with your physician for recommendations on sunscreen products for your dog.
If your dog's nose is dry and he displays symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing or difficulty breathing, you should contact a veterinarian right away. He may have a respiratory infection or there may be an obstruction, such as a tumour, in his nasal passage that needs to be cleared.
You should monitor how long your dog's nose stays dry. Although it is normal for dryness to come and go throughout the day, a prolonged dryness indicates more serious issues. If your dog's dry nose is accompanied by any of the following symptoms for more than a couple days, you should see a vet: diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite or lethargy. If your dog's nose is dry for more than two days without other symptoms, then a dermatological problem known as pemphigus foliaceus could be the problem. A vet visit is also necessary in this instance.