Everything you need to know to treat a dog's dry nose

Everything you need to know to treat a dog's dry nose

“Rowdy, sit still for one second!” is a phrase I utter most days.

While Rowdy isn’t as high-maintenance as most English Bulldogs, he still needs to be looked over daily.

He begrudgingly sits tight as I clean his facial folds, an important task that should never be overlooked by any owners of wrinkly-faced dogs.

The wiggling and shifting begins when I check on his nose. It’s slightly chapped at the edges and dry all over. He knows what I’m about to do and while he often pretends it’s the worst thing to happen, I know he loves the attention.

Treating Rowdy’s dry nose began when he was one and has continued ever since with intermittent periods of the dryness disappearing. Keeping your dog’s nose moisturized and pain-free is essential for keeping them happy – their nose is much more sensitive than ours, after all.

Understanding what makes a dog’s nose dry and how to best combat the issue can be tricky for some. Luckily, some of us have been fighting this bull(dog) for a while and have all the tricks.

If you’re short on time, know this: A dry nose isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a dog and some breeds just run dry. Pay special attention to your dog’s nose if you live in the desert or at high altitudes and during cold, dry winter months. We recommend Pawstruck Organic Nose and Paw Balm to moisturize your pup’s nose.

Is a wet nose better than a dry nose?

We’ve all heard the age-old tale that a dog’s nose should be wet, but is there any truth to that? While you may believe that a wet, cold nose is an indication of a healthy pet, experts report that it doesn’t actually mean much.

A wet nose is normal, but a dry nose isn’t necessarily abnormal.

The reasons for a wet nose

Your dog’s nose can be wet for many reasons, all of which every dog experiences throughout their lifetime.


Dogs don’t have sweat glands like humans, so they have to get rid of excess heat in other ways. We are all familiar with dogs’ panting to cool themselves, but a wet nose is also believed to help them regulate a warmer body temperature.


I don’t know about you, but my pit bull licks his chops all day long. That means his nose constantly gets a dose of saliva to coat it.


Just like us, dogs can get runny noses and experience nasal discharge. It’s not uncommon to see a dog with some mucus dripping from his nostrils. If you notice this on your dog, it’s prudent to get to him to veterinarian to treat a possible respiratory infection.

My dog’s nose is dry. Now what?

Don’t panic if your furry bestie is sporting a dry nose. They occur for many reasons, many of which don’t mean you need to panic. Take a moment to assess why your dog’s nose may be dry.


For starters, consider your pup’s breed. As an example, my English Bulldog battles a dry nose, which is common among the breed and other short-snouted dogs. Some quick researching should help you decipher if that dry nose is just part of the bargain. It’s worth mentioning that any dog can be affected by a dry nose, so keep that in mind.

Dogs use their noses to understand the world around them. If you have a hound, you may notice that your dog’s nose dries out. That’s fine and will likely resolve on its own.


young cute bulldog with dry nose

Dry nose is common with certain breeds, like the Bulldog. Image: Daniel Hartwig

When a dry nose is more than just breed-specific

Not all dogs will experience a dry nose that can cause concern. If you notice that your dog’s nose has been dry for several days and he isn’t quite acting himself, it’s time consider what may be going on.

The myth says that a dry nose is a sign of a sick dog. Though this doesn’t have much merit in most cases, sometimes it holds true.


A dry nose can be the result of an allergy, pollen, mold, food, etc. This is usually accompanied by a red snout or irritation in the lips/jowls. While a dose of Benadryl (1 milligram for every pound) will usually clear it up, it’s good to know the cause. A trip to the vet is a good idea if you’re unsure what may have caused the reaction.

The good news is that the dry nose will likely resolve itself once you know what you dog is allergic to.

Autoimmune disorders

If you dog is experiencing a chronic dry nose, the underlying reason may be an autoimmune disorder, varying from lupus to pemphigus.

Your vet will need to draw blood and examine urine samples before diagnosing your pooch, but the peace of mind is well worth it. If your dog is diagnosed, your vet will be able to provide the best treatment plan for you.


Too much exposure to the sun isn’t good for you or your dog. Unfortunately, your dog can’t even protect himself with sunscreen. Heat and sunny days can quickly dry out your dog’s skin, with his nose taking a brunt of the burn.

If you and your dog are going to outside in the sun for an extended period of time, consider moisturizing your dog’s nose before exposure.


Depending on where you live, the weather may play a role in the case of your dog’s dry nose. Warm, dry regions zap the moisture from just about everything, including that cute puppy nose.

Likewise, cold, windy locations wreak havoc on skin and lips, and your dog is no exception. If you live at a high altitude or further north, keep moisturizer on hand for your pooch’s chapped nose.

How to treat your dog’s dry nose

The best way to treat your dog’s dry nose is through the inside. That means offering him a lot of water and ensuring he is well hydrated. While it’s not a cure-all, it’ll certainly help him in more ways than just soothing his flaky nose.


Oils are well-known for putting moisture and protective barriers back into the skin. They have the same effect on your dog’s nose. Vitamin E and coconut oils are common treatments for a dry dog nose and are rather inexpensive.

The best thing about oils is that they permeate the chapped, dry skin without containing any scent irritations. They contain multiple health benefits and can even be added to his diet.


Similar to oils, balms add moisture and soothe a dry nose. This thicker formula can be particularly beneficial when it comes to preventing sunburn, as the added thickness increases protection on the nose (and pads of the paws).

Three over-the-counter dry nose treatments worth trying

If you’ve ruled out allergies and autoimmune disorders as the cause for your dog’s dry nose, you have a plethora of treatment options available to you. Most are easy to get ahold of and can be found at any pet supply store and even drug stores.

Not all are created equal, with some having more success than others. Below are some options that you should consider.

Pawstruck Organic Nose and Paw Balm

This balm offers carefully selected ingredients like vitamin E oil, Jojoba oil and olive oil to heal your pup’s dry, cracked skin – particularly their nose, paws and elbows. As a salve cream, the Nose and Paw Balm rushes moisture back to your dog’s dry nose and even offers protection from the elements.

At a reasonable price, you can load your dog’s nose up on this balm daily or use it more sparingly to keep the dryness at bay.

Since the product contains a decent amount of oils, I recommend applying it in a single, thin layer twice daily to begin. You can begin to use it less often once desired results are achieved.


  • Organic ingredients
  • Provides moisture back to dry skin
  • Protects nose, paws and exposed skin from harsh elements
  • Made in the USA
  • Unscented
  • Easy application
  • Cost-effective


  • Greasy formula that may stain fabrics
  • Small amount of product (1.75 oz)

You can read more and buy Pawstruck Organic Nose and Paw Balm on Amazon.

Particular Paws Healing Balm for Paws and Snout

Full of natural ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera, and tea tree oil, this balm is truly the bomb. This fast-acting balm comes in both a jar and as a stick for easy application on the go.

This versatile formula conquers the day with its ability to be used on paws and snouts – with some dog owners reporting it does wonders for healing dry skin conditions and even mange.

Particular Paw Healing Balm should be applied liberally every day until the nose begins to soften and heal. You can expect to notice results in as little two days, making this cost-effective treatment a necessity in your doggie medical box.


  • Two formula options (jar and stick)
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Easy application
  • Multi-functional
  • Cost-effective
  • Safe for use on humans and other animals
  • Made in the USA


  • Greasy formula
  • Daily application needed for long-lasting results
  • Dogs have tendency to lick off the balm

You can read more reviews and purchase Particular Paws Healing Balm on Amazon.

Snout Magic Natural Nose Butter

This all-natural, organic formula claims that it can heal your pooch’s sore nose in 3 days. This coconut oil enriched balm should be applied three times a day for the first three days to obtain maximum results. While it may seem like a lot of wrestling your dog to get the balm applied, the instant relief it provides is well worth it.

To top it off, the formula is safe for other animals and humans even report it has great benefits. It’s worth mentioning that the Nose Butter is scented may not be best for dogs with sensitive senses of smell. (Hounds owners, be aware of your dog’s reaction).


  • All-natural, organic ingredients
  • Provides quick relief
  • Safe for humans and other animals
  • Made in the USA


  • Greasy formula
  • Must be applied three times daily for long-lasting effects
  • Scented (may irritate more sensitive noses)

Check out more pictures and buy Snout Magic Natural Nose Butter on Amazon.

black and white dog's nose close up

Keeping your dog’s nose moisturized is an important part of keeping them healthy. Image: montillon.a

Preventing future instances of a dry nose

While your dog may only experience a dry nose a handful of times in their life, it’s important to know how you can help prevent it from becoming a recurring issue.

In my case, my bulldog is just more prone to having a dry nose and it’s part of our daily life. As such, I have to make sure I give him the best possible chance of avoiding this discomfort.


The cleanliness of a dog plays a dual role when it comes to a dry nose. A dog that is outside in the elements often, nose to the ground and in the dirt, is much more likely to dry out his snout. Bathe your dog regularly to get any dirt and debris off their face to help prevent their nose from drying out.

Don’t over-bathe though, as this can have the opposite effect you want and dry out the skin more. For example, it’s recommended that wrinkly dogs are washed only once a month. Read up on your dog’s breed and see what’s recommended.

Don’t have time for a bath? No problem. Unscented baby wipes are great for giving your dog a quick clean-up after a dirty romp in the yard.

Monitor the condition of your dog’s nose

Above all, your own two eyes will help you the most. If you aren’t paying attention to your dog’s nose then you’ll never know if it’s dry/dirty/runny, etc. Apply oils and balms when you believe it’s necessary and only stop if there’s some sort of reaction or you achieve the desired results.

If you’re unsure whether you dog needs balm applied, feel free to consult other dog owners or dog experts.

Stay a know-it-all

This doesn’t mean you should ignore the advice of professionals or that you know more than anyone else, but I know that I am more familiar with my bulldog than anyone else. So while someone may see a perfectly fine nose, I may notice that Rowdy’s snout is looking a little chapped and needs attention.

Like any devoted dog mom, I do my best to help my dogs with anything and everything. That’s why I tried several products and regimens to treat Rowdy’s dry nose until I found something that worked and produced results. Remember, what works for us may not work (or be necessary) for everyone.

And while Rowdy can’t wait to escape my clutches and lick the balm off his nose, I know that it prevents him from discomfort and that makes it all worth it.

-Brooke Ketron

Brooke pretends to be a normal person with a full-time marketing job, but really she is the epitome of a “dog mom.” She obsesses over her two boys, Rowdy (English Bulldog) and Koda (Pit bull/Catahoula mix), and is often times found doting over them and purchasing way too many collars. When she’s not with her dogs, she’s with her bigger dogs…horses. 

Feature image: Viv Lynch