What You Need to Know About Dog Dry Nose
Animals use their noses for more than just breathing. It is also involved in thermoregulation and environmental information gathering through the sense of smell. There is an opinion that a dry nose in a dog indicates that he has a disease. But it is not that simple, because throughout the day the humidity and temperature of the nose varies for a variety of reasons. Therefore, do not jump to conclusions and use this fact to assess the overall condition.
In this article we’ll look at why an adult dog or puppy has a dry nose, what the causes are, what the owner should do, and also talk about other conditions: a dry, warm, hot nose and others. But first, let’s find out what veterinarians consider a normal nasal condition for our pets.
Dry Nose For Puppies and Adult Dogs: the Basics
- The temperature and humidity of a dog’s nose can vary throughout the day in normal circumstances.
- Some of the causes of a dry nose in dogs include: physical activity, climatic conditions, infrequent moistening during sleep, high temperatures due to infectious diseases for example, and various dermatological problems.
- A dry, hot nose is not a sign that a dog is not feeling well.
- A dry nose is more common for puppies than for adults, due to a puppy not yet fully developed thermoregulatory system.
- If you suspect a health problem, contact the veterinarian.
What Should a Dog’s Nose Normally Be?
As mentioned above, a dog’s nose can normally be dry or wet, warm, hot or cold during the day.
In adult animals it is mostly moist and cool because the mucous membrane of the nose has cells that secrete mucus that helps the dog detect many smells and regulate its body temperature.
In puppies the nose is dry more often. In addition, all animals should have a clean and discharge-free nose.
Why a Dog May Have a Dry Nose – 8 Reasons
In the vast majority of cases a dry nose in an otherwise normal environment is completely normal and most likely nothing to worry about, as the actual temperature and humidity of this organ depends on many external and internal factors.
However, if the dog is restless, excessive nasal licking, coughing, sneezing, changes in the texture of the nose in the form of cracks and crusts, lethargy, lesions on other skin areas or any other abnormal behaviour are noted, you should talk to your vet about the cause of that abnormality.
If your dog has a dry nose – there’s nothing to worry about if he’s behaving normally
A dog’s environment and climate have a great impact on the nose’s appearance. In a wetter environment his nose will hold on to moisture more easily, whereas in an arid place it is more likely to become hot and the skin on it can become chapped.
A scorching sun, a windy day or hot and very dry flat air (especially often in winter) can make the nose warm.
Similarly, it can dry out if the pet has been lying in the sun or near a heating element, such as a radiator. This condition is usually a temporary phenomenon, but with prolonged exposure to the sun, wind or extreme temperatures, detrimental effects occur.
As we’ve written before, a dog’s nose helps regulate its body temperature. Intense exercise contributes to a rise in temperature and can lead to a warm, dry nose in the dog due to the evaporation of moisture from its surface.
Brachycephalic breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, cannot lick their noses well due to the structure of their skull. These dogs often develop a lumpy, hard, chalky, cracked, rough nose.
Animals generally do not lick or drink water while sleeping. Consequently, the surface of the dog’s nose is not moistened and it remains dry and warm upon awakening.
As a rule, a dog’s nose is hot and dry immediately after waking up
One of the characteristics of young animals is that their body’s thermoregulatory system is not yet fully developed, which causes the nose to be drier and warmer in puppies than in adults.
In older dogs it is more likely to be so due to a decline in the glands that produce moisturising substances.
Dry nose in a dog can be a consequence of old age
Quite often viral or bacterial diseases cause the animal’s body temperature to rise, which causes the dog’s nose to become hot and the dog to become sluggish and have a reduced appetite.
Too much sun exposure can cause your dog’s nose to turn red, hot and dry and crusty. Pets with pale or pink noses and thinner coats are the most susceptible to sunburn, but in general any dog can get sick if exposed to the sun for too long.
There are many skin conditions that are caused by various causes, and that accompany dry noses in dogs.
Among them, a few of the most common conditions can be mentioned:
- Hyperkeratosis is a condition caused by an overgrowth of skin cells on the surface of a dog’s nose. This accumulation of extra tissue forms a crust and the nose becomes thickened, dry and cracked.
- Autoimmune diseases – Diseases in which the immune system attacks healthy body tissues. Among the most common problems, leaf blistering and discoid lupus erythematosus can be included in this group. These diseases alter the surface of the dog’s nose, causing it to dry out, form crusts, cracks and even bleed.
When a dog’s dry nose is caused by non-hazardous causes, diagnosis is usually unnecessary. But in all cases of doubt, the pet owner is best advised to make an in-person visit to the clinic.
At the veterinarian’s office, everything begins with a detailed medical history of the pet, gathered from the owner’s words and examination of the animal. The veterinarian should have a clear picture of what’s going on: whether the pet is vaccinated and treated against parasites or not, when the symptoms appeared, how it eats, etc.
Many infectious diseases can be ruled out by specific tests for bacteria, viruses and fungal pathogens (e.g. PCR test).
If various dermatological problems are suspected, material is taken from the affected area for cytological and/or histological examination.
If the general condition of the pet is severe, standard laboratory and instrumental examinations are performed if necessary: clinical blood count and serum biochemistry, chest and head x-rays, abdominal ultrasound.
What to Do if My Dog Has a Dry Nose?
- A treatment plan is drawn up based on the information obtained during the examination of the pet. If the dog’s nose is only warm and there is no change in behaviour, veterinary help will probably not be required.
- Special balms based on petroleum jelly, olive oil etc. are used to moisten the nose.
- Treatment for infectious diseases will depend on the severity of the symptoms of the underlying disease. Symptomatic therapy as well as antibacterial preparations are used.
- For dermatological diseases, depending on the symptoms, veterinarians administer anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs to artificially suppress the immune system, which, among other things, reduce itching and tissue swelling. Local treatments with antiseptic solutions are also prescribed and a hypoallergenic diet may be recommended.
As noted above, the temperature, humidity or dryness of the nose cannot be used to determine 100% whether a pet is healthy or not.
Therefore, attention should be paid to other symptoms: profuse nasal discharge, nasal skin peeling, cracks, redness and swelling of the tissues adjacent to the nasal cavity, excessive nasal licking, sneezing, etc.
- An optimum environmental condition must be created in the dog’s habitat: air must be moistened and the habitat must be aired periodically.
- Sunscreen or moisturizing creams can be applied to prevent burns or severe drying of the nasal surface.
- Some infectious diseases can be prevented by annual vaccinations.
- It is important to ensure that fresh, clean water is available at all times.
- Regular health checks (checkups) should be arranged at the veterinary clinic, which can be combined with the annual vaccinations. These can help to detect health problems at an early stage and help your pet more quickly.
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