Alex Kava | All About Dogs

Does a dry nose mean a dog is sick?

Dogs depend on their sense of smell and a wet nose works better. The lining of your dog’s nose contains mucus-producing glands that keep the nasal passageways moist. Scent particles stick to moist surfaces, helping dogs interpret those scents. That’s one of the reasons dogs lick their noses is to help keep them clean. Also, a cool nose helps cool your dog on hot days.

So is a dry nose always a sign that something’s wrong with your dog? Not necessarily. Some things that might cause a dry nose:

—Your dog was napping.
—Dehydration from exercise.
—Aversion to plastic. This is more common than you might think. Years ago, my Miss Molly started having problems, and we discovered it was her new plastic bowl. Now I use glass or ceramic.
—Sunburn on a hot day. Yes, it can happen.
—Chapped nose on a cold day.
—Age. My Duncan started having a very dry, cracked nose. Using just a dab of olive oil or coconut oil helps.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet, especially if there are other symptoms or if your dog’s nose is chronically dry.