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Dry nose/wet nose. When to worry & when not to.


Photo courtesy of Randy Son of Robert
I recently did an article talking about how cold weather can cause dry skin problems for your dog. It can be found here if you missed it.
Today, I'm going to cover a related topic - dry noses...and wet noses, too.
Dry nose
Various things can make your dog's nose dry, and the dryness isn't necessarily an indication of something being wrong.
Allergies or sensitivity to plastic are two things that can cause your dog to have a dry nose.
Since most dog bowls are plastic, your pet could be exposed to this irritation on a daily basis. A quick and easy fix is to switch to stainless steel or ceramic bowls.
For allergies, check with your vet to see if it's okay to give your dog a low dose of Benadryl, or some other comparable allergy medication.
Another common culprit is sunburn. Some people don't think about it, but dogs can get sunburn just like humans can.
The easiest way to reduce chances of suburn are to reduce your pet's exposure to the sun (and this includes laying next to big window with the light streaming in), use sunscreen, and put them in dog sun suits that provide UV protection.
In terms of sunscreen, it's generally better to use something that is either made for dogs or babies instead of using adult sunscreen because dogs, with their smaller body mass, could have adverse reactions to the adult dosages of some ingredients.
Unfortunately, not all causes of dry nose are as innocent. If your dog's dry nose lasts longer than a couple of days in combination with:
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased or no appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

then get him to the Vet because it could be a sign of something more serious, like infection or a dermatological problem such as pemphigus foliaceus (a severe skin disease that is characterized by pustules and blisters that rupture).

Wet nose

Why are dog noses wet? One theory is that a dog's nose is wet because the dog constantly licks it. Another belief is that a dog's nose needs moisture to help capture scents. Either way, there's nothing wrong with your dog having a wet nose.

However, if your dog has a runny nose accompanied by coughing, sneezing, wheezing and difficulty breathing then a visit to the vet is a good idea. Your dog may have a respiratory infection, an obstruction in its nose or a tumor in the nasal passage.

Coming Soon

We touched on the issue of sunburn in this article, and with Summer fast approaching, I think it might be a good idea to get a little more in-depth with that topic so keep an eye out for that article in the real near future.

My latest article on how to help your pets avoid sunburn can be found here.

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