Causes and treatment of dry noses in dogs

April 13, 2012

It is commonly accepted that a wet nose is a sign of a dog’s good health. Does this mean that the dog’s dry nose should be a cause for concern? Given that the nose is one of the most used parts in a dog’s anatomy, it is not surprising for a dog’s nose to show some wear and tear. Dogs are noted for their ultra sensitive scenting ability. Sniffing here, sniffing there… unearthing buried bones and other doggie treasure… pushing doors and gates… not to mention being constantly immersed in food and water, would it be any wonder if a dog sports a dry chafed nose?

Dog owners should not be too concerned if the pet gets a dry nose. Dogs really do get dry noses from time to time. A dog that has been sleeping may have a dry nose especially if the pet has stayed in front of the fire for hours. A dry nose is usually observed when temperature changes. Being most exposed to the weather, the nose can get sunburned or damaged by the coldness of the wind and snow. This situation can be easily remedied with an application of petroleum jelly. This simple treatment is necessary to prevent the condition from worsening. The skin on the nose can crack if it gets excessively dry. Wounds will form and infection will set in. Cleansing the nose with warm soapy water and moisturizing with an application of a thin film petroleum jelly is important. Aloe is an effective treatment for dry sunburned nose as well.

When the dogs exhibits other symptoms such as scabbing, peeling and bleeding, when loss of pigmentation or dark spots or white patches appear on the dry nose, it is highly probable that the dog has a more serious health concern. Allergic reaction is one of the most common causes for dry nose. The dog will constantly paw the flaking skin. It is evident that the nose is itchy. Have you gifted the dog with a new red plastic water bowl? The dog’s dry nose can be due to an allergy to the chemicals used in manufacturing the plastic bowl. Clean and use the dented stainless steel bowl and see if Fido’s nose will return to its normal wet and cold state.

Prolonged nose dryness is another matter especially if the dog is showing other symptoms. Some dog’s dry nose would not only crack and bleed. The nose will also thicken and appears that something is growing on the skin. The scabs, the presence or loss of pigmentation on the nose must be examined by a vet as soon as possible. These can be signs of bacterial or fungal infection. It can also be a symptom of skin cancer. Dogs are sensitive to the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. Dogs similar to their human friends can have skin cancer. Since the nose is one of the body parts not covered with fur, the UV rays can touch the nose directly. The dryness of the nose can be a symptom of another disease. The vet may need to perform a biopsy to give the right diagnosis. The occurrence of skin cancer can be prevented by applying sunblock on the nose of the dog.

The blisters on the dry nose of a dog can burst and form crust that can cover the nostrils and make breathing difficult is a manifestation of Pemphigus foliaceus, an autoimmune skin disease. The dog’s dry nose in this case would certainly need a vet’s attention. Immunosuppressive medications, antibiotics and steroids are necessary to keep the disease under control.

The dry nose of a dog does not necessarily spell diseases. A dog’s nose gets moist to dry all the time. A pet owner though would need to be aware of other symptoms to prevent the development of other diseases.

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