How Well Do You Know Your Dog’s Nose?

Do you ever wonder what your dog’s nose is trying to tell you? If you’re like most pet owners you worry when something seems off with your pet. When do you know if your dog’s nose is too wet or too dry, too warm or too cool?

Keep in mind a healthy dog's nose can fluctuate between wet and dry several times over the course of a day. Just like we can experience dry noses with our allergies or changes in temperature or weather, dogs can experience similar dry noses. And there are many reasons your dog can have a dry, warm nose that have nothing to do with their health. Here are things that you should look for:

What Does A Dry Nose Mean?

As we said above a dry nose doesn’t always mean your dog is sick, but it can indicate an underlying issue such as an allergy or irritant. A dry nose is definitely uncomfortable for your pooch and interferes with their ability to smell. When a dry nose is left untreated it could go from bad to worst, drying out and forming crusty scabs that flake off and could create bleeding. BUT there are some things you can do before that happens.

Take note. When is your dog’s nose is dry, is it only during certain times of the day or year? How long have you noticed a dry dog nose? Taking note of the details can help you discover the cause. Many different things can contribute to a dry nose including weather, dehydration, allergies and more. These are a few leading causes:

  • Weather. Either extreme heat or cold can contribute to a dry nose. Exposure to the sun can cause your dog’s nose to get sunburned. During the winter the skin is also prone to drying out, especially if your dog spends a lot of time keeping warm by the heater.
  • Allergies. Your dog could be sensitive to food, plastic water dishes or toys, household cleaning products, personal care products you use on your dog etc.Organic Nose Butter
  • Dehydration. 

If it’s weather causing the issue, there are simple steps you can do to prevent your dog’s nose from drying out. Our Certified Organic Button Nose Butter is perfect for providing relief and soothing your pups nose. Our all-natural ingredients work to sooth and heal dry irritated skin plus our organic nose butter is 100% safe and won’t irritate the skin further or trigger any allergies. If your dooggy’s nose gets sunburnt our organic nose butter will help relieve the pain. In the future to prevent a sun burnt nose look for natural sun protection for dogs to apply before he/she goes out in the sun.

Allergies happen to be a leading cause of dry noses and dog allergies to plastic happens to be the most common. If your dog drinks or eats from a plastic bowl, replace it with a non-plastic option. If your pup plays with plastic toys remove them and see if it makes a difference. Food can also be triggering an allergic reaction. If you make some changes and you don’t see a difference it’s time to call a vet. A vet can help you pin point the underlying cause.

If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, you should take him/her to the vet immediately. Learn more about dog dehydration here.

If your dog's nose is more than just dry and is cracked, has scabs or sores he/she may have a skin disorder. Ask your veterinarian to check him/her out to ensure everything is okay. Keep in mind some dogs are just prone to dry noses and no matter how many times you visit the vet you can’t change that, but you can supply them relief with our Organic Button Nose Butter.

What Does Nasal Discharge Mean?

Clear Discharge

Generally, you don't have to worry about clear nose discharge in dogs unless it lingers or there are other symptoms. If there's a lingering clear nasal discharge from your dog's nose, chances are good it's caused by allergies, by far the most common reason for abnormal nasal secretions in dogs. A dog's allergy symptoms don't stop at a runny nose; they can also include sneezing, coughing, itchiness, nosebleeds, and breathing problems. Best to avoid the allergy trigger. If you don’t know the trigger talk to your vet about an allergy test.

Mucus or Pus

A nose discharge of mucus or pus could indicate your dog has a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Additional signs of an infection might include a bad odor, a nosebleed, and coughing or choking resulting from postnasal drip. You should call your vet.

Yellow Discharge

Distemper can cause a sticky, yellow nose discharge in dogs, and while symptoms may vary, distemper can also cause fever, pneumonia, and twitching and convulsions. You should call your vet.


Could be a possible sign of a blockage. A discharge from just one of your dog's nostrils is often a sign there's something stuck in that nostril, like a seed or blade of grass. Other signs include sneezing or pawing at the nose.

If you can easily see what's in your dog's nose, carefully remove it with tweezers. If you can't or don't feel comfortable -- the nose can bleed a lot with minor trauma -- call your vet, who may need to sedate your pet to dislodge the blockage, and then prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection.

Blood, pus, or mucus can also be a sign that your dog has nasal polyps (overgrown mucus-producing glands) or nasal tumors. Other signs include noisy breathing or a bulge on one side of the nose. Your pet’s appetite may decrease, as well. If your dog has these symptoms you should call your vet.

Some dogs, just like dry noses, are more prone to nasal discharge than others, including flat-faced breeds and dogs with soft, floppy nose cartilage. Noisy breathing can be another sign of nostril issues. See your vet if your dog sounds like he/she has trouble breathing.

Nose Pigmentation Change

The color of a dog's nose will vary from dog to dog depending on the breed. It can be black, brown, liver, pink, or the same color as its coat. Sometimes a dog's nose can start off one color and change to another as it ages. Puppies are often born with pink noses, which later darken. What does it mean when a dog's nose loses its pigment turning pink or white? Changes in the nose’s tissue can potentially indicate a deeper health issue, but this is not always the case.

Changes in pigment can also be correlated with a dog’s breed, age, environmental exposure, etc.

  • Weather is the most common reason a dog's nose loses its pigment is called winter nose or snow nose. Some dog's noses change colors from a dark color to pink in cold weather; turning dark once again when the weather gets warmer. Usually when the nose changes color due to the weather it only partially changes pink. Snow nose seems to be directly related to the temperature and is harmless to the dog.
  • As your dog gets older he may lose pigment.
  • If a dog experiences some kind of trauma such as a scrape or abrasion, the nose can turn pink as it heals. The pigment will usually return after a while.
  • Bacterial Infection can lighten the color of the nose. You may see other symptoms as well, the nose may appear inflamed, sore or crusty. You definitely want to contact a vet.
  • Allergies could cause color change as well. In this case you might want to do some investigative work, like discussed above with dry nose.

Although changScreen Shot 2016-05-03 at 6.00.09 PMes in color of your dog’s nose may not always be harmful to your pup, you should always address these changes with your vet to exclude any serious issues. Learn more about doggy nose colors here.

Your dog’s nose can provide hints that can help you understand his/her needs better. Checking your dog’s nose should be a normal part of your at-home wellness exam. Getting acquainted with the look and shape of your pet's nose when it's healthy is important, because then you'll be able to determine when a problem pops up and it becomes unhealthy.