Why My Dog’s Nose Is Warm and Dry?

My Dog's Nose Is Warm and Dry. Photo of a closeup of a warm and dry dog's nose.

If your dog has poked their nose in your face (again) and you’ve noticed that it is warm and dry rather than wet, you might be concerned! Here’s what you should know about your dog’s nose health!

A warm and dry nose is perhaps unusual but not a reason to panic. The causes can include dehydration, weather conditions, just waking up, or mild conditions like dry eye, sunburn, or a fever. If you notice that a warm and dry nose is persistent and other symptoms go along with it, it could be something more serious requiring a vet visit, such as an autoimmune disease.

Why is my dog’s nose dry?

As introduced above, there are quite a few widespread reasons why your dog’s nose is warm and dry. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Dehydration
  • Weather/external factors
  • He’s just woken up
  • Sunburn
  • Dry eye

Dehydration

When your dog has had all sorts of fun playing outside and exercising, he’s most likely dehydrated. If he happens to present his nose to you before he’s had a chance to drink, you’ll likely notice that it is warm and dry. Once he rehydrates, you should notice his nose becomes moist again quickly! 

Weather/external factors

If your dog is spending time outside in the winter, or it’s otherwise windy and cool, his nose will show it! A nose that is exposed to the elements will become dry and quite often warm. Since he can’t regulate his temperature, his nose is the first to take on the weather’s symptoms. If he gets a lot of exposure to the weather, you’ll find that this nose will stay that way for a bit and can even become cracked over time! 

This is part of why nose balms exist— for those dogs exposed to conditions that generally need some moisturizing needs for those sensitive sniffers!

He’s just woken up

When your dog’s been napping hard, he won’t be lickings his nose. When he just wakes up, his nose will be warm and dry since he was resting. Since many dogs reflexively lick their noses shortly after waking, most of us don’t realize this is an everyday occurrence for dogs.

Sunburn

Dogs get sunburnt just as much as humans do! Since their nose isn’t covered by fur, it will become sunburnt much faster than most people realize. A sunburnt nose will be warm, dry, and often flake as it fades and the skin heals again.

Dry eye

When your dog is dealing with dry eye, you’ll often find that his nose is dry, too! This happens a lot with humans though it’s the lips rather than the nose! This is common with certain dog breeds that are naturally prone to dry eyes.

Is it bad if my dog’s nose is warm and dry?

It’s understandable if you are concerned about your dog’s seemingly random and sudden change in nose temperature. However, it is rarely a bad thing in and of itself. If you keep an eye on your dog’s nose throughout the day (over a few weeks or so), you’ll find that it circulates through a few schedules and systems and will regulate itself.

In rare cases, a constantly warm nose that doesn’t seem to change at all could be a problem. If blended with ha fever, it could be an illness that he is fighting off. In rare cases, it can be a symptom of an autoimmune disease. 

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This is something that your vet will need to check either way, so it’s a good idea to call them in when you notice that the nose is warm and dry with no reprieve.

Is a dog sick when his nose is warm?

This is a myth that many well-intentioned dog parents believe. A warm nose is just a “worn out” dog enjoying himself more often than not. While humans will often be fighting off something when they have a warm forehead, a dog’s nose does not work the same way.

What does it mean if my dog’s nose is warm?

Other than the reasons mentioned above for a dog’s nose to be warm, there are a few other not as common reasons to be aware of. These include:

  • Sores/cuts on the nose
  • Allergies
  • The house is too warm

Sores/cuts on the nose

When a dog has sores and cuts on its nose, the nose itself will dry out. Their body will work to recover from the sore or cut, which means “irritating” the skin around it. A human’s sore or rash will be much the same way. Since dogs use their noses for all sorts of things, this is a very common problem! Keep an eye on the sore or cut, and call your vet if you are unsure.

Allergies

If your dog has allergies, he may have a dry nose. Most dogs react with their skin in hives and rashes, even when suffering from food allergies. A dry and warm nose (with or without hives) can be a symptom of an allergy!

The house is too warm

Sounds weird, right? Remember, though, that a dehydrated dog will often have a warm and dry nose. When a house is too warm, and the dog is sweating through his paw pads to help get comfortable, he will be dehydrated, and this will lead to a warn and dry nose. 

This is very likely in those with forced-air furnaces or homes where a dog’s preferred sleeping spot is near an electric heater or even a fireplace. 

When to be concerned about a dog’s warm and dry nose

If you want to make sure that you’re prepared for every possibility (an excellent idea for responsible pet parents,) here are a few other symptoms to watch for in your dog when it comes to noticing a seemingly abnormal wet and dry nose:

  • Fever/chills
  • Lack of appetite
  • Colored mucus
  • Bleached gums/eyelids/ears

If you notice any or all of these signs in your dog, you’ll want to take them to a vet. These are signs of an infection or perhaps a doggy flu, or even something more severe as a chronic health condition. The more of these you notice, the faster you need to get him in for a check-up to make sure that everything is okay. Make sure that you take note of the symptoms and an approximate timeline for how long your dog has had them. This will help your vet get a better idea of what’s going on.

A dry and warm nose is not a reason for immediate concern, but you will want to look at what might be causing it so that you can make any changes needed to get your dog back to feeling their best.

Finally

When a dog’s nose is warm and dry, it’s most commonly caused by dehydration, the weather (or heating in your home), just waking up for a nap, or even mild conditions such as a sunburn or dry eye. Understanding when it’s harmless and when it’s potentially severe is going to be crucial for helping take proper care of your dog!

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Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.