Why Is My Dog’s Nose Warm & Dry? Does it Mean He is Sick?

 Last Updated on November, 2021

Do you care about keeping your dog healthy as much as the next pet parent? If so, you might be concerned after hearing that old wives’ tale about dog nose temperatures. 

But, wait! Before you head to your vet crying, “help! My dog nose is warm.” Mind that, that old wive’s tale is a pure myth!

A little hot or cold nose is not a reason to panic. So to help you further and debunk the popular myth, we’ve put together everything you should know about dog warm nose.

Scroll below to read more.

Do dog’s nose temperature/conditions matter?

Dogs warm nose

In short, no!

But many pet parents believe that a dog’s nose temperature matters. And it all started from a popular “dog nose” misconception when a deadly canine disease called distemper was common.

Back in the days of widespread distemper, a cold and wet nose was considered a healthy and distemper-free nose. That, of course, doesn’t work for all health conditions and is not an indicator of a healthy dog.

The Normal Dog’s Nose Temperature

The average temperature of a dog’s nose can keep fluctuating.

But there must be some baseline to decide what’s normal and what’s something to worry about? Of course, there is. The normal dog nose temperature ranges between 101 and 101.25. Your dog’s nose is normally the coldest part of your dog’s body because it has no fur.

But if you feel like your dog’s nose temperature is going drastically up and down, you must seek medical assistance.

Some Dog Nose Conditions

Your dog’s nasal conditions can vary from time to time. In addition, based on environmental conditions, your dog’s age, and other recent activities, they can mean different things.

Let’s take a look at all these different conditions.

Warm Nose

dog's nose is warm

Warm noses are not necessarily an indication that they are sick dogs. The reasons for a dog’s nose is warm can be:

  • Lying next to hot vent or hot surfaces
  • Sunburn
  • Heavy exercise

If your dog’s nose is getting super warm, dry, and he can’t stop panting, it’s a sign of a very dehydrated dog. Give him some water to drink. Later on, you can check your dog’s temperature and watch some potential allergic reaction’s symptoms.

But if your dog’s nose is releasing some abnormal discharge along with lethargy and cough. That’s something serious and can be an indicator of some severe illness, like, distemper, parvovirus, and kennel cough. 

Dog Moist Nose

Dog Moist Nose
A wet dog nose

A wet or moist dog nose is just another canine nose condition. Your pet doesn’t need critical care. It’s an indicator that your dog’s nose is perfectly healthy and is releasing its moisture properly. Dogs lick their nose to make them wet.

Now, why is your dog’s nose secreting the moisture? There can be several reasons for it. 

But the major reason is: wet noses work better to avoid health issues. 

The scent particles stick to keep the dog’s nose moist. Moreover, it also means interpretation of the different smells with the sense of taste.

First off, canines don’t have a sweat system like humans. They dissipate their body heat either through panting or through their footpads, but the canine nose also plays its role to cool down their bodies. Some other reasons for wet noses are:

  • Saliva produced while the nose licking action of your dog
  • Mucus
  • The normal watery fluid of your dog’s nostrils also helps him with the cooling process
  • The wetness that your canine might receive from moist surfaces (like puddles, plants, grass etc.) while digging into them

What does an overly wet nose mean?

Dogs wet Nose

Wet dog noses or moist noses can and cannot be problematic. Sadly, that’s not the case with overly wet dog noses, which can cause nasal disease. Call your vet if the nasal canals discharge from your dog’s nose has turned green, brown, or yellowish or has mucus in abundance. Immediately!

Your fido might have fallen prey to respiratory infection due to nasal discharge and need medical attention. Some foreign bodies have made their way to your dog’s nasal passage.

Dry Nose

You might wonder if a wet dog nose signifies that my dog’s nose is working fine. What about a dog’s dry nose? Well, as said before, nothing to worry about.

When your canine has a dry nose, it’s a sign that your fur baby is a little dehydrated, or it just couldn’t lick the nose. The reasons can be exposure to elements (sunlight or wind), strenuous exercise, or an energy wearing play session.

Dogs’ noses can also become dry with age, as aging can take its toll.

However, if your canine has a drier nose along with a high fever, he might be feeling lethargic. If so, you must check with your vet. Also, keep watch that your canine has not developed a sinus infection or autoimmune disease.

Cold dog Nose

Though dogs keep their noses often cool, you won’t find their noses always cool. Feel the temperature of your dog’s nose right after they have napped. 

Your dog’s nose can get cold because of excessive licking and moisture discharge. When dog’s lick noses, they leave a thin layer of moisture on your dog’s nose. This layer makes your dog’s nose cold. A cold, wet nose helps your canines pull important data while they are sniffing. (1)

My dog’s nose is warm today; does that mean he is sick?

Dog's nose is warm

So, you just found out that your dog’s dry nose is blowing warm air? Now you might be scratching your head as to whether your canine is sick or not.

There is no perfect answer unless you focus on the environmental conditions and your dog’s recent activities. Neither your dog’s moistness nor its warmness is a sign that your canine is healthy or not.

Healthy dogs can have warm or dry noses. On the other hand, they might be suffering from severe conditions and have a cold and moist nose. So, it’s not a reliable sign. It would be best if you also focused on other signs to determine your dog’s health — lack of appetite, odd behaviours, and not drinking water properly, for instance.

When should I be worried about my dog’s nose?

dry dog nose

Normally, a little warmer and a little colder dog nose alone are nothing to worry about. However, if your dog’s nose has some other symptoms, that can be worrisome.

Look at some abnormal nasal conditions below:

  • Sore and itchy nose
  • Dry nose
  • Crusty nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Constantly runny nose
  • Blood tinged discharge
  • High temperature

When your dog’s nose is warm, and the temperature goes extremely cold or warm along with these additional symptoms, they are telling the tale of some underlying health condition.

Also read: How to train a puppy?

FAQs:

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

A hot dog nose isn’t always a sign of trouble. Your dog’s nose can be hot for several reasons, like lying in front of the fireplace, getting sunburn, or need to drink water after the exercise session.

Should a dog’s nose be hot or cold?

A dog’s nose is usually cooler because it’s a part of its body that does not have any fur over it. Your dog’s nose doesn’t have to be too cold or too hot. However, it must maintain a temperature between 101 to 101.25.

How do you tell if a dog has a fever without a thermometer?

You can tell if your dog has a fever or not by examining your dog thoroughly. You can:

  • Feel your dog’s ears and paws. They should only be slightly warmer than your hands.
  • Check your dog’s nose and feel the temperature.
  • Feel your dog’s armpits and groin area.
  • Examine your dog’s gums.

Does a dog’s nose indicate health? 

Not really! Dog’s nose alone can’t indicate anything about your dog’s health. For example, it can sometimes get hot or get cold. But if your dog’s nose shows some unusual conditions, be alert and plan a vet visit soon.

What is an unhealthy dog nose? 

Overly cracked or dry skin of the nose, soaring, and unreasonably discharging nose is an unhealthy nose.

Conclusion

The alternating dog nose conditions tell you about a CHANGE in your dog’s body. However, that change is not necessarily always bad. So, whenever you notice a variation in your dog’s nose temperature or apparent condition, focus on all the potential factors that might cause the change.

If something feels abnormal or you feel like an emergency, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. 

Only an experienced vet can let you know whether your dog needs medical assistance or not.

REFERENCES:

  1. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/why-do-dogs-have-wet-noses
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