The nose is such an important part of the dog’s body and they rely on it for their amazing sense of smell.

To maximize the absorption of different scents, your dog will lick his nose several times a day.

Combined with nasal fluids and tears, your dog’s nose will always stay moist to attract those scent particles and cool him down.

But sometimes things can go wrong and the nose could become dry, cracked or swollen.

A change in pigmentation or even bleeding will affect all dog owners.

While the nose cannot be considered a single indicator of your pet’s health, this additional symptom can give you some clues.

Below I have collected 10 types of “unhealthy” dog noses and what conditions they might indicate.

1. Dry dog ​​nose

Although dog noses are generally moist and cool, discovering dry skin on the nose is not necessarily a cause for concern and does not mean that your dog is sick.

A dog’s nose can definitely be drier from time to time, especially if he has just woken up or has been playing outside.

If your dog hasn’t been drinking enough or has been suffering from vomiting / diarrhea, he may develop a dry nose due to mild dehydration.

Dog nose wrapped in white blankets

Some dogs are really bad drinkers, so you may want to look into hacks that will trick your dog into drinking more water.

It is really important to regularly moisturize your dog’s paws and nose to prevent them from drying out.

Additionally, dryness can indicate fever, allergies, and various autoimmune diseases.

You must always look at your dog as a whole.

If a dry nose is accompanied by lethargy, vomiting, or loss of appetite, you will need to contact your veterinarian.

2. Cracked dog nose

When dogs’ noses become severely dry, they may break or become wobbly.

Again this probably just means that your dog’s nose may be using a good moisturizer, but it doesn’t hurt to consider the possibility that it may indicate an underlying health condition.

One such condition is called nasal hyperkeratosis in which an excessive amount of scab forms on a dog’s nose with no known cause.

It is not a dangerous condition and applying a moisturizer 2-3 times a day should be enough to remove the scab.

Dry eyes are another possible cause, and you may be wondering how this could affect the moisture level of the nose.

Dogs actually have narrow tubes that allow tears to drain from the eyes to the nose and mouth.

Clogged tear ducts could then, among other things, result in a dry, cracked nose.

3. Runny dog ​​nose

Just like humans, dogs can also have a runny nose.

This is most commonly caused by allergies to pollen, food, chemicals, or other irritants.

The discharge is often watery and clear and accompanied by other symptoms such as swollen eyes, coughing, difficulty breathing, and watery eyes.

A runny nose can occur during the spring which would indicate seasonal allergies or after your dog has come into contact with a certain tissue.

Seasonal allergies can be managed with oral medications that contain antihistamines as needed.

Food allergies are also fairly easy to spot, but finding the one ingredient your dog is allergic to can be really difficult.

The only way to eliminate food allergies is to feed a special diet which usually consists of an uncommon source of meat (kangaroo, venison) and a carbohydrate.

The combinations of ingredients will be tested within a certain trial period until you are able to find the culprit.

This is obviously best done with a certified pet nutritionist or a veterinarian who specializes in canine nutrition.

If your dog’s nasal discharge is unclear and runny, read more on this topic below.

4. Pigmentation of the dog’s nose

Whenever there is a visible change in your dog’s body, it is something you should look into.

While most pigmentation changes are harmless, they can still tell you something about your dog.

During your dog’s life, he may develop a completely different nose color than when he was a puppy.

Pink or neutral-toned noses are a common occurrence in puppies and young dogs and most will outgrow that color.

This is a normal process and no cause for concern.

Similar to pink noses, some breeds may develop different colors depending on the seasons.

There is something called a dudley nose which is the result of the loss of pigmentation due to disease or environmental influences.

The usually black nose begins to turn pink in the middle, widening outward to cover most of the nose.

Breeds like the Siberian Husky or the Labrador Retriever can also develop a snowy or winter nose that reverts to its natural color in the spring.

As previously mentioned, nasal hyperkeratosis can also lead to pigmentation changes including unhealed sores and peeling.

Close up of my Rottweiler's black nose and the area surrounding the healthy dog's nose.
My Rottweiler’s nose after a nap

5. Dog’s warm nose

Since dog noses are generally cold, feeling the heat on your dog’s nose can be very disturbing.

Fortunately, a hot dog nose is rarely a cause for concern and only has a few underlying problems.

Typically, if you notice a rise in temperature, your dog has been lying in the sun for too long.

While this is easily fixed, prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to overheating, so always be careful when your dog is sunbathing.

If it’s not hot outside or your dog hasn’t been exposed to direct sunlight, it can also mean he has a fever.

However, a hot nose doesn’t mean your dog is sick.

A dog’s nose temperature fluctuates by the hour, so this isn’t necessarily an indicator of your dog’s health.

6. Bumps on the dog’s nose

The bumps usually pop out of blue and can look like red, super inflamed cysts or they can be small and toned skin.

Most of them go away on their own, but others can be more troubling.

Rapid skin growth of any type should always be closely monitored to see if it changes and how annoying it is for your dog.

Dogs stick their noses everywhere and are sometimes bitten by insects, poison ivy, or nettles.

Histiocytoma and papilloma, for example, seem incredibly concerning but, fortunately, they are benign skin cancers most commonly seen in dogs under the age of 3.

However, there are other skin cancers that are more harmful, so it is always advisable to take a biopsy and, if necessary, remove a lump or bump.

7. Dog nose bleeding

Something a dog would never want to see come out of their pet’s nose is blood.

A bloody nose is most commonly caused by trauma or an upper respiratory tract infection.

If your dog has been in an accident, immediate veterinary attention will be needed.

You can try to stop the bleeding by placing an ice pack wrapped on your dog’s nose without covering the nostrils.

Other causes can include foreign bodies, toxins, autoimmune diseases, cancers, high blood pressure, fungal infections, and more.

Breeds such as the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever can suffer from congenital bleeding disorders, a genetically inheritable disease.

8. Swollen dog nose

A swollen dog nose can have many underlying causes that can result in inflammation.

Sudden swelling may indicate an allergic reaction to pollen, food, medications, insect bites, or toxins.

Often the eyelids and muzzle are also swollen and red and irritated skin can be seen.

Dental problems such as broken teeth or abscesses can also cause facial swelling.

Look for any foreign objects that got stuck in your dog’s nose and take him to the vet for a clean extraction.

A tumor in and around the passage of the nose also leads to swelling, but is most commonly indicated by nasal discharge containing pus, blood, and mucus.

Vizsla with pink nose

9. Nose of a sunburnt dog

Anyone who has ever experienced a sunburn in their life probably remembers how uncomfortable and sore it feels.

While dogs are almost completely covered in fur, there are still some spots that can get sunburn just like your own skin.

A light-colored, fair-skinned dog is at an increased risk of getting burned.

Ares around the ears, eyes, belly and nose are particularly prone to irritation.

If you notice redness or cracked skin on your dog’s nose, it may be time to remove it from direct sunlight.

Your dog may also scratch or excessively lick his nose.

In severe cases there may be peeling of the skin or blisters which are definitely very uncomfortable for a dog’s sensitive nose.

Some common home remedies include aloe vera and coconut oil, but it’s always best to take your dog to the vet.

10. Small nostrils

The nostrils are the only two openings capable of letting air into the lungs.

It goes without saying that in order to get sufficient airflow, the nostrils must be of a certain size in both humans and dogs.

Narrow nostrils, also called stenotic nostrils, are part of the BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome) that most commonly affects brachycephalic breeds.

There are a total of 24 dog breeds with this conformation including Bulldog, Pug, Boxer, French Bulldog and Boston Terrier.

If you own one of these breeds, you may have already noticed the small nostrils which are the result of a shortened skull and longer lower jaw.

Dogs with narrow nostrils often snore, pant constantly, and cannot be as active as other dogs.

They can also suffer from skin or eye diseases and even neurological and behavioral problems.

If your dog suffers a lot from stenotic nostrils, surgery is a possible option to widen the nostrils and promote better airflow.

Weight should be closely monitored in these breeds and you should also change the collar to a harness that isn’t as constricting.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for veterinary attention and is not meant to. If your dog shows any signs of illness, call your vet immediately.