It is often not a big deal if your dog’s nose is a bit dry. However, if your dog seems uncomfortable, if there is nasal discharge, or if there’s a change in the appearance of your dog’s nose, you should be concerned because these are signs that a dry nose is more than just a dry nose.
The least worrisome conditions that can cause dogs to have a dry nose are hyperkeratosis and blocked tear ducts.
Hyperkeratosis is common in aging dogs and occurs when keratin, a protein in dog noses, builds up. Hyperkeratosis can be uncomfortable, but keeping the nose moisturized can help. If the keratin buildup is excessive, your veterinarian will trim some of the hardened tissue to allow the moisturizing agents to work better.
Blocked tear ducts occur when mucous, swelling from inflammation, or infection blocks your dog’s tear duct. The symptoms to watch for are dry nose and excessively watery eyes. Your veterinarian can treat the condition aggressively by flushing the tear ducts under general anesthesia. They can also dislodge a mucous plug with a repeated, gentle, circular massage under the inside corner of your dog’s eyes.
The serious causes of a dry nose in dogs include infection, autoimmune disease, cancer, and dry eye syndrome. It would be best to consult your veterinarian if your dog develops a dry nose that persists or worsens over time.