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Caring for your Dog’s Dry Nose

German ShepherdThere can be various reasons why your dog may develop a dry nose. From changes in the weather to becoming intolerant to things, these can make that smooth, moist nose turn into a rough, dry sniffer. Although it can be normal for your dog’s nose to go dry from time to time and dry noses don’t always equal a sick dog, if left unattended to they can rapidly go from bad to worse as drying out will cause scabs that will flake off and bleed – this can be very uncomfortable for your canine companion. Dry noses will interfere with your dog’s ability to smell and they can be an indication of an underlying issue such as an allergy or irritant.

Allergies

A main cause for your dog’s dry nose could be due to allergies. Understanding what your dog is allergic to whether it be food or environment changes is vital as this will help you tackle the problem for many years to come. Symptoms of dry noses include, scabbing, peeling and bleeding – you may also notice loss of pigment appear in the nose such as dark spots or white patches. To relieve the itchiness of the dry nose, your dog will possibly paw at his nose causing the skin to flake and scabs to fall off which can become very sore and cause him major discomfort.

If you notice that your dog only gets a dry nose around the same time each year, then it is most likely that they have allergies to the environment such as when pollen levels are high causing them to develop hayfever. If this is the case, then you can only really help your dog by keeping their nose well moisturised with a touch of Vaseline.

Food can also play a huge part in your dog’s dry nose problem. If you think your dog could be allergic to his food or any treats you may be giving him then you would need to do an elimination diet for around twelve weeks to determine the ingredient he is allergic to and the root of the problem for the dry nose. Unlike blood tests, the elimination diet is not only pain free but also cost-free and will help your pet get back on the road to recovery. The best way to start the elimination process is to feed your dog a grain free food with a single protein source - ideally a protein that your dog has never tried before. In the twelve-week period, you should solely feed just the chosen food this would mean no treats or human food whatsoever as this could introduce allergens back into their diet making the elimination diet unsuccessful. If symptoms get better during this time, then you can allow other protein sources or treats back into the diet – do this one at a time so that if the problem occurs again then you know what ingredient is causing the issues and you can discontinue it immediately. It would be ideal to keep a diary of what and when you introduced things back into your dog’s diet so that you don’t lose track.

Another known allergen for your dog can be plastic. If your dog has a plastic bowl then this should be changed to stainless steel or ceramic and all plastic toys should be replaced with hard rubber toys.

Sleeping

When your dog is awake they tend to lick their nose frequently, so this will keep it smooth and moist. So naturally when your dog is sleeping, he is not licking his nose which will cause it to dry up. This is nothing to worry about as it is completely normal and should re-gain moisture again in around ten minutes of them waking up from their nap.

Climate

In the colder months, your dog will find a warm corner next to the radiator or bask in front of the fire. This can cause dry noses from the warm air and can cause the nose to become cracked – avoid letting your pet sit too close to the heating sources to stop that sniffer becoming sore.

On the other hand, when the sun outside is cracking flags it could also be cracking your canine’s nose. Dogs with pink noses or lighter fur are most likely to be prone to sunburn – so it is always advised that you keep your dog out of the sun for long periods of time however, when they are exposed to the rays make sure you apply a thin layer of sun cream to the nose. Sun burn causes a dry, flaky, crusty nose and can be extremely sore for your pet.

Remember, dry noses can’t always be cured by yourself as they could be an indication of an underlying health problem therefore you would need to consult your vet.

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