French Bulldog Dry Nose Problems: Remedies for Crust & Cracks


french bulldog dry nose

One of the more common beliefs surrounding dogs is that if they have a cold, wet nose, it’s an indication that they’re healthy. Conversely, if you notice your beloved French Bulldog has a warm and dry nose, should you be alarmed? And what about a dry and cracked nose with a crusty appearance; what does this mean?

In this guide to French Bulldog nose problems, I am going to take you through when to worry and what’s normal. It will also include some tried and tested French Bulldog dry nose remedy solutions that will help your pup deal with the dryness.

But firstly, let’s get some basic questions and concerns out of the way.

Why does my French Bulldog have a dry nose? A French Bulldog with a dry nose can be down to a reaction to the weather, indoor heating, or an allergy. In most cases a dry nose doesn’t mean your Frenchie has a health problem unless accompanied by other symptoms. 

Why is my French Bulldog’s nose crusty? If your Frenchie has a dry and crusty nose, it could be a case of nasal hyperkeratosis. Extreme dryness develops when the nose tissues starts to dry to the extreme, get crusty, and develop layers of excessive crusty tissue. 

I will be talking more in depth about nasal hyperkeratosis in French bulldogs towards the lower half of this guide to nose problems.

French Bulldog nose problems

Now let’s get more into the detail on when you should be concerned and what you can do to remedy any problems.

If your Frenchie has a warm, dry nose, it can be a little alarming, especially since one of the drawbacks to owning one of these charming little dogs is that they are prone to a plethora of health risks (see all health problems here).

That said, does a dry nose indicate you have a sick pup on your hands?

Generally, no. Although a chronically dry nose can be uncomfortable for your Frenchie, a dry nose is typically not a strong indicator of your dog’s health unless accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of appetite.

If you notice any combination of these symptoms, you should definitely get your Frenchie booked in with your veterinarian as soon as possible, as it could be an indicator of a more serious medical condition, such as an auto-immune disease.

However, without any of these additional factors, there’s generally nothing to worry about.

frenchie nose
This is what a healthy French Bulldog puppy nose should look like.

If anything, you can expect your French Bulldog to struggle with a dry, cracked, or crusty nose throughout their lifetime. Brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds such as French Bulldogs are more prone to having dry noses as they often struggle to lick this area of their face.

However, there are also a host of other environmental reasons why your Frenchie might be struggling with a dry nose, including allergies, dehydration, or age.

If you notice that your Frenchie seems to have a dry nose more often than not, or that their nose is starting to crack or get crusty, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on their routine as there might be something in their surroundings that is causing this to happen.

For those pups struggling with a painful or chronically dry nose, you can look at using a dog-friendly moisturizer to help them with the discomfort (you can see my recommendations further down the page).

Coconut oil is one of the most popular options available, although it will need to be introduced into your pup’s diet slowly to avoid any upset stomachs.

Common reasons why a Frenchie might have a dry nose 

Aside from their predisposition to having a dry nose, there are also a number of other reasons why your pup might be struggling with this uncomfortable condition. Here are some of the most common causes:

Sleeping 

The way French Bulldog’s keep their noses damp is by regularly licking this area, but this tends to stop while they sleep. As a result, it’s perfectly normal for your dog to have a dry nose while they nap, or directly after they have woken up.

Unless your Frenchie struggles to lick their own nose, you can expect the nose to be damp again within a few minutes of waking.

Heating

Another factor to take into consideration is where your Frenchie might be sleeping or resting during the colder parts of the year. If you notice that your pup is sleeping near radiators or heating vents to stay warm, it’s quite possible that the hot air is drying out their nasal passages.

This should correct itself shortly after they move away from the heating source, but if your Frenchie has made a habit of this for a while, it might have resulted in their nose becoming so dry that it has begun to crack.

french bulldog dry cracked nose
Claude the Frenchie gets a dry and cracked nose during winter when the heating is put on.

If you find that this is the case, you can help them by using a dog-friendly moisturizer such as coconut oil (see my French Bulldog dry nose remedy recommendations lower down the page)

Dehydration

If you’re Frenchie is dehydrated, a dry nose may be an indication of this. As a general rule of thumb, dogs should be drinking one ounce of water for each pound of body weight.

An average-sized French Bulldog typically weighs in at around twenty-eight pounds, so they should be drinking twenty-eight ounces, or somewhere in the region of three cups of fresh water each day.

If you notice your Frenchie neglecting their water bowl, check them over to see if there are any other signs of dehydration. These include:

  • Thick saliva.
  • Increased panting or difficulty with breathing.
  • Dry eyes that can appear sunken.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Dry and sticky gums. If you press the gums, the skin should turn white for a second but then return to a healthy pink shortly after. If the area takes a while to return to its normal color, this is another strong indicator of dehydration.

One of the most common reasons for dehydration is too much exercise. Frenchies are especially susceptible to this as it takes much less activity to wear them out, especially compared to other breeds.

Frenchies need to have small bouts of exercise throughout the day to avoid over-exhaustion, and if you can, it would be worth bringing a small water bottle with you so that they can stay hydrated while out and about, especially during the summer.

If you notice that your Frenchie is simply not drinking from their bowl, try giving the dish a thorough clean with soap and water before filling it up with fresh water again. If this still isn’t enough to persuade your picky pup to drink, you can try mixing the water with chicken broth to make it more appealing or offering your Frenchie ice cubes.

Allergies 

A dry nose might also indicate that your Frenchie is struggling with an allergic reaction. If an allergy is the cause, you will likely see other symptoms such as:

  • Itchiness, which can be general or localised.
  • Inflamed skin.
  • Hives.
  • Red, watery eyes.
  • Sneezing (here’s what reverse sneezing is all about)
  • Clear nasal discharge.
  • Swelling around the ears, eyes, and face.
  • Repeated ear infections.

If your Frenchie is showing any combination of these symptoms, it would be best to get them booked in with a veterinarian as soon as you can.

They should be able to help you determine what the potential causes are after an examination, and they will be able to discuss possible lifestyle changes or medications to help with any discomfort your Frenchie might be feeling.

Plastic bowls

One of the most common allergies experienced by dogs of all breeds is an allergy to plastic. This is so common that some experts suggest not using plastic dishes or toys at all.

If you notice that your Frenchie has a chronically dry nose in spite of frequently licking this area, and you happen to be using plastic food and water dishes, it is quite possible that your Frenchie is struggling with a plastic allergy.

If you suspect this to be the case, it is recommended that you replace the plastic dishes with either stainless steel or ceramic. These have the added benefit of being more hygienic, as they are easier to clean and to sterilize.

Cold weather

Just as we may struggle with dry hands and sore throats during winter, so too can a harsh drop in temperature affect your small pup.

Frenchies are already more susceptible to the cold owing to their short coats, but very cold weather can dry out their noses, making it sensitive and even cracked if left untreated for too long.

You should try to limit your Frenchie’s exposure to cold environments, keeping any outings short, as even a good coat or sweater will not fully protect them from a chilly winter.

A dog friendly moisturizer will help them tremendously during these colder months, so if you notice that your Frenchie only seems to struggle with a dry nose during winter, it would be worth helping them out by regularly moisturizing their sensitive nose with some coconut oil or another dog-friendly moisturizer.

Age 

As dogs move into their twilight years and start to slow down, it’s not uncommon for them to also develop drier noses.

This is typically nothing to worry about, but to prevent your Frenchie’s nose from becoming too dry, it is recommended that you regularly apply a dog friendly nose balm or moisturizer to help them stay comfortable.

Sunburn 

Another common culprit for a dry nose is sunburn. As French Bulldogs have short coats, they are more susceptible to sunburn than longer-haired breeds, and this sensitivity to the sun will only be increased if your Frenchie has a pale nose.

With this in mind, it is always recommended that you use a dog-friendly sunscreen on your Frenchie in summer to help protect them.

When a dry nose is the result of a medical condition 

Although a French Bulldog dry nose on its own is typically nothing to worry about, there are times when a dry nose in combination with other symptoms could be an indication of a more serious medical condition.

If you notice that your Frenchie is exhibiting a lack of appetite, lethargy, itchiness, vomiting, or diarrhea, as well as a dry nose, it would be best to get your Frenchie booked in to see a veterinarian as soon as you can.

Here are some of the illnesses where a dry nose could be one of the symptoms present:

Nasal hyperkeratosis in French Bulldogs 

This is the only illness where a dry nose is one of the only symptoms present. This condition is characterized by an excessive buildup of keratin, resulting in the skin becoming thick and hard around the nose or paw pads.

This tends to leave the skin quite dry and can result in it becoming dry and cracked, which is not only uncomfortable for your Frenchie, but can also increase the risk of infection.

This is typically a condition that is passed down through genetics, and usually shows up in the first year of a dog’s life. There are instances where canine hyperkeratosis is caused by other illnesses, such as canine distemper or leishmaniasis, although this is considered to be quite rare.

If you suspect your Frenchie may have nasal hyperkeratosis, it would be best to get them booked in to see a veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss potential treatment options.

Discoid lupus erythematosus 

Canine lupus is a disease where the immune system attacks the body’s tissue. One variation of lupus known as discoid lupus erythematosus affects the facial area; in particular the nose, eyes, lips, mouth, and ears.

If the nose is affected, the area may become itchy, scaly, crusty, cracked or flaky. Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Pale skin on the bridge of the nose.
  • Sores or ulcers.
  • Inflamed skin around the face, especially around the nose and lips.
  • Scarring.
  • Bacterial infections.

Treatment for this form of lupus is usually quite straightforward. If your veterinarian diagnoses your Frenchie with this illness, they will likely prescribe topical or oral steroids, as well as antibiotics if necessary. 

Canine pemphigus

This is a general term for a group of auto-immune diseases that results in cracked, crusty, and ulcerated skin; as well as pus-filled lesions and cysts. Similar to lupus, canine pemphigus is the result of the body’s immune system attacking the body’s tissues.

Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Itchiness.
  • Scabs.
  • Scales.
  • Fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Lesions and pustules.

If you see any of these symptoms, you must get your Frenchie booked in to see a veterinarian as quickly as possible to discuss potential treatments.

French Bulldog dry nose remedy recommendations

Whatever might be causing your Frenchie’s dry nose, you can help them by regularly applying a dog-friendly moisturizer until their nose looks a little healthier.

What can I put on my French Bulldog’s nose? You can use natural coconut oil on a French Bulldog’s dry nose, a little olive oil, or shea butter. There are also dog-friendly nose moisturizers available on the market which will do the same job.

Although there are plenty of brand moisturizers available for purchase, here are some options you might just have sitting in your kitchen cabinet

French Bulldog dry nose coconut oil remedy

You will need to introduce this one slowly into your pup’s diet to ensure it won’t cause any upset stomachs, but once your pup is accustomed to it, you can apply a liberal coating of this to their nose whenever you need to.

Coconut oil is considered to be one of the most pet-friendly and natural moisturizers you can use. It should restore the moisture to your French Bulldog’s dry and cracked nose, and can also better skin elasticity.

Only ever use coconut oil that is 100% natural. The ones to choose will be cold pressed, organic, and unprocessed.

Olive oil 

You only need to apply a small amount of this, making sure you gently work it into your Frenchie’s nose until fully absorbed.

If your pup happens to ingest any of this, you won’t have to worry about any potential complications. If anything, it can help to promote healthier skin and fur.

Shea butter 

This is another safe option but should only be used in small amounts.

What moisturizers to avoid

As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid any type of hand lotion, body butter, or moisturizer you use yourself.

A lot of these can contain products that are harmful for dogs. These options in particular should be avoided:

  • Vaseline (can cause Lipoid Pneumonia with prolonged use).
  • Baby Oil.
  • Neosporin.

Can I put Vaseline on my French Bulldog’s nose?No, you should not put Vaseline on your French Bulldog’s nose. Itcan cause Lipoid Pneumonia in rare cases, but it’s most likely going to upset your Frenchie’s stomach due to the petroleum jelly ingredient.

Best nose balm for French Bulldogs

If you would like to try a manufactured moisturizer for your Frenchie’s dry and cracked nose, then there are a couple that have outstanding reviews on Amazon. Here’s a selection of the best nose balms for French Bulldogs.

Snout Magic 100% Organic Dry Nose Butter

Full disclosure, we have not used this nose balm with our Frenchie, but thousands of other dog owners have. It’s 100% natural and comes with the essential coconut ingredient which I approve of.

It’s said to be the number 1 solution in the United States and the manufacturer also states that it has been recommended by vets, so worth a look. Look at the Amazon prices.

Organic Nose Balm for Dry & Cracked Noses

My second recommendation is also made in the USA and contains shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, and olive oil, Again, this ticks all the boxes of what should be included in the best nose balms for Frenchies with dry, cracked, and crusty noses.

It is said to offer immediate soothing relief to raw, tender, crusty, and bloodied noses that occur due to colder temperatures, wind, and allergies. This balm is also 100% organic and you can read the Amazon reviews online.

Conclusion

To conclude, if your French Bulldog has a dry and cracked nose, in most cases you don’t need to be overly concerned.

If it is a constant dry and cracked nose that doesn’t disappear by its own accord over time, then it could (and I use that word loosely) be the sign of a health problem worth checking out.

Bottom line is this; most of the time you can help alleviate and stop a French Bulldog’s dry cracked nose by making changes to their environment, and with a cream or balm remedy. This should alleviate most French Bulldog nose problems relating to cracking and dryness.

You might also like

Over the last few months I’ve published a load of guidance on Frenchie health. Some of the articles below might warrant further reading if you want to keep on top of your Frenchie’s potential little ailments.

Marc Aaron

We are the proud parents of Claude the French Bulldog. This is our website where we share everything we've learned about Frenchies and the adventures we've had.

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