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Why Do Dogs Lick Their Nose? 10 Common Reasons

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Golden Retriever licking nose while walking in snow

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Nose? 10 Common Reasons

The nose is one of your dog’s vital organs. Licking their noises is one of the dogs’ natural behaviors. For instance, dogs usually lick their noses to hone their smell senses.

However, persistent nose licking may be a sign of discomfort. Your dog may feel threatened or has a health issue.

Sometimes dogs lick their noses to pass a message since they cannot talk. It is up to you to observe their actions and interpret what they are trying to say.

Nose licking can either be mild or severe. Benign causes are likely to be normal behavior, but severe causes are health problems that need veterinarian attention.

It is, therefore, essential to understand the course of this behavior and act accordingly. Here are some of the reasons why dogs lick their noses.

The 10 Reasons Dogs Lick Their Nose

1. Anxiety

scared dog hiding in grass
Image Credit: Isa KARAKUS, Pixabay

When your dog is confused, anxious, or doesn’t understand what is going on, it may lick its nose. You need to pay great attention to various situations to know the cause of anxiety.

For example, your dog may be frightened by the storm, get anxious, and start licking its nose. Your dog may also become eager when in new environments or when surrounded by new people.

2. Infections

Most dogs develop bacterial or fungal infections, leading to nasal discharge. They intensely lick their noses, trying to get rid of this discharge. These infections can also lead to frequent sneezing.

3. Allergies

dog in the grass licking nose
Image Credit: 753204, Pixabay

Allergy is the primary reason why dogs lick their noses. Your dog may collect allergens since they lead with their noses. In this case, you need to invite your veterinarian to come and check your dog for what they are allergic to. After knowing, ensure you keep off the things that cause any allergic reaction to your dog.

4. Abnormal Growths

Dogs may have nasal tumors, causing them to lick their noses. A certified veterinarian should inspect your dog and assess the problem facing your dog.

5. Nose Injuries and Irritations

dog's nose bleeding_Shutterstock_W_NAMKET
Image Credit: W_NAMKET, Shutterstock

Your dog’s nose is very sensitive, and even a minor injury will hurt. Dogs can rapidly lick their noses if they have some injuries like abrasion, cuts, damage, or punctures on their nose. You need to check the depth of the cut and the intensity of the injury to see if your dog requires veterinarian treatment.

Sometimes your dog can lick his nose if there is something lodged inside his nostrils. Don’t try to remove it. Take your dog to the veterinarian since they have the expertise and sterile equipment to remove that thing.

6. Dry Nose

Dogs love to keep their noses moist and clean. If a dog has a dry nose, it may lick its nose to ensure it is wet for effective functioning. Your dog may be trying to deal with dryness, which may cause cracking.

Again, your dog may lick his nose if there are some food leftovers or dirt on it to restore nasal equilibrium.

7. Dental Problems

close up of a dog's mouth showing teeth and gums
Image Credit: laolaopui, Shutterstock

Your dog will lick its nose if it has gum disease, tooth decay, or other oral problems. Your dog could also be having swelling tongue, mouth, or jaw because of built-up fluid.

Ensure your dog’s mouth is clean by regularly brushing their teeth to prevent oral issues that can cause nose licking.

8. Dehydration

Causes of dehydration in dogs include underlying medical issues such as kidney disease, excessive heat, drooling, high body temperature, loss in skin elasticity, and sticky gums. Your dog may lick its nose to cool down.

You can carry out a skin test to see if your dog is dehydrated. All you need to do is to pinch the skin of the pup and lift it. Your dog is dehydrated if the skin collapses slowly or sags after releasing it.

9. Nausea

sick german shepherd dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Taisya Korchak, Shutterstock

The nausea feeling can make your dog drool and lick its nose. It may be a sign of stomach upset. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a toxic thing, visit or call the veterinarian.

10. Canine Seizures

If your dog is suffering from canine seizures, he will constantly lick his nose. This could also be accompanied by lip licking. A grand seizure causes your dog to become stiff, collapse and paddle his legs. In addition, your dog may lose control of his bladder and bowels.

On the other hand, minor seizures have signs such as nose and lip licking and snapping at the air. Brain trauma is the leading cause of seizures. If your dog has the above symptoms, do not hesitate to take him to the veterinarian.


Nose licking is a natural behavior for many dogs, and they feel nice when they lick their noses. But continuous licking is worrying since it can be an underlying health problem.

Ensure you keep an eye on your dog and call or visit your veterinarian if your dog experiences abnormal licking.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: In Green, Shutterstock

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