In most cases, when a dog’s nose changes color, it is harmless and simply has to do with the natural cycle of a dog’s nose. Sometimes, the change is health-related or can be based on outside sources.
There are many differing reasons as to why your pup’s nose is taking on a new look. It all has to do with melanin, which causes the pigmentation in the nose.
A real life example
Before we get into the “How’s” or the “Why’s”, I wanted to share a real life example.
Below you’ll find 7 pictures, from 2 weeks old up to 8 weeks old, of my dog Story. She was a black and white Carolina dog, that was born without all the pigmentation in her nose.
As you can see, by 8 weeks old her nose was almost entirely black. This is her today:
Naturally, as a dog ages, he or she takes on many changes when it comes to appearance. Usually, nose pigmentation is one of these changes. If age is the only factor responsible for this change, it is based off of genetics and is natural and harmless. When dogs age, their maturing tissue is what causes this change in color and decrease in melanin.
Believe it or not, the current weather conditions outside can impact the pigmentation of your little pup. Truth be told, weather is said to be the leading reason for changes in nose color and is known as “winter nose” or “snow nose”.
In some cases, it has been found that one cause of pigment loss is dogs is linked to thyroid conditions. A vet can run a simple blood test to look further into this and diagnose any thyroid complication.
Contact dermatitis, a sensitivity to plastic, can cause changes to nose pigmentation. If your canine buddy is sensitive to plastic and experiences repeated exposure, he or she may experience some alterations to their nose coloration. If their food or water bowl is plastic, it may be a good idea to make the switch to a stainless steel or ceramic bowl.
An added bonus is that ceramic and stainless steel are healthier options because plastic houses bacteria when it becomes scratched.
Vitiligo is an immune disease in canines that directly affects pigmentation and thus, changes areas of a dog’s coat, skin or nose white. It is a good idea to have your dog checked out by the vet if you notice white spots, as it can be indicative of this condition. The vet will scrape a portion of the skin and conduct a biopsy to check for vitiligo.
Afghan hounds, dachshunds, Samoyeds, dobermans, German shepherds, pointers, poodles, and Irish setters are usually more susceptible than other breeds of dogs to this condition. Usually, vitiligo is not too serious and dogs with it can still live long and healthy lives.
Should you be worried?
Alterations in your dog’s nose should not concern you. However, if your dog begins to show signs of changes in the texture or if your dog develops sores or crusty growths, then this is cause for concern.
Always pay attention to any changes in your dog’s appearance and behavior and if you notice any changes, it is always a good idea to talk with your vet about any potential health issues to ensure that your dog stays strong and healthy.