The majority of dogs have black noses, which add to their cuteness. However, some puppies with black noses may lose color as they get older. As a result, depending on the dog’s breed, their nose may turn pink or another color.
This pigment loss can be either transient or permanent. Regardless, this abrupt or gradual shift can cause worry in dog owners, which is unhealthy for both the individual and the dog.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s nose changing color, read this article from beginning to end to learn what steps you should take.
What Gives A Dog’s Nose Its Black Color?
Black noses, common in most breeds of dogs, are caused by a pigment called melanin. Melanin is a skin pigment in dogs that gives the fur, eyes, and nose their color. A higher amount of melanin gives these parts a darker shade. Therefore, the more melanin there is, the darker the parts will be. Moreover, dark pigmentation helps to protect the dog against damage from the rays of the sun.
The amount of melanin in dogs depends on various factors. The main one is genetics and hormones from parents. Some breeds have more melanin, and thus, a darker nose.
Why Does A Dog’s Nose Change Color?
There could be several causes as to why your dog’s nose is changing color. The pup’s nose will most commonly turn pink, but it may also turn a different color. Below are some common causes for the de-pigmentation:
1. Snow Nose
Snow nose is a common cause of temporary loss of pigmentation in dogs. Due to this condition, the dog’s nose may turn completely pink. The color may appear as spots as well as stripes in many cases. This temporary loss of pigment is entirely harmless.
The leading cause of Snow nose is cold weather. In the winter, light-colored dogs show this condition due to a decrease in melanin. An enzyme called Tyrosinase is what produces melanin. However, the enzyme is sensitive to cold temperatures and may decrease. So, the lower Tyrosinase content produces less melanin, giving a lighter color to the dog’s body parts. That is why a dog can have a Snow nose when it is cold.
Snow nose is more prominent in some breeds and is completely absent in others. The most common breeds to have this condition are the ones with light-colored fur and eyes. Some common ones are Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Samoyeds, and Boston Terriers. Dark-haired dogs may also get a Snow nose, but this condition is far less severe in them.
The enzyme regains its count when the temperature increases. In this way, Tyrosinase continues to produce the necessary amount of melanin which restores black color in the nose. Thus, Snow nose is a temporary condition and is nothing to be scared of.
2. Increasing Age
Age is another factor that affects the color of the nose. Usually, newborn pups have pink noses due to the decreased secretion of melanin. However, as the dog grows into an adult, the amount of Melanin in his body gradually increases, which changes the nose’s color to black, dark brown, or the same color as the fur of the pooch.
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The secretion of hormones and pigments in the body decreases as the dog ages. Humans have beautiful skin in their youth due to the healthy secretion of pigments, but as people age, their skin turns paler and paler with every passing year. The same is true for dogs. As a dog ages, the amount of melanin in its body decreases, which results in the nose, fur, and eyes losing their pigment. Hence, if you have an old dog with a pink nose, it is natural. Take it as a sign that your canine partner is getting old.
An injury or trauma near the nose may also cause a loss of pigmentation. For example, if a bruise is formed near the dog’s nasal area, it can affect the color of the nose along with the surrounding skin. As fresh bruises are pink, the related area may also turn pink.
After the injury heals, which takes about two weeks in the case of a normal wound, the nose will return to its original skin color. The melanin will restore the nose to its natural black color.
Some allergies may decrease pigmentation in the nose or lips. For instance, if the dog is allergic to something, touching it with the nose or lips may cause these parts to lose color.
Like humans, dogs have different allergies. Observe your dog and try to find if he is allergic to something close to him. Most of the time, de-pigmentation due to allergies is caused by the plastic that the dog bowl is made of.
Dogs tend to be allergic to these types of plastics and lose their nose color. If that is the case, replace the plastic dog bowl with a stainless steel one. Visit your vet afterward to bring back the color of your dog’s nose.
5. Skin disorders
Skin disorders are the leading cause of nasal de-pigmentation. Most of these skin disorders are treatable. Hence, if you find the symptoms of any of the mentioned diseases, visit your vet and let them take care of the things for you.
Following are some of the skin disorders which may result in the nose losing its color:
● Uveodermatological Syndrome (UDS)
UDS is a disease in dogs where the immune system attacks the body. The body’s immune system sees the melanocytic cells as a threat and starts killing them. As Melanocytic cells are the producers of Melanin, the amount of Melanin decreases, and the nose, as well as fur and eyes, turn pink.
Dogs that develop UDS tend to be pug-type breeds since these dogs tend to play rough and get into fights with each other over territory and toys. Once the dog has developed UDS, he may start complaining of a runny nose and become lethargic.
● Discoid Lupus
Discoid Lupus is also a disease related to the immune system. It results in the formation of sores on the nose of the pooch. Dogs with this condition are sensitive to sun rays. If you notice sores on your puppy’s nose, make an appointment with his vet immediately.
The disease affects mainly golden retrievers and miniature schnauzer breeds. The immune system of these dogs can be weakened, resulting in swelling and scaly skin. This disease is most commonly seen in young, growing dogs, particularly those less than one year old at the time of the onset of their symptoms.
The de-pigmentation of a dog’s nose is not fatal in most cases. However, some conditions are more severe than others. Some may be permanent, while others are just for a season. Temporary conditions like Snow nose and trauma are the major causes.
If you notice a change in the color of your dog’s nose, visit the vet and try to take care of the condition as soon as possible. However, panicking won’t solve anything. Therefore, make sure to take steps carefully, always keeping the health and well-being of your dog at heart. No matter what happens, stick close to your pooch and seek the help of professionals.