Why Does My Dog’s Nose Change Color?

Dog nose
Lauren / Flickr

Doting dog owners like you may have already memorized every inch of your pet’s face. You probably know every detail. The wrinkles, the spots, you can outline them with your eyes closed.

Most likely, you’re well aware that your dog’s nose changes color from time to time. It looks different on some days. And now you wonder why it happens and if it’s normal. Or is there a problem you should be worrying about?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here we talk about why a dog’s nose changes color.

Why Do Dog Noses Change Colors?

Color changes in the nose pigment of your pet dog are not out-of-the-ordinary. So don’t worry just yet. It’s not always a concerning matter. This happens for a number of reasons, such as:

  1. Genetics
  2. Weather change, and
  3. Aging

Besides these mentioned, medical problems would also be one reason, of course.

Jake / Flickr

Genetics Give Your Dog Its Unique Nose Color

Even among dogs, no two noses are identical. Even among siblings, every pup in the litter will differ in features. Your dog will have its own unique shape. And it will most likely have its own unique color shading. It may have a lighter colored nose compared with the others.

Weather Changes May Affect Your Dog’s Nose Color

Your dog’s nose may change in color as each season changes. It commonly happens in winter. People call it the winter nose or the snow nose. From dark, your dog’s nose may turn light-pigmented. Don’t worry, you’ll see the dark pigment come back after the long, cold winter months pass by.

Aging May Change the Color of Your Dog’s Nose

Aging changes a lot of the physical features of your dog. That includes its nose color. As your dog ages, it produces fewer skin enzymes called tyrosine. This enzyme is responsible for producing melanin. Hence, nose discoloration is an effect.

Old dog nose
Andrea Brooks / Flickr

Medical Problems Can Change the Color of Your Dog’s Nose

Sometimes, a dog’s nose color may change to warn you of a medical condition.


Allergies can change your dog’s nose color. Some triggers may cause an allergic reaction. These may be materials your dog comes in contact with, like plastic in their dish or a toy. In this case, discard the item and replace it with a more suitable one. This will likely resolve the problem immediately.

Food ingredients can also trigger allergies. So be careful what you feed your dog. Stick to pet-friendly treats and dog food. Go for less processed products.

Autoimmune Diseases

Certain autoimmune diseases like lupus can change your dog’s nose color. Certain dog breeds can be more prone to these diseases.

People call it a “collie nose” when a dog’s color changes because of an autoimmune disease. And exposure to sunlight potentially triggers the change in dog nose pigments.

Be informed that any type of dog breed can develop a collie nose. It’s just a term. It doesn’t necessarily refer to collies only.

Tbiebel72 / Pixabay

Monitor and Care for Your Dog’s Nose

Nose problems are easy to spot in your dogs. And it’s important that you care especially for your dog’s nose. This is essential to its health.

  • Treat cracks and abnormalities. When your dog’s nose starts cracking and changes drastically, seek proper treatment from a veterinarian. That could be due to an underlying medical condition.
  • Apply protection on light-colored noses. These are prone to sunburns and may cause skin cancer. Lather some sunscreen before you and your dog step out in the sun. And don’t keep your pet out too long under the scorching heat of the sun.

Final Thoughts

There are both simple and concerning reasons for your dog’s nose to change color. Genetics, weather changes, and aging are natural causes that shouldn’t worry you.  For weather changes, the usual nose color will come back after the season passes.

Allergies and serious medical conditions may cause your dog’s nose to change color too. For allergies, promptly treat the symptoms and remove the triggers. Then your dog will recover along with its original nose color.

But if you can’t determine why there’s a change in the color of your pet’s nose, consult a veterinarian. Your dog may need proper testing and treatment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *