Why Do Dog’s Nose Turn Pink?

Why Do Dog's Nose Turn Pink?

Here’s a detailed description of the information provided, along with key takeaways about why dogs’ noses change color.

Why Noses Turn Pink

Several factors can contribute to a dog’s nose turning pink:

  • “Snow Nose” or Hypopigmentation: This is the most common cause, especially in lighter-furred dogs. During shorter, colder days, less sunlight exposure reduces melanin production, making the nose lighter. It often returns to normal color in warmer months.
  • Age: Older dogs sometimes have permanently lighter noses as melanin production naturally decreases.
  • Sun Exposure: Just like human skin, prolonged sun can lighten the nose, even outside of winter months.
  • Plastic Bowls: In some dogs, chemicals from plastic food/water bowls can contribute to pigment loss in the nose.
  • Medical Conditions: Rarely, autoimmune diseases or thyroid issues can cause depigmentation.

“Snow Nose” Specifics

  • It’s harmless: This change is purely cosmetic and doesn’t affect your dog’s health.
  • Seasonal: The color change is usually temporary, reversing when the weather warms up.
  • Breeds: While all dogs can experience some pigment change, lighter-coated breeds are more noticeably affected.

How to Protect Your Dog’s Nose

While usually not medically necessary, some owners may want to minimize nose color changes:

  • Pet-Safe Sunscreen: Apply to their nose if they’ll be in direct sun for extended periods, especially between 10am-4pm. Look for zinc-oxide free formulas.
  • Healthy Diet: A balanced diet rich in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids supports healthy skin and potential melanin production.
  • Check for Irritation: If the color change is accompanied by itching, swelling, etc., a vet visit is needed to rule out other issues.
  • Avoid Plastic Bowls: If you suspect this as a cause, switch to ceramic or metal bowls.

Key Takeaways

  • A dog’s nose turning pink is usually a normal, seasonal change, especially in the winter.
  • Sun exposure is a significant factor in how much their nose color lightens.
  • While mostly harmless, a vet visit is a good idea if the change is drastic, permanent, or accompanied by other skin problems.
  • You can help with some preventative measures, but mostly, embrace your dog’s changing look!

Why Do Dog’s Nose Turn Pink?

Dogs’ melanin gives them pink noses, and as they age or get colder, their nostrils can also become pinker. But the nose can also become lighter in colour due to illnesses, sunburns, or pigmentation loss.

Dogs are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colours. The majority of them have been attained through generations of selective breeding or genetic variations. While some dogs have black noses from birth, others have snouts that complement the colours of their coats.

The distribution and quantity of melanin in a dog determines its nose colour, which varies depending on the breed and age of the animal.

We use melanin’s pigmentation to identify a dog’s real colour and to shield the nose from sunburn and skin cancer. Puppies may have a pale or pink nose at birth, which darkens with age. By the time they are 8–16 weeks old or even a year old, this colour shift may have already occurred.

Dogs that are genetically red or liver are born with a liver nose that remains pink throughout their lives. It’s an indication that the puppies from this specific lineage aren’t really red and shouldn’t be sold as such if a liver puppy is born with a black nose. Over time, even dogs with pink noses may see a minor shift in colour, which is also influenced by sun exposure.

What Is Dog Snow Nose?

Although other canines may also lose nose pigment, white dogs and dogs with lighter coats are more commonly affected by snow noses. Since it tends to happen more frequently in the winter, some have theorised that sunshine may be connected to the illness. Snow nose is commonly referred to as “winter nose” because it frequently happens in the winter.

The illness only has transient symptoms. If your dog’s nose gets lighter in the winter, it will typically turn back to its original colour in the summer. However, some senior dogs may choose to maintain their lighter noses all year round.

Additionally, it has been proposed that variations in a dog’s nose pigment could be connected to its thyroid levels. Because of SPF, your dog can still become sunburned even in the bitter cold. Some dogs’ noses are born with a lighter colour naturally.

Your dog’s nose might always be coloured like hair if he has a brown or liver coat. A snow nose is not the same as this. His nose is naturally brown; it’s not caused by sunshine or other environmental alterations.

When eating from plastic bowls, some dogs may experience pigmentation loss in their noses. Luckily, testing this theory is not too difficult! Just move your dog to a metal or ceramic dog bowl if you think that his consumption of plastic dishes is causing him to lose pigment in his nose.

The dog’s capacity to smell or breathe is unaffected by snow nose, and it is neither painful nor itchy nor contagious. Snow nose is a seasonal and reversible condition, meaning that in the spring or summer, when the heat and sunshine encourage the melanocytes to create more pigments, the nose normally recovers to its natural colour.

Why Do Dogs Nose Turn Pink In The Summer?

Dogs’ noses are dark in colour because of a pigment in their skin called melanin. Their nostrils turn pink instead of dark when exposed to sunshine because melanin in them breaks down. Dogs whose noses are lighter in colour tend to exhibit this behaviour more.

How To Protect Your Dog’s Nose?

While there is no need for medical intervention or treatment for snow noses, some dog owners may wish to prevent or lessen the occurrence of snow noses in their pets. The following advice can help you control your snow nose:

Use Sunscreen:

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, particularly between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, make sure to protect the nose, ears, and other exposed parts of their body with a pet-friendly sunscreen. Since zinc oxide can be hazardous to dogs if consumed, look for a sunscreen that has at least SPF 15 and is free of zinc oxide.

Ensure a Healthy Diet:

A diet that is well-balanced and abundant in vital minerals, such as zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, E, and C, can improve the health of the skin and coat and increase the synthesis of melanin. Feeding processed or low-quality foods should be avoided since they may contain allergies, fillers, or preservatives that might compromise immunity and lead to skin issues.

See a Veterinarian:

If your dog appears to be experiencing other symptoms, such as itching, swelling, or discharge, or if the condition continues to worsen over time, it is advisable to seek advice from a veterinarian. If necessary, your veterinarian can conduct tests, conduct a physical examination, and recommend an oral or topical medicine.

Avoid Irritants:

A number of chemicals and substances found in household items and the environment have the potential to irritate or dry up skin, including the nose. Make sure your dog has a clean, comfortable living area with enough ventilation and humidity, and stay away from using strong detergents, cleansers, or smells near them.


Snow nose is not generally a serious problem and happens rather frequently. Even though your pet’s newfound pink nose might take some getting used to, you can relax knowing there’s nothing wrong with them once any health concerns have been cleared out.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at ItsAboutDog.com.

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