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Why is my dog’s nose turning lighter?


We’ve been taking a lot of pictures of the dogs recently.  And I mean .. a lot! I’m sure my dogs go into hiding every time I take the camera out now.  Looking back over recent photos I noticed that our dog’s nose is turning lighter.   A few people mentioned that it may be as she’s getting older, but as she’s only 7 I don’t like to look at her as an “old girl” :).   Hopefully she’s got plenty of years in her yet!  

Reasons for a dog's nose turning lighter:

So I chose to ignore the “old girl” comments for now and find out some of the other reasons that dog’s noses can turn a different shade.  Here’s a list of the most common reasons for a dog’s nose turning lighter. 

Winter nose

Winter what?  Apparently colder weather can actually cause a dog’s nose to get lighter.  Looks like our noses turn red, but a dog’s nose can turn white.  Who knew?..   As the colder weather passes and it turns warmer, their noses go back to their original colour. 


I’m sure that’s not the cause of Simba’s change in facial features, but worth keeping an eye on if your dog’s nose is changing colour.   Lupus can occur when your dog’s immune system gets confused and starts attacking healthy tissue.   Their nose can turn pink and develop scabs and lesions.  Fortunately a trip to the vet for medication and vitamins should resolve the problem.  

Plastic and rubber bowls

Some bowls contain a chemical that can irritate your furry friend’s nose.  Swapping the bowls and replacing them for ceramic or metal bowls should reverse their pink nose and return it to it’s normal colour. 


Hmmm, chance will be a fine thing in this country!  However, dogs spending time in the sun can affect the colour of their nose due to the ultraviolet rays.  Rubbing some sunscreen onto their nose to protect it will help prevent this.  Make sure you use a sunblock that is suitable for dogs as they will be likely to try and lick off the sunscreen as soon as you’ve put it on.


Melanin is responsible for your dog’s skin colour.   Vitiligo can occur when something (such as an overactive immune system) attacks the melanocytes, which are responsible for the production of melanin.   Some dogs breeds are more prone to develop vitiligo than others.  It can affect their entire body, including their nose.   It is however purely cosmetic.  

I’m guessing Simba’s change in nose colour is to do with the seasonal change.  However, Golden Retrievers are known for their nose colours to turn lighter as they get older, so it may be the “Golden” in her kicking in.  Either way, her nose is continuing to do it’s job of sniffing out treats and food on a daily basis! 🙂

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