If you’re among the 67% of pet owners in the United States, your dog is likely like family to you.
So, when Fido comes in from playing in the yard with your kids or wakes up from a nap and suddenly has a pink spot on his nose, you might have one foot out the door ready to head to the veterinary office.
Before you drain your wallet, we’ll share some information to help you understand why there could be pink spots on your dog’s nose and recommend when—and when not—to take that trip to the vet.
First Things First: Dog Breeds and Nose Color
If you rescue a dog off the street and become alarmed by its pink nose, check to see if it’s a breed that usually has pink noses.
Below are a few of many breeds that typically have pink noses:
- Cocker Spaniel
- Siberian Husky
Assuming that your dog’s breed doesn’t explain their pink nose, keep reading for more suggestions on what might be affecting them.
Causes of Pink Spots on Dog Noses
As with any condition, it might take some digging to get to the bottom of the reason for your dog’s pink spots on its nose.
Below are details about some of the most common conditions.
Aptly named to correspond with the season, snow nose is when a dog’s dark nose turns light brown or pink.
We call this a “situation” instead of a “condition” because the change is always temporary and occurs during the winter.
According to the American Kennel Club, researchers don’t know what causes snow nose to happen, but it corresponds closely with the winter months.
Since snow nose happens to dogs in both cold and warm climates, one of the most popular theories is that snow nose occurs when daylight hours decrease.
Either way, if you notice your dog’s nose getting pink splotchy spots in the winter and then returning to its regular deep brown or black color in the summer, it’s completely normal, and there’s no need to visit your veterinarian.
Puppies are adorable enough as it is, and the naturally pink noses they’re typically born with make them even cuter.
Puppy noses usually change to a darker color by three months old, if their nose changes at all.
If your puppy’s nose has some black speckles, there’s a good chance it’ll turn dark brown or black.
On the other hand, if it’s purely pink or has light brown spots, then you can bet that your pup will keep its pink nose.
We all know that scratches on human skin result in the appearance of pink flesh, but did you know that the same thing happens in dogs?
If Fido spent time in the woods hunting down his favorite sticks and comes back bearing pink on his nose, the chances are high that a scratch caused the depigmentation.
Unless your dog has a gaping wound, there’s no need to treat a scratch on their nose; dogs have antibacterial properties in their saliva that help them heal.
Within a week or two, you can expect your pooch to have a fully healed nose and for their regular dark pigmentation to fill back in.
When it comes to allergies and dog noses turning pink, the issue usually arises from some form of direct contact.
New dog bowls or toys are common causes.
In particular, plastics can contain p-benzyl hydroquinone, which is an irritant for dogs.
In fact, people use hydroquinone to lighten their skin.
If your dog’s pink nose appears to correspond with a change in their environment, try removing the new item and see if their condition improves.
The immune disease vitiligo functions the same way in dogs as it does humans—cells that normally produce melanin stop functioning, which creates lighter patches on the skin.
In dogs with darker features, you may notice that their nose becomes patchy with pink spots.
Also, their dark fur may turn a lighter color in some places.
Luckily, vitiligo isn’t a life-threatening disease.
Your dog’s skin color may change, but he’ll still be the same loveable fluffernutter that you adore.
Collie Nose is a serious auto-immune disorder that’s more prominent in certain breeds such as collies and huskies.
A pink or dull-colored nose is a symptom of Collie Nose, along with open sores, flaky skin, and bleeding ulcers.
You should bring your dog to the vet right away if you think your dog has Collie Nose and do your best to keep them out of the sun.
What About Pink Bumps on Dog Noses?
Pink bumps on dog noses tend to be more serious than a change in pigmentation.
Such bumps can indicate nasal tumors, so you should book a veterinary appointment immediately as they’ll be able to test whether the bumps are benign.
If the bumps are cancerous, your vet can remove them with surgery.
Radiation is often needed to improve the chances of the bumps staying away.
More often than not, dogs develop pink bumps on their noses from a virus.
Nursing a Pink Dog Nose
Whether you have a dog breed with a permanently pink nose or your dog’s nose pigmentation temporarily changed, you should put canine-safe sunscreen on your pup’s sniffer before going outside.
Believe it or not, dogs can get skin cancer just like humans!
Aside from keeping your dog out of the sun when they’re not wearing sunscreen and assuming you’ve confirmed that your dog doesn’t have one of the more serious illnesses we covered, you don’t need to do anything else for your dog’s pink nose except shower them with love.
Are You in the “Nose”?
If you’re still on the fence about why your dog has a pink nose after reading this, book that vet appointment—although there are many benign reasons for pink dog noses, it could be a more serious condition.
If your dog’s pink nose ends up being something as harmless as snow nose, snap those pictures so you can laugh about their temporary look in the future once their dark pigmentation returns.