Why Is My Dog's Nose Lightening?

Relaxing in the sun can sometimes mean bad things for your pup's nose.
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No canine wants to sport a weird-colored nose while walking in front of all his neighborhood friends. It's just embarrassing. From the arrival of Old Man winter to excessive sunbathing, your pup has plenty of ways to lose his dark nose color. Sometimes his own body is the culprit.

Winter Nose

When the nights grow long and the air has a frigid bite to it, you might notice your pup's nose become a little lighter than usual. His nose will usually turn from black to a pinkish hue. The condition, known as winter nose, has stumped everyone since it was first discovered, although vets and researchers have proposed a few theories as to why it happens. Once winter passes and summer returns, your little guy's nose will darken again. It's simply a seasonal cosmetic condition, nothing else.


Sometimes your pup's immune system decides the heck with protecting his body and instead attacks it. In the case of discoid lupus erythematosus, your little guy's skin suffers from the attack. His nose will turn pink, he'll develop scabs, lesions and ulcers and he may lose his fur. With the help of medications, such as immune suppressors, vitamins and antibiotics, his lightened nose will return to the nice black color it's always been known for, plus the other symptoms will disappear or lessen, too.

Plastic and Rubber Bowls

Some plastic and rubber bowls contain a chemical that overtime can irritate your pup's nose. His nose may look reddened, and the tip of it will turn from black to a pinkish color. Swapping the plastic and rubber bowls for ceramic, metal or glass ones will reverse the depigmentation and heal his nose.


Some pups like to lay out in the sunshine and soak up some rays during the warm spring and summer days. But sunbathing comes at a cost. That black nose your pup sports might become a little lighter thanks to the sun's ultraviolet rays. WebMD suggests protecting his snout with sunscreen before he has fun in the sun. Rub it in well so he can't flick his tongue up there and lick it all off.


Melanocytes produce melanin in your pup's body, which is responsible for your canine's skin color. In the case of vitiligo, something attacks and destroys those melanocytes, such as an overactive immune system. Some pups are genetically predisposed to vitilgo. The condition often only affects certain areas, such as your dog's nose, but it can affect his entire body. There is no cure, but it is purely cosmetic.

Wounds and Infections

When your pup scrapes his nose, you'll notice a bit of pink start to show through, especially a day or two after the injury occurred. This usually doesn't affect his entire nose, and it will go back to its normal color as the wound heals. If harmful bacteria enter before it has a chance to heal, his poor nose could become infected, which can lead to depigmentation, nasal discharge and a dry, crusty feel and appearance near his nostrils. His nose will also smell awful. Antibiotics put the kibosh on infections, so pay a visit to your vet if you think your little guy has one.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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