Why Do Dogs Noses Turn Pink?

by Perfect Puppy Care on April 24, 2012

pink

Sometimes, when dogs get older, their noses turn pink due to loss of pigmentation. This strange process begins when the enzyme that produces “color” begins to fade out.

While aging is a primary reason why the noses of dogs turn rosy, it’s not the only potential root cause of this common canine health issue. If your beloved pooch is experiencing changes to his or her original nose color, you may want more information about possible health issues or problems that are triggering this common condition.

Occasionally, a pronounced, rapid change from a dark nose to a lighter pink nose will signal a medical problem that requires attention from a qualified veterinarian.

Allergies, scratches, or infections are all common causes of changes in the appearance of a canine’s nose, and any allergic reactions, abrasions, or bacterial infections should be treated by a vet.

To avoid allergies that lead to pink noses in canines, try to choose stainless steel feed bowls for your canine pal. In general, steel will be hypoallergenic, unlike plastics, which may trigger dermatitis. If you’re dog’s nose is changing color and his or her mouth appears inflamed, it’s a red flag that allergies to food or food bowls may be at play. A vet will be able to help you sort this issue out.

The natural nose colors of dogs will vary based on breed; noses may be inky black, brown, pink or russet. Sometimes, the color of a dog’s “natural: nose will closely match the overall palette of its coat. Learning more about specific breeds of dogs will be a good way to know which colors of noses are typical for certain types of canines. In general, the nose color that a dog has when it’s young is its “true” color.

What is, “Winter Nose”?

Sometimes, pet owners and vets refer to paler, pinker noses as “winter noses”. Often, the cold-weather months are “prime time” for the fading of nose coloration, and darker noses may return again in high summer. In particular, certain breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Lab Retrievers, and Siberian Huskies are prone to these seasonal adjustments in nose color.

Enzyme breakdown is at the root of “winter nose”, just as it is at the root of permanent loss of pigmentation due to aging. Since this enzyme is strongly affected by heat or cold, it functions poorly when temperatures turn frigid. However, the enzyme, Tyrosinase, functions at its best when the weather is balmy and fine.

Understanding Vitiligo

Another possible cause of pink noses in canines is the immune disorder known as Vitiligo. This health problem causes pale patches on the nose and on other areas of a dog’s body. Vitiligo is a disease that blocks healthy, pigment-carrying cells by attacking them with antibodies. When the “color” cells are wiped out, pigment begins to disappear from affected areas, and the disorder may get worse over time.

To diagnose this disease in your puppy or adult dog, you must visit a vet, who will perform a biopsy to confirm (or exclude) the presence of this condition. Vitiligo is more common in particular breeds, including German Shepherds, and Daschunds (wiener dogs). Vitamins and minerals may be prescribed to your dog, and these supplements sometimes have the power to correct Vitiligo and restore darker noses and natural coloring all over a dog’s body. While the appearance of Vitiligo in canines may disturb their owners, there is really no cause for concern, as this disease is mostly a cosmetic problem. In other words, it will not hurt your dog in any way or make him or her sick.

Dogs who are suffering from pink noses (for any reason) will need a little extra TLC; for example, if you’re taking Fido out for a stroll or a little fetch-and-frolic in the park, be sure to pat some sunscreen onto his nasal area. This tender tissue needs extra protection from the sun’s hot rays.

Now that you know more about why doggie noses turn pink, you may feel less anxiety about the color changes you see on your own pooch’s nose. Unless your dog is quite old and has always been very healthy, it’s probably best to take your animal in for an appointment with the vet when his or her nose starts changing color. When it comes to the health of your beloved canine pal, you really can’t be too careful. However, this symptom is usually not a sign of anything terrible (such as a terminal illness), and there are some decent treatments available for dogs, depending on why their changes in pigmentation are occurring.

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