Dog Nose Color Change

Spayed one and a half year old 110 pound Great Pyrenees/Akbash mix with no health problems at all. Her nose seems to be changing from that typical solid black to a shade of brown.

Her 'eye-liner', lips and pads are still black and she has pink 'thumbs'(back of fore-legs). Behaviorally, she is happy, social, playful and as vigilant as a guardian dog can be. Spends about half her day outside.

The dog nose color change started after about a week of extremely cold weather with snowfall. My dog eats a 'rotation' diet (canned puppy food, raw beef, cooked chicken, some raw high-end canned and frozen foods), is picky and prefers meat with her kibble, raw bones and assorted treats. She also buries, shoveling with her nose, some treats and bones, for later.

I have heard there is a condition (disease/deficiency) that can cause this, but no name or related symptoms/treatment.

Any clue?



Editor Comment Dog Nose Color Change

Hi Vic,

Two things come to mind. If your dog’s nose looks completely normal other than the lighter color (e.g., it is not losing its cobblestone appearance or developing irritated areas) a genetic condition that goes by the name “Dudley nose” is possible. This does not require any treatment, but there isn’t anything you can do to reverse the process either.

If you notice other changes to the skin on or around your dog’s nose, an immune disorder like discoid lupus erythematosis (DLE) is more likely. See your veterinarian to get a definitive diagnosis.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

Comments for Dog Nose Color Change

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Aug 18, 2014
Dog nose color change! Change bowls!
by: Anonymous

I showed dogs for 25 years. It was common knowledge that a great many dogs could not eat and drink from plastic bowls or their pigment in their nose would disappear. Please try a bowl change to glass or metal before other treatment. You may be lucky and that is all thats wrong with your pet. Good Luck!

Jan 16, 2013
Nose color change
by: Sweetie

My white mini-schnauzer had the same problem for awhile. She also had discolored beard and paws from licking. Vet gave her an antibiotic when she was sick with a cold. The licking stopped, red siliva stains went away and nose went back to deep black. If paw and beard stains are also present, this could be the cause of nose color change.

Mar 01, 2011
light noses
by: Donna

Hi, just a comment about nose colour--in Alberta, many of the dogs seem to get lighter coloured noses. The temperatures around Calgary where we were hovered between -10 and -30 during the coldest months, and I think, contributed to the lighter nose colour of our Goldens (black to pinkish in some instances).

Jan 25, 2011
Nasal Dermatitis
by: ZU

Hey! I recently saw a tweet that linked me to your question. I recently made a post on my blog about Nasal Dermatitis. This is a condition caused by p benzyl hydroquinone, a chemical found in most plastics and rubbers that prevent melanin from being produced in the nose and in some cases, the lips of dogs. This is not life-threatening, but can be reversed fairly quickly by switching your dogs food/water bowls to stainless steel or ceramic. I hope this helps!

Visit my site for more information on this and other topics!

Jan 03, 2011
changing color dog nose
by: Anonymous

My dog had the same thing happen this winter, she is a female fawn boxer, 1.5 years old not spayed. All of her shots never had any health problems ever, very happy spunky and playful, her nose started changing from black to what looks like a light brown starting in the middle of her nose and going out it doesn't go past about 2 centi. from the middle though. She seems to be fine, I also wondered if their was a serious problem related to that, that i should be worried about.

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