Dog’s Nose Turning Brown – Common Reasons Why

Our pets are already pretty amazing in our eyes, but their bodies can be pretty fascinating as well. Did you know that the color for your dog’s nose can change in color? Yes, it’s normal so you don’t have to worry too much when your dog’s nose is turning brown.

A Dog’s Nose Can Indicate His Health

A lot of people believe that a pet owner can tell a lot about a dog’s health by feeling their nose. It’s somewhat true but with conditions. When you touch your dog’s nose, and it’s dry and warm, there could be something wrong especially if there are other accompanying symptoms like weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Generally, if a dog’s nose is wet and cool, it means that he is in good health. Of course, you should watch out for other signs of good health like a good appetite and an active demeanor.

Definitely, there’s a more reliable way for you to check your dog’s temperature – use a thermometer. Any kind will do, but the digital one will make the task easier. What you do is lubricate the tip with petroleum jelly. If none is available, you can use water.

After the tip has been lubricated, insert the thermometer into your pet’s anus for about an inch. Hold it in place until you get a reading. It should only take a few seconds, but you should keep your dog still to get more accurate results.

Why Is My Dog Losing Pigment on His Nose?

Tyrosinase is an enzyme present in animal tissue. It catalyzes the production of melanin and other pigments. As you may have guessed, it present in your dog’s nose and is thought to be temperature-sensitive.

When it is cold, tyrosinase breaks down which is why your dog’s nose turning brown. It’s not just brown too because it could also turn pink, depending on what breed you have. This phenomenon is called “winter nose” or “snow nose”. The color of your dog’s nose should be back to normal when warmer weather rolls around. Again, it’s a normal process so there’s nothing to worry about.

Other Reasons Why Your Dog’s Nose Is Turning Brown

Sometimes, if a dog’s nose gets injured (like an abrasion or scrape), it may turn lighter than its original color as the healing process is happening. However, once the injury has healed, it will turn back to normal color.

Contact dermatitis can also be the cause of your dog’s nose turning brown or lighter. In this case, it’s best to use stainless steel food and water bowls as plastic ones tend to breakdown over time and it might contaminate your dog’s food and water, causing irritation or an allergic reaction.

Other reasons could be vitiligo, an uncommon condition where the skin loses its natural pigment. When your pet has this, his coat can also turn white. There’s nothing to worry though because it’s painless. Breeds like Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dachsunds, Poodles, Irish Setters, Afghan Hounds, Samoyeds, Pointers and Dobermans are more likely to succumb to this condition. It’s best to get your dog checked out by the vet to make sure that the depigmentation is not caused by an underlying autoimmune disease.

Lastly, your dog might have a “Dudley Nose”. The term is used for depigmentation on the nose but it is different from having a winter nose because it is permanent. It is commonly considered a defect because the dog is born with a black nose and gradually turns brown or even pink in cases of complete depigmentation.

When To Go to The Vet

If you notice your dog’s nose turning brown, don’t panic just yet. Observe his behavior. Is he weak, eating or drinking enough water, vomiting or experiencing diarrhea? If your answer is yes, then it’s probably not just winter. Have him checked as soon as you can.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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