Dogs’ noses have evolved through the ages and have helped them survive. They can smell, find food, mates, and offspring, and even avoid predators. As a dog parent, you know how your pet uses its nose to get through the days.
Their noses are how they make sense of the world around them. So it can be a concern when you notice a pink spot on dog nose.
It would be natural to ask what the loss of color means. Is it a sign of a health issue? Will it affect my dog’s breathing?
There could be several reasons for a pink spot on a dog’s nose. It could be the cold weather causing the loss of pigment, or it could be an injury, allergy, infection, or other serious health issues.
The treatments for these causes can be topical, medications, or surgery and long-term care.
The article will explore why your dog could have pink spots on its nose and treatment plans available for the same.
- Pink Spot on My Dog Nose: Causes & Remedies
- Should I be worried about a pink spot on dog nose?
Pink Spot on My Dog Nose: Causes & Remedies
Sometimes, the dog losing pigment on its nose and surrounding areas could be purely a cosmetic change, while in other cases, it could be a symptom of a health issue.
Let us explore some of these causes and how to best care for your pet.
1. Bacterial Infection
Infections like pyoderma can cause loss of pigmentation around the dog’s nose. So your dog’s black nose could look like it is fading in color and develop brown or pink spots around the nasal area.
Pyoderma is a bacterial infection that typically affects the upper layers of the skin. It occurs when the dog’s skin barrier has been broken. As a result, the underlying skin is exposed to moisture, which could hinder blood flow or alter the normal skin bacteria state.
For example, Malassezia yeast is a normal bacteria that grows on the dog’s skin. But in case of an infection, the bacteria growth rate can significantly increase.
The bacterial infection could be a secondary symptom of deep scratches or allergies. Apart from pink spots on the nose, it can present symptoms like:
- Skin lesions
- Flaky skin
The vet will consider the pet’s symptoms and medical history to confirm a pyoderma diagnosis. In addition, we can do blood work, skin cytology, skin culture, and sensitivity tests to find the root cause.
Once confirmed, the vet will start the dog on antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the condition, a vet may prescribe medication, topicals, and medicated shampoos.
If your dog’s pyoderma is a new condition, the treatment may last for 3 to 4 weeks. But if the condition is recurring, the vet will conduct tests and prescribe antibiotics specific to the organism causing the issue. In this case, the treatment may last for 8 to 12 weeks.
Dogs and sniffing are like the two sides of the same coin. Possibly, your dog has come into contact with an allergen when out on one of its adventures. Or it could be a new food bowl, bedding material, toys, or new furniture in the house that is causing an issue.
For example, it is uncommon, but dogs can develop an allergy to synthetic polymers like plastic. This can be a problematic allergen to detect as plastic is embedded into several products we use daily.
As the dog increasingly comes into contact with the allergen, it can develop pink spots on its nose. It can present other symptoms like:
- Face rubbing
- Head shaking
- Obsessive licking
If it is an allergic reaction, looking back at the changes in your dog’s routine or around the house can help narrow down the allergen.
The vet will prescribe oral and topical medication to relieve the signs of the allergic reaction. We can also give salves and shampoos to reduce skin irritation.
Once the allergen is identified, you need to eliminate or sufficiently reduce it from the dog’s environment. If the pet keeps exposed to the allergen, the medications can lose effectiveness. Also, the medications can have long-term side effects.
So, prevention would be the ideal way to keep your pet safe from allergies.
3. Changing Weather
Have you heard about snow nose? It is a condition in which your dog’s standard black or dark brown nose turns into a shade of light brown or pink. The nose will lose its color right in the middle in the shape of a stripe or a small patch.
Slowly the patch can spread and cover the surrounding area. There is no need to worry, though; this loss of pigment is usually temporary.
There is debate about the cause of the condition, also known as winter nose. However, some common reasons are believed to be changes in temperature or daylight.
If the cause is snow nose, then it will only be the color of the nose that will change. The dog’s nose will retain its texture. The color change will not affect the dog’s ability to breathe or smell. The difference is more cosmetic than anything else.
Dog breeds like Siberian Huskies and Labrador Retrievers are prone to developing a snow nose. But other species can also get snow noses. So, you can take preventive measures like using dog-safe sunscreen or keeping them warm during winters.
In the case of snow noses, the dog will have no other symptoms than the color change. However, if it does show additional signs, please visit the vet.
4. Scratch or Injury
Dogs are active creatures. They can get injured while running, playing, or jumping around the house. In addition, they could get into fights with other animals or get into unfortunate accidents.
If your dog hurts its nose, it could turn pink due to the injury.
Itching can be a symptom if the dog suffers from an allergy or infection. If not controlled, the dog can continuously paw at its nose or rub its face against furniture, resulting in deep scratch marks. Such behavior can again affect the skin on the nose and cause the color to change from black to pink.
In the case of an injury, the dog’s nose should regain its original color once the wound is healed. This may take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. If only the upper layers of the skin are affected, then topicals or ointments should be enough for healing.
If the injury is deep, it would be best to check with the vet. The wound may need cleaning and dressing. The vet may also prescribe medication to prevent infection and aid healing.
The vet must treat underlying conditions such as allergy or infection if the wound results from excessive scratching.
Demodicosis is a parasitic skin disease. It is caused by a microscopic mite called Demodex canis or Demodex injal.
These mites live in the hair follicles of the dog. As long as the animal’s immune system works, the mites do not cause any issues. But without a robust immune system, the mites can multiply in numbers.
If your dog has demodicosis, you may first notice hair loss patches around its face. You may also see skin lesions around the nose. The condition can be seen in young puppies and adult dogs with a weakened immune system.
The vet will take skin samples and examine them under a microscope to confirm the condition. The treatment plan involves topicals. If the disease has spread, it will require a combination of oral medication and topicals.
Some vets may suggest off-label topicals. For example, the injectable form of doramectin is not approved to manage demodicosis, but it can be an effective treatment.
If the condition has worsened with secondary skin infections, then the dog will need antibiotics and shampoos to ease the skin irritation.
Commonly known as ringworm, this is an infection caused by fungus.
The condition is contiguous.
The fungal spores can be shed from an infected animal. These spores can stay in the environment for 18 months. So, if your dog comes into contact with a contaminated source, it can get infected.
The fungus feeds on keratin. So it is the dog’s skin, nails, and hair that get affected. You may start seeing patches of hair loss and skin lesions. These lesions may not necessarily be ring-shaped.
A dog with ringworm can present other symptoms like:
- Crusty skin
- Brittle nails
- Inflamed hair follicles
- Secondary infections
The vet will perform a fungal culture to confirm the diagnosis. The treatment plan combines topical, systemic, and environmental sanitation.
Topical treatment can involve anti-fungal ointments, shampoos, and rinses. They may have to be applied to the dog’s body for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks. Systemic treatment involves oral medications. You should not give anti-fungal oral medication to pregnant pets as it can cause congenital disabilities in the litter.
As fungal spores can live for long in the environment, the dog’s surroundings must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
This is a condition in which the dog starts losing pigments on its skin and hair. This loss of pigmentation can occur all over the body or restrict itself to specific body parts. For example, vitiligo could affect only the dog’s nasal area, whereas in other cases, you may see the dog covered in patches of discoloration.
Vitiligo is not a harmful condition. Your pet may look different, but the situation will not affect its health. Therefore, your dog can still enjoy an excellent quality of life.
The causes of vitiligo can vary. Some experts believe the condition is hereditary, while others believe the immune system produces antibodies that cause discoloration. Exposure to toxins and extreme stress are also considered possible causes.
Some breeds like Retrievers and Rottweilers are prone to the condition. If you start seeing patches of discoloration, especially around the nose and eye area, you can consult the vet.
Again, vitiligo is not a condition that will affect your pet’s quality of life. It will still enjoy food, run around the house, enjoy the outdoors and adore spending time with you.
There is no treatment available for the condition. Some vets may suggest getting the dog enough sunshine or feeding it a diet rich in vitamin C and omega-3. But know that it is rare for the dog to regain pigmentation.
Instead of worrying about the condition, feed the dog a healthy diet, play with it, take it for walks, hikes, and swims and enjoy your time with the pet.
8. Autoimmune Diseases
If the vet has ruled out skin infections and allergies, the cause of the pink spot on the dog’s nose could be an autoimmune disease. For example, pemphigus is an autoimmune condition that can affect a dog’s skin and mucous membrane.
Then there is another condition called lupus erythematosus, in which the dog’s immune system attacks its tissue. Some types of nasal cancers may present symptoms similar to skin infections.
In the case of autoimmune diseases, the general form of treatment is immunosuppression. This means the drugs will aim to reduce the reaction produced by the immune system.
Dogs will be given corticosteroids. Most pets will respond to dexamethasone or prednisone. For severe cases, other aggressive drugs may be required.
9. Nasal Polyps
This is a rare condition in dogs. In the case of nasal polyps, your dog’s nose will not turn pink, but it will have pink growths in the nose. Polyps are not to be confused with tumors. Polyps are benign, but tumors can be both benign and cancerous.
If your dog has pink growth in or around the nose, it can present additional symptoms like:
- Noisy breathing
- Discharge from the nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Facial swelling
In case of abnormal growth, it would be best to see the vet. The vet can confirm if the growth is a tumour or polyps.
The vet may first perform a physical examination of the nasal passageway. Next, imaging tests may be conducted to determine the extent of the growth. Finally, a sample may also be taken to determine the nature of the growth.
Once the vet confirms the growth is nasal polyps, surgery will be the way forward. Even if benign, the growth should be removed, so your pet does not suffer from breathing issues.
The vet may recommend a specialist if the growth turns out to be a tumor. Treatment options for tumors include surgery, radiation, and anti-cancer drugs.
Should I be worried about a pink spot on dog nose?
To state the obvious, your dog needs a nose to breathe. It also requires a nose to smell.
Did you know that dogs could smell 100,000 times better than us humans? If you are having difficulty understanding the fact, let us look at the explanation offered by PetMD. Your dog can probably smell half a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-sized pool.
So, it is safe to say a nose is essential for a dog to survive. If you notice anything abnormal about the nose, it would be best to call the vet. You can describe the symptoms over call, and the vet can determine if you need to visit the clinic.
Apart from pink spots on the nose, if the dog shows symptoms like scabbing, crusting, discharge, swelling, excessive scratching, or licking, they could be indicators of a health issue.
The vet can treat causes like allergies, infections, and injury. It may take a few weeks, but your vet can get back to normal with proper treatment. So there is no need to worry if you seek help from the vet at the right time.
Is there a pink spot on your dog’s nose? There could be several reasons behind the symptom. Some causes do not have any effect dog’s health, but other causes will require proper treatment, or the pet’s condition could worsen.
Snow noses and vitiligo are reasons that can lighten the color of a dog’s nose. Other causes, like allergies, infections, injuries, autoimmune diseases, and nasal growths, require treatments. But your pet can enjoy its daily life as usual.
Apart from a pink nose, if your dog has difficulty breathing, nosebleeds, excessive itching, or skin lesions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the vet.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.