Some people ask me about Sofie’s nose. She has what is called Snow Nose. I started to notice her nose change from black to pink in January 2013, when she was 2. I was worried at first that she was doing something to herself, like scraping off the skin (ouch!), or was she sick? Did she have a vitamin deficiency? Was there something wrong? I knew that many animals do lose pigment in their noses, but she was only 2 at the time. So I did what any internet, research-loving, pet-parent would do, I ‘googled’ the heck out of the question and found a lot of interesting facts.
1. Some dogs lose pigment in their noses in the winter. (Which is what I think might be going on here.) This is called ‘snow nose’ or ‘winter nose.’ Who knew? Though it seems to be something that is more common to dogs like Labrador Retriever, Golden, Bernese, or Husky (Sofie being none of those that we know – well maybe Golden?), the seasonal variation is no cause for alarm and usually goes back to black in the warmer months. Which it did for many summers, but no longer does.
2. Age is another reason. There is an enzyme called Tyrosinase which produces pigment. As a dog ages, the nasal plenum (that is a cool word, don’t you think?) might change from black to brown or pink, as less of the enzyme is produced. Interestingly enough, Tyrosinase is also sensitive to temperature. This may be why the fading of the ‘plenum’ in warmer months happens too.
3. Dermatitis, especially from plastic bowls, has been found to temporarily cause this. Or a real trauma, like an abrasion. If allergies are the cause the dog’s gums will possibly be red or inflamed too.
4. There is an immune disease that can cause a pink nose, called Vitiligo. (That is the disease that Michael Jackson said he had that turned his skin from black to white. I wonder if Sofie can sing?) But if a dog has this, there would be white patches usually throughout its body and white hairs. This seems to be found in Doberman, German Shepard, Rottweiler, and Dachshund mostly. It appears to be a rare problem, but I was happy to know that it can be managed by nutritional supplements (if you’re worried about the color of your dog’s nose). Show dogs can be disqualified if their pigment is not exactly right – so this might help in those cases.
Any changes in our little furry charges are always a cause of concern. Sofie’s nose did go back to black for many summers but now stays pink in the center year-round.
What color is your nose?
What kind of mischief did you get into today?
Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤