Why is My Golden Retrievers’ Nose Turning Brown?

Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever (Photo credit: rkleine)

There are actually a few reasons this may be happening. Some say the brown nose is called a “snow nose” and it is caused by the cold weather. My previous golden, Logan, never had a brown nose. We live in Ontario Canada and the winters are fairly cold.  I have seen pictures of goldens in warm climates with brown noses too,  so I realized this isn’t the only reason for a dogs’ nose to change color.

I began an investigation…

An article in WebMD states:

Snow nose is a separate but common condition in which dark pigment on the nose
fades during the winter months and darkens again in spring and summer. Complete
depigmentation does not occur. Snow nose is seen in Siberian Huskies, Golden
, Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and other breeds

Another informative article  “What is Snow Nose” by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM suggests that some noses just lighten as the dog ages:

“The cause is not completely understood. Snow nose is more common in
light and white-coated breeds. This condition by itself isn’t a health
problem, but caution is advised in sunny weather, as the depigmented
area is at increased risk for sunburn. Some vets advise testing the
thyroid levels to make sure that there isn’t an underlying thyroid

Some dogs pigment in the nose just fades over time as they age.”

There is also a possibility it could be caused by using plastic food and water bowls.

Loss of pigment in a dog’s nose can be caused by eating and/or drinking
from plastic or rubber bowls that contain the chemical
p-benzylhydroquinone. This chemical is absorbed through the skin and
stops the formation of melanin. Many vets recommend using stainless
, glass or ceramic bowls instead of plastic to eliminate the

possibility of Plastic Dish Nasal Dermatitis.”  

                                                                          – Dog Health Doc “Color of Dog Noses”

I hope you found this information helpful.  I know we love our goldens no matter what color their noses are.

PLEASE do NOT try and alter the color your dogs nose with shoe polish or magic marker! (yes, I have read about this too!!)

Time for a poll!


Pigmentation Problems of the Nose in Dogs – WebMD

What is Snow Nose – VetMedicine.About.com

Color of Dog Noses – DogHealthDoc.com


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