Loss of Pigmentation in Dog Nose: Is Your Labrador’s Nose Turning Pink?

Is your Labrador’s nose turning pink? In Labradors, the color of their fur often reflects the color of their nose. Black Labradors have black noses, and chocolate Labradors have liver (or brown) noses. On the other hand, yellow Labradors may be born with either a black or lighter colored nose.

Why Is Labrador's Nose Turning Pink?

The change in nose color is often seen in yellow Labradors, but chocolate Labradors and black Labradors may experience it too. So, your Labrador’s nose turning pink may be an indication of some health problem.

From genes to bacterial infections to skin diseases, there are different reasons why Labradors lose pigmentation in their noses. Here are some reasons why Labs and other dogs experience having color changes in their nose. Find out which of these may be responsible for your Labrador’s nose turning pink.

A yellow Labrador’s nose turning pink  may be because of his body’s tyrosinase activity

Many gene types influence the color of a Labrador Retriever’s coat and nose. Since they were first bred around the 1700s, generations of breeding could cause loss of pigmentation in different parts of their body – brought about by their recessive genes. Most of these changes occur in yellow Labrador Retrievers although it has been seen in chocolate Labradors as well.

The pigmentation of a yellow Labrador’s nose is often due to a gene, which is distinct from the one which controls their coat color. The change in pigmentation is also linked to the amounts of the enzyme tyrosinase present in a Labrador’s body.  The Tyrosinase is the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin pigment leading to a Labrador’s nose turning pink.

The following factors may also affect how they function:

  • Old Age – As your Lab gets older, the tyrosinase in his body decreases, therefore the production of melanin in their body decreases as well. This leads to the loss of pigmentation in the Lab’s nose.
  • Season and temperature – Tyrosinase is a temperature-dependent enzyme. This means that dogs produce more tyrosinase during summer to boost the melanin levels in their body, to help protect them from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. And when it gets colder, the production of tyrosinase decreases as well, and this leads to the loss of pigmentation in the nose of some yellow Labs. This is commonly known as “snow nose” or “winter nose” and is also common in other dog breeds such as the Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and more.
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Your Labrador’s nose turning pink because of certain immune diseases and skin issues

There are skin issues that can turn your dog’s black nose to pink or any lighter color.

  • Vitiligo – Vitiligo occurs in dogs when the melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment, are destryoed. This condition can turn patches of a dog’s coat white. It can also turn a dog’s nose pink. Vitiligo is seen in dog breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Dachshunds, Rottweilers, and German Shepherd Dogs.
  • Nasal Solar Dermatitis – Labrador’s nose turning pink could be due to skin disorder. More commonly known as Collie nose, this condition makes a dog’s nose very sensitive to sunlight. Dogs with nasal solar dermatitis develop severe sunburn turning the dog’s nose pink. Without proper treatment, this condition can lead to skin cancer. This skin condition is common among herding dog breeds such as Collies, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Germans Shepherds and it is very rare among Labradors.

Your Labrador’s nose may change in color due to injury

A Labrador can scrape his nose, causing the top layer of the skin in his nose to peel off. Your Lab’s nose can turn pink while it heals, but its pigment will usually return after some time.

A Labrador Retriever may be born with a pink or liver nose

A yellow Labrador can have a Dudley Nose. A Dudley Labrador is a yellow Labrador Retriever who has no pigmentation on his muzzle, eyes, eye rims, and nose. However, this genetic trait is rare, and it only affects only yellow Labradors. This trait cannot be classified as an abnormality of the genes.

Your Labrador’s nose can turn pink because of different reasons. It is always best to check with a veterinarian to determine what’s causing your dog’s nose to lose its color and to find out if it will need any treatment.

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