8 reasons why your dog’s coat may be changing colour: it could be due to a lack of nutrients

Hangai Lilla

2023. September 17 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

When the colour of a dog's coat changes, owners usually assume it is due to old age. But there are also those who are desperate to know if everything is okay with their pet. It is not our intention to cause panic, but there are indeed many cases where such a change can be a sign of trouble ahead.


Today we look at that reasons why a dog changes his colour. So you can see more clearly that when you should see a doctor immediately.

1.) The maturing process

1. The maturing process
If your puppy is 8-12 months old and his coat is changing colour, this is probably normal and just the result of him crossing the threshold of adulthood.

Poodles, for example, may have much lighter hairs, even looking quite coarse. However, this is not the same as going grey. In Airedale Terriers, the saddle coat may become greyish, or grey hairs may be mixed in with the black. But it can also happen in general in any breed that when puppies shed their baby coat, the new growth of fur will be darker in colour due to hormonal changes.

Dogs with agouti colouring, such as the spiny-haired dachshund, Czechoslovakian Vlack, Caucasian Shepherd or Giant Schnauzer, may change coat colour over time due to the peculiar properties of their fur.

If skin problems appear during the colour change, you should always consult a doctor!

2.) The ageing process

Much to our chagrin, our pets age and, like us, they also turn grey as time goes by. Although their fur may not be completely white, the dark hairs will become lighter and lighter. The first grey hairs will appear on the muzzle, but can be found all over the body.

After a certain age, the body directs its energies to more important areas, such as melanin production. But we do love grey cheeks, eyebrows and ears!

3.) Hormonal problem

Changes in the dog’s coat colour and coat texture may also indicate hormonal problems. For example, an underactive thyroid gland may not only make the animal fat, slow and listless, but also cause the coat to become dull, brittle and fall out. If you notice similar symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your vet!

4.) Brown spots

Especially in light-haired dogs, you can often see that the hairs around the eyes and the face turn a reddish-brownish shade. This is a perfectly normal phenomenon, caused by a substance called porphyrin in the dog’s saliva and tears.

Because dogs lick themselves frequently, other areas can also become discoloured, such as the paws. It is not usually a sign of a major problem, but it may be worth getting your dog checked by a doctor, as there may be a medical reason for the intense staining, such as a tear duct or teething.

5.) Vitiligo or loss of pigment

Drastically whitened patches of hair on the body of a dog are a sign of vitiligo, an autoimmune disease. It most often affects the nose and muzzle of the bloodhound and can be temporary or permanent.

Melanocytes, the cells responsible for the pigments, stop working or die as a result of the disease. It can also be caused by genetic factors or a virus, and it is always worth getting your dog checked by a vet.

6.) The changing seasons

Summer sunlight can not only illuminate people’s hair, but also that of dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors. UV rays can damage not only skin but also hair, so make sure you don’t spend too much time in the sun and use a conditioning balm when bathing and a combing spray if necessary.

7.) Trimming

Here we have written about which dogs should not be clipped and which dogs should be clipped. Clipping the coats of dogs that should not be clipped can cause serious damage to the topcoat, which can lead to irreversible trauma to the hair follicle. Not only the colour of the coat, but also the texture can be permanently altered.

But it can also happen that everything was fine during the clipping, it’s just that the hairs are a different colour, so as they are clipped, the colour of the dog changes slightly.

8.) Nutritional deficiencies

Inadequate nutrient intake can also cause discolouration. This is because without the right combination of vitamins, minerals, protein and fat, the coat can become weak, brittle, brittle and dull. It is very important to pay attention to this, because in the long term it is not only the coat that will be affected by nutritional deficiencies. If you are unsure, feel free to ask your vet what food he recommends, taking into account your dog’s health, breed and age.

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