Why a dog’s nose changes color during certain times of the year

Hangai Lilla

2024. June 28 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

One of the cutest and most noticeable parts of your furry companion will indeed change color during the year.


This type of color change in dogs is completely normal, but it is worth taking steps to minimize it. We will explain why right away.

This Labrador even has a mole on its lighter-colored nose

This type of color change in dogs can also be related to the seasons

Even though the warm summer days are just arriving, a close acquaintance drew my attention to something about their almost one-year-old pet during a dog walk. They said they could swear that the currently black nose was a lighter brown in the winter. Could there be something wrong with it? Or could it be because the dog is getting older?

The phenomenon is not unique; almost every dog’s nose becomes lighter during the winter months. Black shades turn to brown, while brown noses lighten, sometimes even taking on a pinkish tone. We can witness this most intensely in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Malamutes, and Samoyeds, as well as in dogs that have lighter-colored coats and skin. This type of change can even be observed in cats.

But what could be the cause of this phenomenon?

The color change is actually the result of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which contains copper and determines the rate of melanin production, essentially shutting down in cold weather due to the decrease in the intensity and amount of sunlight. During the warmer months, this enzyme works with an essential amino acid called tyrosine to produce pigment, including in the nose. Without it, the color of the nose quickly becomes lighter.

This phenomenon clearly shows that the bodies of dogs and cats sense the cooling that we also experience. As pet owners, this can be a great indicator for us, as it signals the arrival of those periods with insufficient sunlight, which also make it harder for our furry friends to obtain the necessary nutrients.

The richest natural sources of the amino acid tyrosine are quality proteins, whether red or white meats, dairy products, eggs, and pumpkin seeds. Ensuring that your dog gets the right amount and quality of nutrients is important throughout the year, but it is especially crucial during the colder periods with fewer sunny hours. If you are unsure how to boost your pet’s diet during this time, feel free to consult your veterinarian!

In addition to sun exposure, you also need to protect your pet from other summer dangers. We wrote about them here.

colour of dog nose dog nose dog nose cold protein

Related articles

Are cats your favourite too?
Visit our Love my catz page too!