Golden Retriever Snow Nose [What Causes It?]

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[Updated July 2019]

When we first brought home our Golden Retriever puppy Ellie, she had a very black nose. Over time and especially after her first winter her nose started to turn lighter.  Now at age 3, her nose is pink, and it hasn’t changed back.

What is Golden Retriever Snow Nose, and what causes it? The term “snow nose” is a common condition that not only affects Golden Retrievers but also Labradors, Siberian Huskies, and other breeds that have a white or light coloured coat.

It happens when a dog’s dark nose loses pigment and becomes lighter. A dark nose can turn brown or pink.

Snow nose occurs in the winter months when there is a loss of sunlight and is sometimes called “winter nose”.

No Snow Needed For Snow Nose

Snow nose doesn’t occur because of the snow, but it gets the name snow nose or winter nose because the nose loses its colour pigmentation when the daylight hours are shorter in the winter months.

Some dogs noses will return to their darker colour in the summer months, but some dogs as they get older will keep their light coloured noses all year round.

The term snow nose doesn’t just affect dogs living in cold climates, but it has also been reported to affect dogs living in warmer climates as well.

Golden Retriever with pink nose.

Should I Be Concerned?

The temporary loss of pigmentation on the nose is a cosmetic issue that does not harm your dog and there is no need to be concerned.

As your dog ages, the colour change can become permanent, the nose will still be healthy but just lighter than before.

Snow nose is not a health concern, but if you notice any changes in your dog’s nose such as crusts, sores, discharge, sneezing or wheezing, you should consult your vet.

A loss of pigmentation in the nose can also be caused by an underlying thyroid condition, and you will want to consult your vet to get thyroid levels tested.

Another cause of pigment loss in your dog’s nose could be from contact dermatitis. Some dogs have a sensitivity to plastic, and continued exposure to it will lighten their nose. If you use a plastic food and water bowl, it is best to switch to stainless steel or ceramic bowls.

Making the switch to stainless steel or ceramic bowls will also be more hygienic because plastic harbours bacteria when it gets scratched.

Can Snow Nose Be Treated Or Prevented?

There is nothing that can be done to prevent or treat snow nose. As mentioned above, the loss of pigmentation in the nose can be a temporary seasonal thing for some dogs, and for other dogs, it can be permanent all year round.

Snow nose does not cause any harm to your dog, nor is it associated with disease. It is a cosmetic issue, and there really isn’t a lot of knowledge as to why it happens to some dogs and not to others.

Golden Retriever standing in snow.

Take Care Of Your Dog’s Pink Nose

If your dog has a naturally pink nose, or it has turned pink temporarily, or permanently, you will need to protect your dog from sunburn.

Just like humans with fair skin, dogs with pink noses are at risk for sunburn and need to be protected from the sun.

A great way to protect your dog’s nose from getting sunburned is by applying a natural moisturizing sun protection balm.  The one I recommend is from Snout Magic.

Snout Magic dog nose butter.

Snout Magic is a 100% natural and organic soothing balm, that contains ingredients like Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, and Cocoa Seed Butter.

There is no need to worry if your dog licks it off.  It is all natural and will not harm your dog, as long as you continue to apply the balm it will offer protection.

Snout Magic is also great for dogs who suffer from dry cracked noses.  It prevents windburn, heals rashes and skin irritations, and helps with many other nose conditions.

It is great for you too if you suffer from chapped lips and dry skin.

Final Thoughts

If you have a dog whose dark nose has faded to pink during the winter months, then rest assured it is snow nose, and it is not harmful to your dog.

However, if your dog has other changes occurring in his nose such as sores or any discharge it is best to consult your vet.

Remember to take special care of your dog’s pink nose as it will sunburn easily.

What About You?

Have you noticed your Golden Retriever’s nose turning pink?  Did your dog’s nose return to black in the summer?

Share your thoughts and comments below, I would love to hear from you.

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I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Stirling, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.

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