Why Do Golden Retrievers’ Noses Turn Pink?

by Shannon Merritt

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Why Do Golden Retrievers' Noses Turn Pink?

Has anyone ever wondered about their golden retriever’s nose?  I know that I do, especially when it turns pink.

Curious to know more, I dug up some details yesterday to answer this question.  I hope someone finds it useful.

Why do golden retrievers’ noses turn pink?

It is believed that Golden retrievers’ noses turn pink because of a condition known as hyperpigmentation, which is also more easily termed snow nose.  It is a condition that happens to dogs when the pigmentation of their nose fades when the weather gets colder during winter.  A golden retrievers’ nose can turn pink because their nose is black, while other dogs with dark brown noses will have their nose turn lighter brown due to this issue.

Reasonably common in nature, hyperpigmentation that causes golden retrievers’ noses to turn pink is often a temporary issue related to the weather, and more cosmetic in nature and short-lived.  On some rare occasions, golden retrievers whose noses turn pink are permanent.  This condition can often return during specific sessions but does not affect the physical texture of the nose itself. 

Another theory is related to Tyrosinase’s enzyme, but clear-cut research has not concluded whether either is the right reason for this condition. Specific breed experience this condition more than others; golden retrievers are one of those breeds.  There is no treatment or way of preventing this condition since it is unclear what the exact cause is.  Another reason why a golden retriever’s noses turn pink is due to trauma. 

If the golden retriever has had an injury to their nose, it can cause a pink, reddish, and irritated look that will fade once the injury heals.  Injuries that can cause pink or redness include a golden retriever bumping its nose on something.  And still, if a golden retriever is older, this can cause their nose to turn pink as it loses pigmentation with age.  A slightly worse problem for golden retrievers whose noses turn pink can include a bacterial infection.  These infections can cause a nose to turn pink but can also be accompanied by inflammation and soreness.

It is believed that Golden retrievers’ noses turn pink due to a condition known as hyperpigmentation that can also be known as snow nose.  This condition affects the pigmentation of a dog’s noses, causing it to fade when the weather gets colder, such as during winter.

A golden retrievers’ nose turns pink because their nose starts as black.  Their noses can turn a light brown for other dogs with dark brown noses due to this issue.

Hyperpigmentation is a fairly common condition that can cause golden retrievers or other dog breeds’ noses to turn pink or another color. Still, it is temporary and cosmetic, and related to weather conditions.

Thankfully it is most often short-lived for any dog’s nose that turns pink, including golden retrievers.  It can return when the seasons change and the weather gets colder.  Sometimes this condition can be permanent when golden retrievers’ noses turn pink but most often not.  The texture of the nose is not affected.

Some speculate that this condition is related to an enzyme known as Tyrosinase. Still, to date, no clear-cut research has been able to solidly identify which state or something else is genuinely causing golden retrievers’ noses to turn pink.

Certain breeds tend to suffer this issue more than others, with the golden retriever being one such breed.  It is a relief that it is a harmless condition since no treatment or prevention is known yet.

Other possibilities for golden retrievers that have noses that turn pink include advanced-aged dogs.  These older dogs may lose pigment due to their age and have pink noses.  Injuries can also cause a golden retriever’s nose to turn pink from bumping or another injury.

And finally, golden retrievers whose noses turn pink can be caused by a bacterial infection.  These infections must be advanced and treated by a veterinarian but are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as crustiness and inflammation.

If, however, a pink nose appears with other nose problems like bleeding, sores, scaling, or irritation, it can mean something else is going on.  Consulting the golden retrievers’ veterinarian is best to rule out other health issues that can be more serious.

Does every golden retriever develop a pink nose?

No, not every golden retriever develops a pink nose.  Some golden retrievers’ noses will not change in color regardless of the weather or any other issue.

If golden retrievers’ noses turn pink and are related to hyperpigmentation, they may be spending more time indoors than another golden retriever.   If they are house dogs that don’t particularly care for the outdoors during the colder months due to age or something else, they may not get a pink nose.

Some golden retrievers’ noses that turn pink may vary in how much this color changes, whatever the cause.

What is the tyrosinase enzyme, and what does it have to do with a golden retriever’s nose turning pink?

The tyrosinase enzyme is produced in animals’ bodily tissues that affect the pigment of the skin.  It can be reduced by weather temperature dropping or less sunlight.

While no detailed research has been done, the tyrosinase enzyme could reduce the pigment of a golden retriever’s nose in response to less sunlight or colder temperatures.

Will warming a golden retriever’s pink nose help it go back to normal?

No, warming a golden retriever’s pink nose will not help it go back to normal.    If the issue seems troublesome for some reason, it is best to consult their veterinarian to ensure that something else is not wrong and bring peace of mind to the pet parent.

Why Do Golden Retrievers' Noses Turn Pink?

What other conditions can a golden retriever experience concerning their nose that causes them to turn pink?

A few other conditions that a golden retriever can experience concerning their nose may cause it to turn pink, but other evident problems usually accompany them.  In such cases where it is suspected that there is an underlying condition causing this problem it is best to consult their veterinarian.

Lupus

In golden retrievers that have noses that turn pink, Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause changes to the golden retriever’s nose that can include these pigment changes.    This disease can affect multiple parts of the body and reveal itself as scaling and crusting of the nose.

Cancer

For golden retrievers noses that turn pink, cancer can affect dogs like humans and affect the nose and skin, causing changes to the pigment and scabbing, bleeding, and difficulty healing from wounds.  This can be found on the nose area or other parts of the golden retriever’s body, depending on the type of cancer.

Pemphigus

There are three types of this condition, which is autoimmune.  These conditions for golden retrievers noses that turn pink usually reveal themselves as patches on the nose or other body parts that are red show open sores and blisters.

These conditions, while more severe, are less common than the above-listed causes of a golden retriever’s nose turning pink.

If any of these conditions are suspected, prompt treatment from a veterinarian is necessary for the best overall health and longevity of the golden retriever whose nose turns pink.  Some conditions can be mild while other can be more severe, a veterinarian will best know how to address and deal with these and other problems.

What if a golden retriever’s nose turns pink, but it is also dry?

Various issues can cause a golden retriever whose nose turns pink but is also dry.

For a golden retriever or another dog with a nose that turns pink and is also dry, it could mean something as simple as spending too much time in the sun and having a sunburn.  This can be accompanied by flaking of the nose skin and can be remedied with a special lotion that the veterinarian can recommend, to prevent skin cancer and promote good health.

Why Do Golden Retrievers' Noses Turn Pink?

A skin disorder can cause a dry pink nose.  This is usually accompanied by scabbing of the skin or scabs, and a veterinarian must be consulted to keep the golden retriever healthy.

Finally, dehydration can be the cause of dryness for a golden doodle with a pink nose.  Severe cases of dehydration can cause changes to the skin and mucous membranes, including their nose.  Other symptoms that point to this issue are loss of elasticity of the skin, weakness, sunken eyes, and gums’ dryness.  This can be very dangerous; therefore, their veterinarian must be consulted.

Final Thoughts

For golden retrievers whose noses turn pink, there can be a few causes related to pigmentation or health.  This issue is usually harmless and temporary but can be permanent or caused by more severe problems.

While sometimes surprising, a pink nose will eventually return to normal with no issue.  When accompanied by other problems such as scaling or crusting, their veterinarian should be taken to ensure their overall good health.  Whether cosmetic or something more, it is usually no cause for alarm!

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