Why Your German Shepherd’s Nose Turns Pink

What would you do if your German Shepherd’s nose turns pink? German Shepherds have black noses. You may find it worrisome to see your pet’s nose becoming lighter. The loss of pigmentation is common in dogs, as they turn older. Climate, bacterial infection, skin disorders, and even health problems also result in your dog’s nose turning pink.

Why Your German Shepherd’s Nose Turns Pink

Climate and Tyrosinase Activity

Tyrosinase is responsible for the production of melanin in your dog’s body. This enzyme converts the amino acid tyrosine into melanin black pigmentation. As tyrosinase is temperature-dependent, dogs produce more of this enzyme during hot seasons to increase the melanin level in the body and protect them from the UV rays of the sun.

During colder seasons, tyrosinase production and activity slow down. The decline leads to the pigmentation loss in your German Shepherd’s nose. This condition is commonly called “snow nose” or “winter nose” and is common in German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, and some other breeds. The pigmentation usually reverses as the summer returns.

Old Age

The tyrosinase level in your German Shepherd decreases as he gets older. As a result, there is a decline in the melanin production as well. This is the reason why your German Shepherd’s nose and coat lose pigmentation.

Skin Problems

Many skin issues can also cause your German Shepherd’s nose to turn pink. There are skin disorders that can lighten your German Shepherd’s black nose including:


Vitiligo is a skin disease that refers to the loss of pigment in the skin or coat of your pet. This happens when the melanocytes, which produce melanin, are destroyed.

The cause of vitiligo is not exactly known and is thought to be due to an autoimmune disease. Dogs with this disease experience whitening of their coats and lightening of their noses. German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers seem to be more prone to the disease.

Nasal solar dermatitis

Another possible reason why your German Shepherd’s nose turns pink is nasal solar dermatitis or “Collie Nose.” This disease is commonly found in Collies, German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and other herding dogs.

Nasal solar dermatitis makes your German Shepherd’s nose very sensitive to sunlight – causing severe sunburn that eventually makes his nose pinkish. This disease can lead to cancer.

Understanding German Shepherd Words, Terms and Abbreviations

VKH syndrome

An autoimmune disease, the syndrome forces the immune cells to attack melanocytes responsible for forming melanin in your dog’s body. Melanin gives color/pigment to the hair, skin, and parts of the eyes.


Allergies can make your German Shepherd’s nose turn pink. When your German Shepherd’s nose comes into direct contact with an allergen, his nose and lips become pink, crusted, and inflamed. One of the most common causes of allergic reactions associated with dog noses is the one caused by plastic food bowls. There are some types of plastics that can trigger allergic reactions in dogs. If your German Shepherd happens to be allergic to plastic, switching to a stainless food bowl is recommended.


Pemphigus is another skin-related auto-immune disease common in dogs and cats. Pemphigus can cause your German Shepherd’s nose to become sore and crusty. The condition can be treated easily with the help of a veterinarian.


A German Shepherd puts his noses wherever it leads him. Being adventurous, these dogs can get their nose injured or scraped during one of their “nosey” adventures. If the skin on the nose gets peeled, your German Shepherd’s nose may turn pink as it heals. Depending on the severity of the nose injury, the dark pigment returns once the wound heals.

Taking Care of Pink Noses

Dogs with pink or light noses are prone to sunburn so precautions should be taken. If your German Shepherd has a pink or light-colored nose, apply sunscreen on his nose before letting him go outside. Be sure to contact your vet to make sure there is no health issue associated with your dog’s nose turning pink.

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