Why Do Golden Retrievers’ Noses Turn Brown? 7 Causes Explained

One of the most common questions and concerns that Golden Retriever’s owners have is why my Golden Retriever’s nose is turning brown?

Golden Retrievers’ noses can switch to a different color for multiple reasons, and in this article, we will discuss each of them.

So, why do Golden Retrievers’ noses turn brown? Golden Retrievers’ noses can turn brown due to a condition called “snow nose.” They may also be suffering from lupus or pemphigus, having an allergic reaction, or your Golden Retriever is becoming an adult.

There is more to that answer; keep reading to figure out what is causing your dog’s nose to turn brown.

7 Reasons Your Golden’s Nose Is Turning Brown.

golden retriever with brown nose to show why do golden retrievers' noses turn brown

Here are seven possible reasons why your Golden Retriever’s nose turns brown.

  1. Snow nose
  2. Lupus
  3. Allergic Reaction
  4. Pemphigus
  5. Trauma
  6. Growing up
  7. Cancer

Snow Nose

The snow nose is a condition that occurs in the winter, which is evident from the name.

This Condition will lighten your Golden’s nose, so if your Golden Retriever’s nose is black, it usually turns to brown, and if their nose is already brown, it will turn to pink.

However, it may occur in any cold temperature and not just in winter.

This condition is temporary, and as soon as the weather turns to a warmer temperature, their nose will begin to return to its natural color.

The snow nose is not threatening and does not have any other signs except the change in the nose color.


Lupus is a rare disease in dogs but can still occur every once in a while.

This disease makes the Dog’s immune system attack the organs and the body tissues, so lupus can be fatal.

Here are the signs of lupus in Golden Retrievers.

  • Changes in their skin color
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia 
  • Lameness
  • Swelling in the joints
  • Neurologic symptoms
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the joints
  • Excessive thirst
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Ulcers around their genitals or mouth
  • Increased urination
  • Hair loss
  • Crusty skin 
  • Kidney Problems

If you believe that your Golden Retriever has Lupus, It would be best to take them as soon as you notice to the vet.

Allergic Reaction 

If your Golden is allergic to something, it may be an allergic reaction.

It can be that your Golden got close to something that irritated their nose, and it caused a loss of nose pigmentation.

Here are other signs of allergic reactions in Golden Retrievers.

  • Itchiness 
  • Vomiting 
  • Itchy ears
  • Hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflamed skin
  • Swelling of the lips
  • Sneezing
  • Swelling of the face
  • Red Skin
  • Runny eyes
  • Swelling of the eyelids 
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Itchy eyes

If you think that your Golden has an allergic reaction, you should take them to the vet because they will probably take a shot.


Pemphigus is one of the most common skin diseases in dogs, and it usually occurs in middle-aged and senior dogs.

Here are the signs of Pemphigus:

  • Hair loss
  • Open sores around their ears
  • Scabs
  • Ulcers around the face

If you are suspicious that your Golden may have Pemphigus, It would be better to take them to the vet; they will do a skin biopsy, and if they do have it, the vet will find the proper treatment for your Golden.

The treatment is usually a suppression of the immune system, so they will probably take prescribed immunosuppressive drugs.


One of the possible reasons your Retriever’s nose may turn brown is trauma.

If your dog injured his nose somehow, the scraped part would turn brown until the injury heals.

You can use betadine or iodine to clean the injury, use a cotton ball, wipe their nose tenderly with the solution, and make sure that your dog doesn’t lick it.

Growing Up

Most Puppies are born with pink noses, but it gets darker as they grow up, and there is nothing you can really do because it’s not a health issue. It’s just their genetics.


There are some types of cancer that can cause a change in the color of their skin, including their nose.

The symptoms can also include scabbing, redness, and bleeding.

However, if you notice that your Golden has a scar or a wound that doesn’t heal, you should take them to the vet.

Do You Need To Do Anything About Your Dog’s Nose Turning Brown

It depends on why their nose is turning brown; for example, if it’s due to the snow nose, there is nothing to do. All you have to do is wait for the temperature to get warmer.

Also, if your pup is growing up, then there is nothing you can do either because it’s their genetics.

However, if it’s lupus, cancer, Pemphigus, or an allergic reaction, you should take your Golden Retriever to the vet.

If it’s due to a minor injury or scar, then you can treat it at home, but if it’s a big wound, you should take them to the vet as well. 

Causes Of Snow Nose In Golden Retrievers

Scientists have yet to know what causes the snow nose in dogs, but they have one possible reason.

They believe it happens because the Tyrosinase (the enzyme that produces skin pigment) is sensitive to low temperatures, and it breaks down in the winter, causing their nose to change color.

The Tyrosinase can also break down as they grow older. That is why many senior dogs’ noses turn a different color.

How To Prevent Snow Nose In Golden Retrievers?

There is nothing you can do to prevent or treat the snow nose except maybe move to a warm country during the winter.

However, since we have yet to discover the reason that causes the snow nose, there is no treatment yet too.

Related Questions 

Do Golden Retrievers Noses Change Color?

Yes, Golden Retrievers’ noses can change color, most puppies have pink noses, but they turn to black or brown when they grow up; their noses can turn to pink or brown in the winter due to the “snow nose,” However, there are some health issues that can change their nose colors such as allergic reactions and lupus.

Why Do Dogs Lose Pigments On Their Nose?

Dogs can lose pigments on their nose due to the weather, allergies, cancer, Pemphigus, and traumas. However, the weather is the most common reason to make a dog’s nose lose its pigmentation, and It makes their nose turn pink or brown during the cold weather and then turn to the original color in the summer.  

Do Dog Noses Turn Brown With Age?

Yes, some dogs’ noses turn brown with age. However, it depends on the breed, the genetics, and the conditions; Their nose can also turn brown because of something called a snow nose that makes dogs’ noses turn brown during the winter.

Helpful Resources 

What is dog snow nose

How to treat Snow Nose in dogs

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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