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white spots on dog's nose

What Do White Spots On My Dog’s Nose Mean? Is It Serious?

White spots on a dog’s nose have various causes, some benign and some serious. We explore them and any potential treatment.

Usually, a dog’s nose will be one consistent color. Depending on the breed, their noses can be black, brown or pink. The fact that their nose remains one solid color means that when there is any sort of discoloration, it is often a cause for concern. 

A white spot on a dog’s nose can be something as simple as a pimple, or can be something as serious as a fungal or bacterial infection. It may also be an indicator of a serious illness or problems with their skin, especially in a dog with a long or thick coat. 

In this article we’re going to look at some of the different reasons why dogs get white spots on their nose, what they mean and what you can do.

Causes of White Spots on Dog’s Noses 

There are several reasons why your dog may get a white spot on their nose. These spots and bumps can be all different shipes, sizes and textures, and can be pretty common. Some of these reasons require minimal attention, but others require medical attention. 


Just like humans, dogs can get pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. Their hair and fur follicles are pretty similar to humans, so they can get pimples when their hair follicles are clogged – just like us. 

It’s very common for dogs to get pimples – which appear as whiteheads and blackheads – on their stomachs and genital area, as well as their nose. Dogs also have pores on their noses, so when dirt and debris get trapped, they can cause a breakout. This may be why you’re seeing a small white spot on your dog’s nose. 

It’s important that you keep up with regularly grooming your dog. This way you can make sure any dirt or debris is washed away from your dog’s nose, fur, chest, stomach and near their genitals. 

If your dog appears to be having frequent breakouts around their muzzle and chin area, this may be because of dirty food and water bowls. When dogs eat and drink, their noses, chin and even ears touch the bowl.

Plastic food and water bowls usually hold dirt and oils, which is what can cause these breakouts. It’s worth swapping your dog’s bowls for ceramic or stainless steel options. 

Pimples and breakouts aren’t usually a cause for concern, but you should never try and pop the pimple on your dog’s nose – no matter how tempted you are.

Popping it yourself can cause the pimple to become infected and inflamed. If you want to treat your dog’s breakout, it’s worth consulting with your vet so that you can get a topical treatment.

Snow Nose 

Snow Nose is a condition which causes a dog’s nose to go from its normal black or dark brown color to pink or white. The proper term for this is hypopigmentation, and usually happens in winter, or to dogs who live in colder climates.

With that being said, there are some reports of snow nose happening to dogs who live in warmer climates as well. 

Although snow nose cans affect all dog breeds, there are a few who are more susceptible to developing the condition. These are: 

  • Labrador Retrievers 
  • Golden Retrievers 
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs 
  • Siberian Huskies

There is currently no known reason as to why snow nose happens, but it’s usually seen as a side effect of the change in temperature. 

Luckily, snow nose is not a serious condition that you need to worry about, as it’s a cosmetic change. It’s not painful, and will not affect your dog’s day to day life.

After a few weeks or months, snow nose tends to disappear and a dog’s nose will go back to it’s usual color. In some cases, snow nose can be permanent, but it’s not something you should be concerned about. 

However, if you notice any other symptoms, there’s a chance that this could be something more serious. If that is the case, you should consult your vet. 

Kennel Nose 

If your dog is kept in a crate or kennel for extended periods of time, then they may develop a raw white bump or mark on their nose. This is because dogs like to spend a lot of time exploring the environment around them using their nose.

If your dog spends a lot of time in a crate, they may consistently rub their nose against the crate trying to explore the surroundings outside of their crate. 

Dogs who are kept in crates are also more prone to developing stress-related anxiety. This is because dogs need both mental and physical stimulation, even if it’s simply walking around the house. 

When a dog is cooped up in a crate, they have no other option but to try and nudge their way out of the crate. Constantly rubbing their nose against the crate can create a white spot on their nose. If this happens, it’s important that you gently clean the spot so that it doesn’t get infected. 

Try and get a bigger crate which gives your dog more of an opportunity to move around. Alternatively, you could hire a dog sitter or take your dog to daycare if you’re away for long hours during the day. 

white spots on dog's nose

Canine Vitiligo 

Vitiligo is a very rare skin condition in which the skin loses its natural pigmentation. This can cause white spots to appear on a dog’s nose, muzzle, lips and throughout their coat. Canine vitiligo will usually start as tiny white spots on a dog’s face and nose before it spreads to other areas such as their coats or paw pads. 

It may take up to 6 months to spread from when the first spot appears. 

Like snow nose, canine vitiligo is a cosmetic condition, and has no painful effects. Over time, the white spots may gradually grow larger, and can even disappear. 

Canine vitiligo is believed to be hereditary, and there are certain breeds which are more prone to developing the condition. These include: 

  • Dachshunds 
  • Doberman Pinschers 
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers 
  • Irish Setters 
  • Old English Sheep Dogs 
  • Rottweilers 
  • Siberian Huskies 
  • Yellow Labradors 

If there are no underlying medical causes which are causing the de-pigmentation, then there is no need for any medical treatment. 

Nasal Hyperkeratosis 

Nasal hyperkeratosis usually occurs when a dog is producing too much keratin. The extra keratin they produce causes a crusty, hard, dry layer on their nose.

In most cases, these layers are unnoticeable, but in more severe cases, these layers can grow to be an inch thick. If a dog has nasal hyperkeratosis, you may notice some white bumps on their noses too. 

Canine nasal hyperkeratosis is not an uncommon condition, and can be chronic, so it will need to be treated for the rest of your dog’s life. This condition can affect all dog breeds, and can occur as early as adulthood. 

If you suspect your dog has nasal hyperkeratosis, be sure to consult you with your vet so that you can find the best treatment. Most vets will prescribe a natural moisturizer for dry and crusty skin. In some severe cases, vets may even prescribe antibiotics or steroids to help treat any inflammation from the build up. 

Pemphigus Foliaceus (PF) 

Pemphigus Foliaceus (also known as PF) is an autoimmune disease which typically affects middle-aged and senior dogs. It can affect any breed of dog, and dogs may develop yellow pustules and scabs on their face, head, and ears. With that being said, Chow Chows and Akitas are more prone to developing this condition. 

The following are believed to cause PF in dogs: 

  • Viral infections
  • Genetic predisposition 
  • Prolonged UV light exposure 

To properly diagnose PF in a dog, a skin biopsy is required. If a dog has a mild case of PF then it can usually be treated with topical steroids or corticosteroids. These treatments will help treat PF, and dogs will usually respond well to these treatments. After some time, dogs can be weaned off of the treatment. 

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) 

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus, or DLE, is another common autoimmune disease which affects dogs. DLE usually affects a dog’s skin, and will usually occur around the nose.

If a dog has this condition, you’ll notice swelling, lesions, or changes in color of the nose skin. There will often be white spots or white marks on their usually dark colored nose. DLE can also affect the skin around a dog’s eyes and lips. 

No one knows, as of yet, what causes DLE in dogs. But many believe that is a hereditary disease, or is an effect of environmental factors. 

If you think that your dog has DLE, it’s important that you contact your vet as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to prescribe topical creams or gels that will reduce the swelling and alleviate discomfort. Your vet may also advise you to reduce the amount of sun exposure your dog gets, as this can make the condition worse. 

How To Treat White Spots On A Dog’s Nose 

Fortunately, the appearance of a white spot or mark on your dog’s nose is not usually a cause for concern, and most marks will go away by themselves after a few days or weeks.

However, you must remain cautious, and we do recommend that you bring your dog to the vet as soon as you notice a white spot that is growing in size or replicating on your dog’s nose. 

When it comes to your dog’s health it’s better to be safe than sorry. Vets will give you a clear diagnosis, and you’ll know for certain whether it’s a serious issue or not. You’ll also be given the right treatments. 

When taking your dog to get a diagnosis, you can expect: 

  • Allergy testing 
  • Blood work
  • Biopsy 
  • Scraping of white spot and any other affected tissues

Depending on the results, your dog may be prescribed different treatment methods. A white spot may cause environmental, behavioral, or dietary changes in your dog’s life. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is A White Spot On A Dog’s Nose A Sign Of Cancer? 

Nasal cancer in dogs is a very rare condition, which only affects less than 2% of all canines. If you find a white spot on your dog’s nose, it’s very unlikely that it’s cancer. However, it is worth taking your dog to the vet for a diagnosis, just to be on the safe side. 

It’s worth noting that symptoms of canine nasal cancer include discharge from the nose, noisy or difficult breathing, weight loss, coughing and fatigue. 

What Do Dog Pimples Look Like?

Dog pimples look very simple to human pimples. They’re often red spots, which are typically swollen. Just like humans, these pimples can present themselves as whiteheads and blackheads. 

As we mentioned earlier, you should not pop the pimples yourself, as this can lead to infection. It’s important that you regularly wash and clean your dog to reduce outbreaks. 

Can I put Neosporin on my dog’s nose?

You’ll be glad to hear that the ingredients in Neosporin are generally safe for dogs. However, you must consult with your vet first. If your vet agrees that you can use it, you must only apply a tiny amount to the affected area.

Final Thoughts 

Most of the time, the presence of a white spot or mark on your dog’s nose is not a typical cause for concern. However, it is worth consulting with your vet to confirm what is causing the white marks and if your dog needs any treatment.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor