Why is My Golden Retriever’s Nose Pink?

Typically, Golden Retrievers have black noses. However, in some cases, their noses can turn pink or brown. This can happen at any time during their life, and if there isn’t any itching, crusting, or bleeding, then there’s no need to worry.

A pink nose in Golden Retrievers is often caused by hyperpigmentation, which is more commonly known as ‘snow nose’. There are also some circumstances where pink patches on their nose can be a sign of a more serious issue, read on to find out more.

Snow Nose in Golden Retrievers

The cause of snow nose isn’t exactly scientific – it’s the theory that the pigmentation of the Goldie’s nose fades during cold weather in the winter. This is usually just a short-term cosmetic change that’s related to the seasons. 

There’s another theory that it’s linked to an enzyme called tyrosinase that’s responsible for producing melanin. Melanin is a pigment that makes the dog’s nose black and protects them from the sun’s rays. The theory is that in winter when there’s less, weaker sunlight, the Golden Retriever won’t produce as much melanin, and therefore their nose changes from black to pink.

If your Golden Retriever doesn’t show any signs of pain or discomfort, then you don’t need to do anything or seek treatment. Over time, their nose will probably turn black again, often in the warmer seasons. It’s impossible to prevent too, you have to let it run its course. 

Other Reasons Why a Golden Retriever’s Nose Might Turn Pink

Aside from snow nose, a pink or brown nose can be caused by a range of health issues. While just a colour change usually isn’t something to worry about, a change in texture is a worrying sign. 

If your Golden Retriever’s nose changes from a normal cobblestone texture to smooth, make an urgent appointment to see the vet.

Nose and Sinus Inflammation

A Golden Retriever’s nose can become inflamed if they have a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. If untreated, this can spread from the nose into the sinuses – called sinusitis. 

Symptoms of nose and sinus inflammation in Golden Retrievers are:

  • Pink or brown nose (if it’s in addition to any of the other symptoms on this list. Colour change alone can be a sign of any number of things).
  • Nose texture becomes smooth, though it may eventually turn crusty.
  • Coughing.
  • Sneezing.
  • Lost appetite.
  • Yellow discharge from their nose.
  • Bleeding from their nose.
  • Stuffy nose that’s restricting breathing.
  • Reverse sneezing (taking air into the nose, not expelling it out).

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, take your Golden Retriever to the vet where they’ll most likely be prescribed medication to clear the infection up. If your Goldie is struggling to breathe, get them to a vet ASAP.

Trauma/ Injury

Another reason for a nose colour change is if your Golden Retriever has hurt their nose. This can be a cut, a scrape from a rough surface, or a scratch. A particularly bad injury might be accompanied by a nosebleed.

If their nose is bleeding, use a clean cloth to put pressure on it to stop the bleeding. If it won’t stop, you’ll need to see a vet. It’ll also need to be properly cleaned to prevent infection from setting in.


Golden Retrievers are prone to allergies – to pollen, dust, mold, or any number of things. Exposure to allergens can trigger inflammation which can turn their noses pink. 

Symptoms of allergies in Golden Retrievers include:

  • Pink nose.
  • Swollen face.
  • Itchiness or hives.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy eyes with discharge coming out.
  • Constant licking.

If your Golden Retriever is struggling to breathe, it could be anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction that could be fatal. 

If it’s not a severe allergy, the vet might prescribe medication or advice you to distance your Goldie from the allergen. For example, if a certain food is a problem, change their food, or if it’s mould, deeply clean their environment. 

To learn more about a Golden Retriever’s potential health issues, check out this post.

Other Causes of Pink Nose

There are some rarer issues that can cause a Golden Retriever’s nose to turn pink. They’ll often have other signs and require urgent treatment from a vet.

  • Lupus: An autoimmune disease where the Goldie’s immune cells attack healthy skin cells and can cause a pigment change in their nose. Their nose can become crusty, scabbed, and pink. It can affect all over their body.
  • Pemphigus: Another autoimmune disease, it looks like scabs, ulcers, and sometimes hair loss on the face. In this case, their noses will also turn red. It’ll need diagnosing and treatment from a vet.
  • Vitiligo: A skin condition that causes the skin to lose its natural pigmentation. It’s painless and won’t affect them aside from cosmetically. Their nose might go pink and their fur might turn white.
  • Cancer: Some types of cancer can affect the nose and skin of your Golden Retriever. It can also cause scabbing, bleeding, and prevent wounds from healing as they should.

Extra Note on Pink Noses in Golden Retrievers

There’s also a chance that their pink nose is being caused by sunburn from spending too much time in the sun. You might also notice that their nose seems to be flaking.

Try to keep your Golden Retriever out of strong sunlight for prolonged periods and you can look into getting dog-friendly lotions that can help their nose and skin heal.

If this is the case, watch out for dehydration. If their skin isn’t as elasticated, they’re weak, have sunken eyes, or dry gums then they’re in danger of dehydration. To avoid this, make sure they always have access to shade and drinking water – especially when it’s hot.


Overall, a pink nose on your Golden Retriever is likely to be snow nose, which is a harmless, cosmetic change that occurs in cooler months. There is a chance of it being something more serious though, so always make an appointment with the vet if you’re unsure or worried about your Goldie.

Related Questions

Do Golden Retrievers Need Suncream?

Yes, if your Golden Retriever has a pink or brown nose, they would need to use dog-friendly suncream as there’ll be less melanin. Gently massage the sun cream onto their nose, paying extra attention to the pink patches. 

If they do get a sunburnt nose, you’ll need to be careful to prevent further, more serious burns. Try keeping them out of mid-day sun to help avoid the worst of it.

Does Every Golden Retriever Get a Pink Nose?

No, not every Golden Retriever will get a pink nose. This is something that will affect certain Goldies – such as those living in extra cold places. Even if they do get a pink nose, it can vary from a small patch to their entire nose, it entirely depends on the dog and the situation.

Do Any Other Breeds Get Snow Nose?

As well as Golden Retrievers, there are other breeds that get snow nose like Siberian Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs. It works in the same way – the pigmentation fades in the winter months and usually returns to black in the hotter seasons. 


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