Although pink is a beautiful color to most people, you are unlikely to be as enthusiastic about it if it appears in your dog’s color. The pinkness of your dog’s skin could indicate a serious condition that requires immediate attention.
When a dog turns pink, it’s often thought among most dog owners that it’s a symptom of a problem. It can easily be a sign of a food allergy or some other similar, negative reaction. However, when dogs are excited, hot, chilly, upset, or have increased blood flow for a variety of reasons, they can look a bit pink.
Generally, this color change is more noticeable at nighttime as everyone calms down and you can observe your dog more closely. This is frequent occurrence in white and light-skinned dogs. However, when your dog’s pristine white coat starts turning pink or brown, this can be very aggravating.
The appearance of pink fur on dogs often suggests that something is wrong with their skin itself, and this issue should be explored, resolved, and treated as soon as possible with the help of a veterinarian. Some causes of pink tones in a light dog’s skin or pink coloring in a dog’s fur can be minor and harmless, while some of the possibilities for this strange change in appearance can be quite serious. Here are some of the primary causes of pink fur and pink skin changes seen in our furry friends.
1. A method of cooling
A dog’s skin or fur looking pink may simply be a side effect of a cooling technique. Many mammals, including humans, have a cooling system that involves blood being pumped to the skin’s surface, where it appears through light-colored skin and turns pink. Capillaries weaken in the winter or in very cold temperatures, and the blood stays deep beneath the skin, causing the skin to turn gray or blue.
This is generally due to vasodilation, or increased blood flow, which is most visible when a dog’s heart rate increases or when the temperature rises, but this can also occur for other reasons as well. Because the pinkness of a dog’s skin is visible through those who have white fur, this change in skin color is most noticeable in white dogs.
2. An increased amount of time spent in the sun
When dogs spend a lot of time in the sun during the day, they can sometimes become pink-looking at night. When dogs are drowsy from playing and being out in bright light, their eyes may appear a bit pink like when we humans get tired and our eyes become bloodshot (although this can also be conjunctivitis and will need to be addressed if persisting beyond what seems reasonable). When dogs become hot, such as when playing out in the sun and get heated up, their skin turns pink because of elevated blood pressure increasing the amount of blood rushing beneath the surface.
If your dog’s skin is turning pink, this could also be due to porphyrins in their bodily fluids. Because this chemical is primarily concentrated in your dog’s tears and saliva, anywhere they lick consistently and the facial areas near their eyes are the most typical regions to turn pink or experience discoloration (sometimes red or brown).
Porphyrins are left behind when a dog’s bodily fluids come into contact with their skin and fur. Because they contain iron, anywhere that is highly exposed to porphyrins turns pink, crimson, or brown when exposed to oxygen in the air.
Too much licking can cause your dog to develop pink blotches as well since your dog’s saliva includes porphyrin. Dogs produce saliva and tears naturally, and some of these fluids loaded with porphyrin will fall on their skin and cause slight discoloration at times—this is very normal and should be restricted to specific regions, visible only in modest amounts. If the change in color and amount of discoloration look to be excessive, there may be a condition that needs medical attention.
5. Yeast infection
Yeast dermatitis, more commonly known and referred to as just a yeast infection, is one of the most prevalent reasons for pink hair appearing on white dogs. All dogs, like humans, have beneficial bacteria and fungi on their skin. An overgrowth of that fungus though creates yeast infections, which cause itching and prompt the dog to lick or scratch the affected area.
This overgrowth, combined with the licking and scratching irritating the skin further, can lead to fur and skin discoloration—especially turning both the fur and skin varying shades of pink.
6. Food and environmental allergies
Excessive licking caused by food allergies can result in blemishes on your dog’s skin as well. If your dog is experiencing a lot of itching, appears to have poor coat quality, is biting himself a lot, or getting ear infections, these are all signs of food allergies. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur too.
A dog that turns up with newly develop spots can be having yet another visual symptom of an allergic response, but because of your dog’s skin and pattern, this may be difficult to notice. Environmental allergies can also cause your dog’s skin to turn pink due to the allergy causing an increase in tear production, and the color change will frequently occur and be most noticeable around the eyes. Allergy-prone dogs may also lick excessively, creating stains in other areas due to porphyrin.
Why do a dog’s lips turn pink?
When a dog’s lips turn pink but he or she otherwise has no noticeable health concerns, this change in color may simply be due to a loss of pigmentation which occurs as dogs grow older and their bodies change. There is nothing to worry about unless this change is accompanied by unusual symptoms at the same time.
What is a dog’s “snow nose”?
A “snow nose” is dogs is simply a lack of pigmentation in the nose, which can sometimes also be referred to as a “winter nose” since it seems to occur more often in cold weather. The nose can change color from black to brown or from light brown to pink depending upon your dog’s usual coloration and appearance. This hypopigmentation is usually very transient, and the nose eventually returns to normal. However, it is a perfectly normal condition and should not be a cause for concern.
What are the most common dog allergies?
Dogs primarily tend to have allergies when it comes to different foods. The breed of the dog will determine its sensitivities, but some of the most common allergies a dog may deal with are wheat, egg, dairy, chicken, beef, soy, fish, rabbit, or pork—it’s also very common for a dog to have more than one food allergy at a time as well.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.