White Spot on Dog Nose – 8 Causes and When to Worry About It

White Spot on Dog Nose. Photo of a dog with a white spot on his nose.

Are you freaking out about a sudden white spot on your dog’s nose? Don’t panic; everything you need to know is waiting for you below!

The white spot on your dog’s nose is probably a sign of aging. There are many common and cosmetic reasons for a white spot on your dog’s nose. These include snow nose, whiteheads, nasal hyperkeratosis, kennel nose, DLE, PF, and vitiligo.

In most cases, a white spot on dog nose is a cosmetic problem and not a sign of a severe medical condition. However, understanding what it is will help you know how to care for it!

Why does my dog have a white spot on his nose?

A white spot can appear at any age in dogs. Most will start to notice these tiny additions once they reach middle age or senior life. That being said, they can appear at any point from puppyhood onward.

The causes, described below in more detail, will often mean that something is going on in your dog’s life that is causing it or that there is an underlying condition you didn’t know about! Either way, proper diagnosis is critical.

Causes for a white spot on dog’s nose

The causes why your dog most likely has a white spot on their nose are listed below so that you can get to the bottom of an issue. Let’s go:

  • Snow nose 
  • Pimples/whiteheads 
  • Nasal hyperkeratosis
  • Kennel nose
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) 
  • Pemphigus Foliaceous (PF) 
  • Vitiligo
  • Cancerous growth

Snow nose 

This adorable name is given to dogs when they have tiny parts of white on their nose when the weather changes. Experts gave it this name due to it happening a lot in dogs when the snow comes. This can either be temporary or permanent. The cause isn’t known, and it can happen in some dogs even when they do not live in locations with snow! It is a cosmetic problem and will just give your dog some more character.

Pimples/whiteheads

Just like humans, dogs can have whitehead breakouts, too! In some cases, the white spot that you see on your dog’s nose is a breakout! If you can get a close enough look, you’ll see that it will actually look like a pimple. These are temporary and will clear up when you deal with the cause (more on that next).

Nasal hyperkeratosis 

This sounds really scary, but it’s just a big term used to describe a build-up of keratin on the skin that results in a growth on the nose. This will be white and can even look raised, like a bump!

Kennel nose

In most cases, this will be present in dogs who spend a lot of time in their kennels (as the name suggests). But it can occur to dogs put in a kennel while their pet parent is traveling and have to board them.

This condition is actually when a dog’s nose has some skin rubbed off, and it’s a raw lesion. It occurs when the dog is chafing its nose regularly on the kennel while getting comfortable or nudging around to find a way out. This is typically temporary when they come out of their kennel!

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Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) 

This kind of autoimmune disorder can lie dormant for many years without the dog parent even knowing about it! DLE means that lesions will develop on the nose, which will change color and swell as they present. This is typically chronic since it’s an autoimmune disorder but can be treated if your dog is dealing with some flare-ups.

Pemphigus Foliaceous (PF)

This is another kind of autoimmune disorder, and it is going to be scabs and bumps that will look like white spots. These are going to be treated much the same way as DLE. It is often chronic, too, but doesn’t tend to be as evident as flare-ups.

Vitiligo

This is a skin condition that is pretty rare in dogs. It’s when their skin loses pigment as they age. It will often start on their nose with white spots. These will get worse over time as it sets in. You’ll notice that it will spread to their paws and sometimes even their eyelids, depending. This is a cosmetic problem only and will not impact them as far as their health is concerned.

Cancerous growth

Last but certainly not least, sometimes a white spot on a dog’s nose can be a sign of nasal cancer. This is part of why a proper diagnosis of any white spot is going to be so important. While cancer isn’t anywhere near as popular as the other causes, it is possible and something to be aware of!

How to treat a white spot on a dog’s nose

Treating any kind of white spot on a dog’s nose will be about following the proper steps to help you get to the bottom of the problem. 

Firstly, you need to figure out what the source is. In autoimmune disease or something like vitiligo, this is done through a diagnostic test combined with an expert’s opinion. However, with something like kennel nose or a whitehead, for instance, it might be a little more challenging.

In many cases, you can sort this out by trial and error. If you think it’s the kennel, leave them out of the kennel for a few days and see. If it starts to fade, this is a good sign that you need to either change the way that you pen them in or perhaps get a different kind/size of kennel.

For the whiteheads, it often is their food or water bowl! If they aren’t cleaned often, the debris can build up on their nose and cause a breakout. Consider washing their bowl more often and/or change to stainless steel bowls — breakouts won’t be as likely.

As far as lesions or autoimmune disorders (this wouldn’t include snow nose or vitiligo, since they’re considered merely a cosmetic thing), you can often get topical products to help minimize their appearance and help the skin recover and stay healthy. 

If there is an infection, or your vet is concerned about one developing, you might combine this with an antibiotic ointment until it clears up. In the case of white spots that appear to be causing your dog some distress, you can also consider anti-inflammatory products that will help minimize the severity of the symptoms.

Can I use Neosporin on my dog’s nose?

Generally, you can use a little bit of Neosporin on your dog’s nose if you have it in your home. Vets will often recommend this. The key is just only to use a tiny bit. Firstly, it’s a tiny area that needs to be covered. Secondly, your dog could very well lick it right off when your back is turned. While Neosporin isn’t toxic to dogs, it can be harmful if it’s larger than a dab of it at a time.

You can often achieve the same results by using warm water with some dog-safe cleanser. This will keep their nose clean and moisturized as it heals. You also don’t need to worry about them licking it off since it’s designed to be dog-safe.

Is a white spot on my dog’s nose cancer?

We know what you’re thinking — it’s cancer. Don’t panic. As mentioned briefly above, nasal cancer is very rare in dogs. Very, very rare. It’s much more likely that it’s one of these issues mentioned above and will clear up quickly.

However, you definitely will want to get your dog checked out at a vet nonetheless to ensure that, if it is cancer, it is detected as soon as possible!

When should I worry about a white spot on my dog’s nose?

It’s okay if you’re feeling a little apprehensive about a white spot that seems to have come out of nowhere. It’s part of caring, after all! The two main reasons to worra bout a white spot are:

  • It is getting bigger/spreading
  • It is bothering your dog

In either of these situations, you’ll need to have your vet take a look at it to ensure that your dog is safe and healthy. The more that you know, the better that you can protect them, right?

Finally

A white spot on a dog’s nose can be a sign of irritation of some sort (such as with kennel nose or a whitehead breakout). Or it could be a sign of an autoimmune issue such as DLE or PF.

It also might just be a pigmentation issue, such as snow nose and vitiligo. Proper identification of which of these things is essential!

A white spot on your dog’s nose is often a minor health concern rather than a reason for panic. However, proper diagnosis is crucial to help your dog stay healthy and happy.

If you know someone who has this question, consider sharing it with them!

Andre and Sula the Border Collie from https://bordercollieowner.com

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.