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

Your dog is a member of the family, so it’s natural to worry when you notice something strange. If your dog has a white line on their nose, you are likely wondering why. Should you be worried? 

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

You’re familiar with the color of your dog’s nose. Black noses are the most common. Some dogs have noses that match their fur, while others have pink noses. 

Dogs don’t typically have white noses, or white lines on their nose. So what’s going on with your pooch? 

Snow Nose

If the white line appears in the winter, your pooch may have snow nose. It doesn’t just occur in areas with cold winters. It typically occurs during the winter months, but it’s thought that it is actually the shortened sun exposure that triggers it, and not cold temperatures. 

Snow nose typically starts out with a white or light colored line in the middle of the nose. It can spread to other areas of the nose as well, sometimes turning the entire nose a lighter color. 

There are a few theories as to what causes snow nose. One theory is that it’s due to a lack of tyrosinase. This enzyme is responsible for pigmentation and melanin in your dog’s body. In simple terms, it’s what gives them their color. 

Tyrosinase doesn’t function as well in cooler temperatures, which may explain why it occurs during the winter. 

Kennel Nose

If your pooch spends a significant amount of time in a kennel or crate, kennel nose may be why their nose is turning white. Kennel nose occurs when your dog rubs their nose against the cage, usually out of boredom. Over time, this can rub the skin off the nose, causing it to turn white. 


Just like humans, dogs can get zits. They often occur on the nose, mouth, or genitals. When they occur on the nose, a dirty dog bowl may be to blame. 

If the bowl has excess oil on it, this oil can clog your dog’s pores. Clogged pores will often result in pimples. Pimples will often have a white head, making your dog’s nose look like it has a white spot. 

You can easily see if this is the cause by taking a close look at your dog’s nose. A zit on their nose will look similar to what you’d find on your own face.  


Vitiligo causes parts of your dog’s body to lose their pigmentation and turn white. Your dog’s body has special cells known as melanocytes. These are responsible for the color of their skin and hair. Vitiligo occurs when these cells are destroyed. 

It can be in only one area, like the nose. It can also occur on different areas of the body, causing their skin or hair to turn white in that area. 

It’s usually hereditary, and not a cause for concern. However, it is rarely a sign of an autoimmune disorder, toxin exposure, or stress. 

Discoid lupus erythematosus

Discoid lupus erythematosus, also known as DLE, is an autoimmune condition that dogs can develop. The immune system attacks the skin, causing the top layer of skin to come off. This results in depigmentation, or loss of color in the area. 

It can occur on the nose, gums, or skin. Symptoms of DLE include skin ulcers as well as depigmentation. They may also lose the bumpy texture their nose, causing the skin on the nose to become smooth.  or the pemphigus 


Scars are typically white. If your pooch had a previous injury to their nose, this could explain the white line. Dogs use their nose to explore their world, which can easily result in a cut or scratch. 

Once it heals, a white line may be left behind due to scarring. 

Nasal Hyperkeratosis

Humans and dogs both produce keratin. In fact, that’s what our hair and nails are made of. Nasal hyperkeratosis is a big, scary sounding name for a relatively benign condition. 

It means your dog’s body produces too much keratin on the nose. The keratin builds up over time, causing scaly white patches. 

This causes extreme dryness as well. This isn’t considered harmful, but it can be uncomfortable for your pooch. 


A fungal or bacterial infection can also explain a white spot on your dog’s nose. In this case, you may notice sores or discharge coming from the area. 

The discharge can cause a white line on the nose if it dries on the nose. A white scab can also appear. 

Is it normal for a dog to have a white line on his nose?

No, it’s not considered normal for your dog to have a white line on their nose. The good news is, in most cases, it’s not a sign of a problem either. 

Scarring, vitiligo, and snow nose are all perfectly benign causes of a white line on your dog’s nose. However, other potential causes, including infection, are concerning. 

What to do if my dog has a white line on his nose?

If your dog has a white line on their nose, it’s important to determine the cause. Some causes require you to take no action, while others require veterinary care.

If you are in doubt about what’s causing the line on your dog’s nose, don’t hesitate to visit your vet. A white line on the nose is rarely a serious condition,  but a checkup can give you peace of mind. It will also let you know if there is a serious cause. 

Kennel Nose 

If kennel nose is the cause of the white line, your pooch may need more time outside their kennel. Be sure they get plenty of exercise each day, and consider keeping some toys inside their kennel as well. 

Discoid lupus erythematosus

Discoid lupus erythematosus must be treated by your veterinarian. Steroid creams are often the first line treatment. Some dogs require both oral medication and topical cream. 

Nasal Hyperkeratosis

The best treatment for nasal hyperkeratosis is a good moisturizer. You can purchase balms designed specifically for dog noses. Paw wax also works well. Dog safe oils, like coconut oil, can also do the trick. Moisturize daily to prevent keratin build up. 


If you suspect zits are coming from a dirty dog bowl, clean the bowl or opt for a metal bowl. Metal bowls hold less oil residue than plastic, and are easier to clean. 

Some dogs are also allergic to plastic, so switching to a metal bowl can help if it’s actually an allergy causing your dog’s nose troubles. 


Any type of skin infection requires veterinary treatment. These are typically either oral medications, topical creams, or a combination of the two. The faster it’s treated, the better. 

Causes That Require No Action 

Conditions like snow nose, scars, and vitiligo typically require no treatment at all. However, it is important for you to monitor your dog’s nose.

If you see signs of an infection, your pooch isn’t feeling well, or you notice further changes to your dog’s nose, it’s a great idea to contact your vet. You should also be on the lookout for changes to the color of your dog’s skin or coat in other areas, just to be safe.