Your dog’s nose plays a crucial role in its life as its remarkable sense of smell connects them to the environment. As responsible pet owners, it’s essential that we keep their noses in optimal condition.
But what if you start to notice crusty skin or a white salt line on your dog’s nose?
A white salt-like line on your dog’s nose can result from various factors, such as temperature change, dry skin, or even a bacterial infection. If the white line persists for more than a few days, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian for proper evaluation.
In this article, we’ll discuss the possible causes of this white line, how to recognize accompanying symptoms and the steps you can take to ensure your dog’s nose remains healthy.
Your dog might have a rare skin condition called vitiligo which causes depigmentation on your dog.
Depigmentation can occur anywhere on your dog that has color such as your dog’s skin, hair and even on its nose.
Vitiligo on your dog’s nose will cause the skin to turn white or even light pink.
Vitiligo in dogs isn’t contagious but hereditary. The different colors in dogs are due to a chemical compound called melanin.
The melanin in the affected areas is destroyed which then causes depigmentation.
There are some dog breeds that are more susceptible to vitiligo:
- Golden retrievers
- German shepherds
- Siberian huskies
In some dogs, vitiligo can be caused by an autoimmune disease, stress and toxicity.
2. Nasal Hyperkeratosis
The name of this condition sounds a lot worse than it really is. But what it actually means is the thickening of the skin.
And in this case, the skin on your dog’s nose.
This condition happens when the skin or keratin on the dog’s nose starts to grow at an abnormal rate.
When this happens it can start to look like scaly white patches on your dog’s nose.
Nasal Hyperkeratosis can happen on both your dog’s nose and paw pads so make sure to check both areas when you happen to spot it.
Dogs with this condition can experience discomfort around the nose area which can also affect their sense of smell.
Brachycephalic breeds like pugs and bulldogs are at higher risk of this due to their flat faces.
Nasal Hyperkeratosis can be caused by:
- Autoimmune conditions
- Canine distemper
- Zinc deficiency
- Genetic mutations
The best way to go about helping dogs with this condition is to keep their noses well moisturized with creams, ointments and balms.
I would refrain from using anything meant for humans as your dog’s nose is a very sensitive area. Get something from the vet which is more dog-friendly or use organic coconut oil.
If the excess skin on your dog’s nose is too much, the vet might have to remove the excess layers.
3. Too Much Sun Exposure
When we take our dogs out for a walk during the day, many of us will apply sunscreen on ourselves but not on our dogs.
Too much sun exposure on your dog’s skin isn’t good. Dogs that spend too much time under the sun can get sunburnt just like us.
In more serious cases, over exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer in dogs.
One area that is very prone to be burnt is your dog’s nose and ears. Dogs with white fur or pink noses are more prone to getting sunburned.
The white scaly skin on your dog’s nose could be the dead skin that is flaking off from being burnt by the sun.
The best way to protect your dog from excess sun exposure is to be in the shade as much as possible and refrain from walking your dog when the sun is hot.
Dogs do not show signs of being sunburned that easily which means that they can be burnt a lot worse than it looks.
Do not use any vaseline or petroleum jelly on the sunburnt areas as that can make it worse.
Always get some soothing cream from the vet to apply to your dog.
Pemphigus is a somewhat rare autoimmune condition in dogs that can cause white and crusty to form on your dog’s nose.
This happens when the dog’s immune system starts attacking its own skin cells.
Pemphigus in dogs can be inherited, caused by an underlying medical condition or even by the sun.
There are many times when pemphigus just ‘happens’ out of the blue without any plausible explanation.
The vet will take a skin biopsy from your dog’s nose to determine if it is pemphigus.
The best type of medications will be steroids and immunosuppressive drugs to help keep the condition under control.
5. Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE)
Discoid lupus erythematosus is another known autoimmune disease that can cause a skin infection in our dogs.
This is a rather common problem for dogs and can cause scabbing and crusting which starts off on the pup’s nose.
A study has shown that dogs with the gene called IFI27 were more prone to having DLE1.
Similar to pemphigus, this condition causes the dog’s immune system to start attacking its own skin cells which causes the skin to slough.
A skin biopsy is also required to determine the cause and medications like topical creams and drugs that suppress the immune system work well for dogs with this condition.
6. Fungal Or Bacterial Infection
There are many kinds of bacteria that reside on our dog’s skin without causing much of a problem.
However, there are times when the bacteria can start to grow in such large numbers that it starts to become a problem for the dog2.
Our dogs are also at risk of getting fungal infections from other dogs and the environment when it is out walking or playing.
In some cases, these infections may also appear as a spot on your dog’s nose. Such infections can cause skin irritation, crusting, white spots, skin abscesses, etc.
The good thing is these skin infections are easy to clear up with topical creams and antibiotics.
7. Snow Nose
If you notice that your dog’s black nose turns slightly white or pinkish during the winter months, it could be a case of snow nose.
This condition causes hypopigmentation in your dog’s nose where it starts to lose its original color.
It usually starts off as a line or stripe down the middle of your dog’s nose and can slowly spread to the rest of the nose.
Scientists are not exactly certain of the exact reasons that cause a snow nose in dogs but it could largely be due to an enzyme called tyrosinase.
Tyrosinase produces melanin and is more effective when the temperature is warmer and daylight is longer. These are conditions that aren’t always present during the winter months.
Some dogs that live in a warmer climate can also get snow noses.
There are some dog breeds that are more prone to getting this condition due to their heritage as they are bred for doing work in colder climates.
- Labrador retrievers
- Golden retrievers
You shouldn’t be concerned if the changes in your dog’s nose are due to the cold weather. The discoloration is temporary and will go away once the weather starts to warm up.
8. Just A food Stain
Dogs are greedy creatures and will put their noses in places where it doesn’t belong to look for food.
It could be that your dog managed to get its nose into some milk or even your sugar jar.
Sometimes, a spot on your dog’s nose can be mistaken for a white salt line.
A dog’s nose is long enough to lick off most food stains on its nose but probably not long enough to reach all the way back of the nose.
If you notice a white salt line at the back of your dog’s nose, try gently rubbing it with a damp cloth to see if it is just a food stain.
What Is Kennel Nose?
A kennel nose in a dog is usually a mild abrasion on the dog’s nose due to the constant rubbing against a surface.
The term kennel is used because many dogs tend to get this when they are left at a boarding house or kneel while their owners are away.
Dogs do this when they are anxious about being stuck in the kennel in unfamiliar surroundings.
There are dogs that will also exhibit such behavior at home when they try to try to hide something of importance to them.
When Should I See The Vet?
While some white salt lines may disappear on their own within a few days, others can persist or worsen over time.
The white salt line might be accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, swelling, discharge, cracks or bleeding around the nose, difficulty breathing and excessive rubbing or pawing at the nose.
If you notice any of these signs along with the white salt line, it’s essential to seek professional advice immediately.