Why is my dog’s white fur turning black? What to Know

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Have you noticed that when your dog continually licks their paws, rusty brown patches appear on their fur? Or maybe your beautiful white Maltese develops difficult-to-remove stains around their eyes.

Your dog’s fur turning pink or brown isn’t always a concern. Sometimes, though, the color change can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Understanding the possible reasons for this discoloration can save unnecessary stress.

Should I Worry About My Dog’s Fur Changing Color?

Porphyrin staining isn’t always something to worry about. However, excessive staining accompanied by certain symptoms or behaviors often indicates an underlying medical issue that may need prompt veterinary treatment.

Tear stains are particularly noticeable in certain breeds, like Maltese, Shih Tzus, and short-nosed Bulldogs. This is “because of excessive tear production and the way the tear ducts are located in the head,” Dr. Klein says.

Of course, excessive staining around the eye could also indicate eye abnormalities, allergies, infections, or injury. Head to the vet if swelling, discharge, or discomfort accompanies the staining.

Drool-prone dogs, like Saint Bernards, often have rusty-colored muzzles and beards. However, sudden excessive saliva production can indicate periodontal disease, teeth fractures, or other dental dilemmas—keep an eye out for stinky breath, bleeding gums, or difficulty eating.

Why is my dog’s white fur turning black?

When dogs lick their paws excessively, a build-up of porphyrins from the saliva turns the fur around the area pink or rusty red. Over time, the stains can turn a darker brown. While the staining is only unsightly, excessive licking is often a sign of an underlying medical or behavioral issue.

How often should you wash your dog?

While the frequency of bathing may be different for each dog, Wendy Weinand, manager, pet services grooming education for Petco, says that a good rule to follow is to wash your dog every four weeks. “This will help to keep their skin and coat clean and keep their natural oils spread out to help condition,” she says.

How to get dogs white fur WHITE again