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Why Does My Dog Have Some Black Nails and Some White

two white dog paws dragging claw marks down a piece of wood

There are numerous causes for a dog’s nails to become black or white. It is always vital to address any health issues for your dog and avoid disregarding minor symptoms.

These are some of the most prevalent reasons of black, white or discoloured nails for your dog:

  • Allergies & Aging
  • Infection with a fungus, a bacterial infection, or a yeast infection trauma
  • Nail Trauma
  • Autoimmune Disorder
  • Nail Detachment
  • Growth or Tumor

Allergies and Aging

Some dogs’ nails are naturally colored differently. Natural pigmentation causes different colored nails in dogs, which can vary even among dogs of the same breed.

In reality, some puppies may have white nails (or a combination of white and black) that gradually turn black or darker as they grow. Due to heredity, a stripe in nail pigmentation might also be a common occurrence.

As dogs mature, their nails may grow and become rigid. This alteration may also be accompanied by a color shift — from black or white to red or brown.

Nail discoloration caused by allergies is unlikely to necessitate medical attention. 

Infection with a Fungus, a Bacterial Infection, or a Yeast Infection

Pad view of a black dog paw with blurred grass as a background

A variety of species can cause fungal, bacterial, and yeast infections in dog nails. The illness might be brought on by your dog’s busy lifestyle and picked up in locations with damp soil, such as dog parks or your backyard. A fungal or bacterial infection can cause black, white, or discolored nails in your dog.

Nail Trauma

overhead view of Jack Russell Terrier puppy having paw wrapped with gauze

Dog nails, like human nails, can become damaged or discolored, primarily black or white, as a result of trauma. If your dog got into a fight at the park or leaped a bit too hard while chasing the ball, their nails may have suffered minor damage.

While it is normal for a dog’s nail to turn black, nail damage may also cause the nail to turn red due to blood buildup.

Autoimmune Disorder:

Vet standing behind a Jack Russell Terrier with head tilted

An autoimmune illness is a less common cause of your dog’s nail turning black. Asymmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy can be characterized by discolored nails. This illness, also known as SLO, is more frequent in German shepherds, greyhounds, and Labradors.

Nail Detachment:

White dog paw being held within two blue gloved hands

Another reason your dog’s nail may be becoming black or white is that it is falling off. If the nail is dead, it might become semi-detached and become black before completely detaching from the paw. This detachment is a natural process and is most likely not an indication of more severe issues.

Growth or Tumor

Two blue gloved hands applying cream to tumor / growth next to a dogs toe nail

Although the darkening of a dog’s nail is generally an indication of one of the more frequent, less severe issues, it can also signify growth or tumor.

Growths near the nail bed can cause nail inflammation or infection, causing the nail to look black, white, or discolored. But don’t be alarmed — a lump or tumor in the paw does not necessarily indicate a serious problem. Benign cells might produce growth.

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