Do Pugs Change Color? 5 Reasons Your Dog Looks Different

Do Pugs change color? No, you’re probably NOT dreaming if you notice some different colors on your dog’s coat. As a Pug owner, you may start to notice that your dog’s fur is changing from lighter to darker or vice versa, here are some possible explanations of why.

Do Pugs Change Color?

The color changes can happen for numerous reasons, sun, saliva, sun exposure, diet, pigment change, drugs, hormones, surgery or injury, old age, and season changes. Depending on the breed of the dog and whether or not they have an undercoat, you may notice slight changes in the color of their fur.

Let’s take a closer look at each possible reason more in-depth and see if there’s anything you as a Pug parent can do. Check out our Pug fur resource page that will help you learn everything you need to know about your dog’s hair.

do pugs change color

Sun Exposure

Just like us, too much sun can not only cause your dog to get sunburned, it can also cause their fur to change color. Yes, Pugs can get sun-bleached hair, which will make their hair look brown.

Dog’s Saliva and Tears

Your dog’s saliva can also change the color of your Pug’s coat, although, it usually turns it a dark reddish-brown color. The discoloration is caused by a chemical known as porphyrin. Which is a breakdown of waste products from the red blood cells that are excreted in your dog’s saliva and tears.


Your dog’s diet plays a huge role in their health, this is why it’s so important to feed them high-quality dog food that contains all the nutrients their bodies require.

If your dog is not receiving the proper nutrients it can cause discoloration. A deficiency in iron can cause your dog to turn a bronze color. Foods that contain pigment such as; food dyes, seaweed, and sugar beets can cause discoloration.

Dietary copper has also been accused of causing discoloration in dogs. While commercialized dog food doesn’t have any color-changing properties, it’s best to feed your dog high-quality dog food.

If your tap water is high in minerals, it can also cause your dog’s fur to change color. We used to use fresh filtered water for Mindy, you can buy a water filter on Amazon that will allow you to filter the water directly from your kitchen sink.

What To Do About It: Pugs require a complete balanced dog food without fillers. Talk to your veterinarian before making any changes to your Pug’s diet.

Drugs That Change Hair Color

If your pooch is on medications, that could be causing the issue. Some drugs are known to affect both the skin and the hair.

According to the Veterinary Internal Medicine Textbook, certain medications such as Procainamide, Ketoconazole, and vitamin E can cause discoloration in dogs coats.

Injections of other drugs such as glucocorticoids can cause a loss of pigmentation, which can eventually lead to color changes in the skin or coat.


As humans, when we grow old, we start noticing some grey and white hairs. As it turns out, our dogs age too, and just like humans, their fur undergoes changes.

A dog’s hair will not go all white to the extent of humans, but as they age, you will notice graying on their muzzle.

According to Dr. Eric Barchas, the pigment on dark colored-dogs become lighter in color as a dog age.

Surgery or Injury

If your Pug has undergone extensive surgery or had an injury, you may have noticed a change in their coat color. This is most likely due to the medication you’re giving your dog.

As I mentioned above, some medications are known to affect a dog’s coat color.

I’d recommend talking to your veterinarian to ask them about the side effects of your dog’s prescriptions.

Loss of Pigmentation

The pigment in your dog and most other mammals is what gives the growing hair its color while it is in the hair follicle.

The color of canine hair is created by two basic pigments; eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red), which are both forms of melanin.

Both pigments, phaeomelanin, and eumalin have a “default” color which can be modified by various genes your dog is carrying. Which means that they can create a huge range of dog coat colors.

If your dog is turning white, it most likely means that your dog’s cells are not producing any pigment at all.

If your dog is experiencing a loss of pigmentation, you will want to contact your veterinarian. They will be able to diagnose what’s causing your dog’s coat or skin pigment changes.


two light colored pugs

A canine has 39 chromosomes from their mother and 39 chromosomes from the father. When a pup is born, the mother and father randomly contribute one allele from each locus, which has a 50% chance of being passed onto the puppy.

The dominant allele is responsible for your pups traits such as coat color, eye color, and etc.


While genetics play a huge part in your dog’s color. The most common things that cause dogs fur to change colors are shampoos, medications, and other environmental factors (heat from a hairdryer, sun bleaching, climate, and stress).


Your dog’s coat and texture can also be affected by hormonal problems. There are several hormone-related skin conditions that can affect your pooch, such as Hypothyroidism, which is a medical condition that affects your dog’s pigmentation.

Hormone-related skin disorders can be responsible for your dog’s coat lightening, baldness, oily skin, dandruff, and etc.

You will want to contact your veterinarian so they can diagnose the issue. They will be able to offer a treatment that will improve your pet’s overall health.

Do All Pugs Change Color?

Yes, all dogs will change their coat color throughout their lifetime.

Your new 8-week old puppy won’t look the same in the next 5 years. Their bodies go through a lot and even the environment can cause their coat to go through several different changes.

Color changes are more noticeable on darker colored dogs than lighter or white dogs. However, these dogs still go through some type of discoloration.

If your Pug’s skin is changing color, that’s not normal, and should be treated immediately.

When To Contact The Vet?

Small color changes are completely normal and nothing to worry about. However, if you start to notice big changes, then it may be time to take your four-legged friend in for an exam.

Final Word On Can Pugs Change Color

Your new puppy will change considerably from puppyhood to canine adolescence.

This isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just a part of the normal life cycle for canines. The best thing you can do to protect your Pug is to monitor their skin and coat on a daily basis.

Try using products such as shampoos, medications, food and etc which will not damage their coat.

References and Further Reading

Healthy Pets – The Hidden Message Behind Your Pet’s Tear Stains

Dogster – Dr. Eric Barchas – Why Is My Pet’s Hair Changing Color?

Pet Place – Dr. Karin Szust – Procainamide For Dogs

Dogs – Dog Genetics

Black Pug Site