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Roger L. Welton, DVM
Roger L. Welton, DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1451
Experience:  Licensed Veterinarian, Practice Owner, and Book Author
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Why are my dogs toenails changing colors from black

Resolved Question:

Why are my dog's toenails changing colors from black to light brown color?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Roger L. Welton, DVM replied 10 years ago.
The color of nails, like the skin, is dependent on pigmentation provided by cells called melanocytes. Skin and nail pigment may remain the same throughout s dog's life, or the colors may experience changes that could include lightening or darkening depending on melanocyte activity. Such changes are often completely normal and are not indicative of any underlying diseases.

Certain endocrine diseases, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease can cause changes in pigment, but pigment changes would be accompanied by other problems, such as: obesity, excessive drinking and urination, frequent skin infections, and hairloss.

Basically, I would not concern yourself about the lightening of nail color, as long as there are none of the aforementioned signs of disease. In absense of any of those signs, then the color change is likely just a natural alteration associated with the maturation process. Of course, if your dog is exhibiting any signs of endocrine disease, then you should take him to the vet.

Here are some links to articles I wrote about Hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease in case you would like to research them a bit further:

Thanks to using JustAnswer. Please let me know if I may help you any further.
Roger L. Welton, DVM and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Roger L. Welton, DVM's Post: What would be considered excessive drinking?
Expert:  Roger L. Welton, DVM replied 10 years ago.
That is a valid question, but unfortunately a rather subjective one. Typically, a dog should drink between, 30 - 60 mL of water per pound of body per day. This is a general guideline, but could be more or less for any one particular dog, depending on activity level, season (hot vs cold), and individual kidney physiology. The best way to go about guaging water intake is to measure amount in metric (liters and mililiters), and compare to the general guideline, but always keep in mind what has been historically normal for your dog.

Therefore, rather than use this guideline strictly, it is best to apply it as a guide, but water intake is best assessed by comparing it what has traditionally been normal your your particular dog. For example, a dog may seem to drink alot when compared to other dogs, exceeding the water intake guideline by 50%. However, for this dog, this is probably normal given that he has always been a big drinker and nothing is really different.

Another thing to watch is urination. Drinking that is excessive, usually also translates into excessively urination - the dog needs to be let out more because he constantly needs to urinate.
Roger L. Welton, DVM and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you