Why Are Your Pitbull’s Nails Turning Black? 7 Causes and Solutions

Part of taking care of your Pitbull is monitoring any changes in its body, such as nail discoloration. It can be a natural occurrence or a sign of a more severe health problem, especially if the dog’s nail turns black.

So, why are your Pitbull’s nails turning black? Your Pitbull’s nails are turning black due to several reasons, including aging, infections, allergies, trauma, getting detached, autoimmune diseases, or tumors. Depending on their original color, the dog’s nails can also turn white, red, or brown. 

Please keep reading to learn more about the normal color for Pitbull’s nails, what causes nail discoloration in Pitbulls, and how to treat it.

What Is the Normal Color for Pitbull Nails?

pitbull with nails showing to answer why do pitbull's nails turning black

Generally, the color of a Pitbull’s nails will match the color of its skin and coat. The normal colors for Pitbull’s nails include black, white, light pink, red, brown, and beige.

It’s perfectly natural to see darker-skinned Pitbulls with dark nails and vice versa. However, if the dog’s nails suddenly turn a different color, it might be a cause of concern as it could be the result of a severe health problem.

What Causes Nail Discoloration in Pitbulls?

As mentioned before, nail discoloration can be a sign of severe health problems, which is why it’s vital for Pitbull owners to be aware of the causes of nail discoloration to ensure that their dog is healthy.

So, let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of discoloration in Pitbulls:


Usually, Pitbull nails will match the color of their skin and coats, which depends mainly on the dog’s genetics.

As they age, their nails will change in color to become lighter or darker, depending on their original color, and they will also become thicker and coarser in texture.

These changes are a natural part of the dog’s aging process and don’t indicate any problem with the dog’s health. Similarly, Pitbulls’ coats change colors as they grow as well.

Fungal, Bacterial, or Yeast Infections

Pitbulls are prone to develop fungal, bacterial, and yeast infections in their nails which causes them to turn black, red, or brown. 

It can affect one or two nails, but it will spread to all nails if it’s not treated effectively, causing more severe conditions.

Other symptoms of infection in a dog’s nails include itchiness or tenderness that causes the dog to bite or lick at the nail and swelling at the base of the nail.


Pitbulls are prone to develop allergies that cause their nails to change colors. These allergies can be inherited or triggered by irritants in the dog’s environment.

Other symptoms of allergies in Pitbulls include:

Nail discoloration due to allergies will usually go away on its own once the causes of the allergy are eliminated. So, make sure to identify what’s causing your dog’s allergic reaction.

Nail Trauma

Like human nails, your Pitbull’s nail might become discolored because of trauma or sustaining a minor injury from playing too hard.

The dog’s nail will usually turn black, brown, or red due to the accumulation of blood underneath the dog’s nail. The darker the color is, the more severe the trauma or injury is.

The nail discoloration isn’t a significant cause for concern. However, it would be best if you were on the lookout for any other signs that your dog might have sustained a more severe injury, such as sprained or broken bones.

Detached Nail

If your Pitbull’s nail is dead, it will turn black or brown before getting detached and entirely fall off.

This detaching is a natural process and doesn’t indicate any problem with the dog’s health.

Autoimmune Diseases

Discoloration of a dog’s nails can be caused by autoimmune diseases such as Symmetrical Lupoid onychodystrophy (SLO), a type of lupus that affects the dog’s nails and paws.

Other symptoms of Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy include hemorrhaging, excessive licking and biting at the affected nail, swelling, inflammation at the base of the nail, and separation of the nail from the skin might cause it to fall off eventually.

This disease has no cure, but its symptoms can be managed through medications, depending on the severity.

Abnormal Growths or Tumors

Discoloration of a dog’s nail can also be caused by abnormal growth or a tumor, which is considered a more severe issue than the other causes of nail discoloration.

Any abnormal growth or tumor near the dog’s nail bed will cause inflammation and infection, leading the nails to turn black, red, or brown.

If you suspect your dog has an abnormal growth or tumor, you need to immediately take it to a vet to get the right treatment.

How to Treat Nail Discoloration in Pitbulls?

The treatment for nail discoloration in Pitbull will mainly depend on what’s causing it.

Some causes would not require any treatment, and the discoloration would go away on their own, while other causes would need treatment to return the dog’s nails to their natural color to prevent the issue from escalating.

If you notice any discoloration in your dog’s nail, you need to take it to the vet to identify what’s causing it and get the required treatment on time.

The treatments for nail discoloration include trimming the nails and administrating topical or oral antibiotics. In more severe cases, the treatment would include removing the nail permanently through a surgical procedure.

Related Questions

How to Take Care of Your Pitbull’s Nails?

To take care of your Pitbull’s nails, you need to maintain a grooming routine that includes regular cleaning and trimming. This will help prevent the dog from developing any kind of infections or other health conditions related to the dog’s nails.

How to Strengthen Your Pitbull’s Nails?

To strengthen Your Pitbull’s nails, you need to make sure they’re regularly cleaned and trimmed. You can also soak the dog’s nails in natural oils and improve its diet by adding more proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids. This will help prevent the dog’s nails from developing infections or getting detached.

Do Pitbull Coats Change Color?

Pitbull coats do change colors as they grow. Some Pitbull might become lighter in color while others will become darker. The change is usually gradual, and it can happen due to various reasons, including the dog’s health and its diet, different types of medication, as well as constant exposure to sunlight.

Helpful Resources 

What does Dog Nail Discoloration Mean?

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