Dogs are known for their loyalty, playfulness, and boundless energy but are also susceptible to various health issues, including pink spots on their lips. Did you know that these spots can indicate a variety of underlying health problems, from allergies to infections?
As a responsible pet owner, keeping an eye on your furry friend’s health and well-being is essential. In this blog post, we will dive deep into the topic of pink spots on dog lips. So, whether you are a seasoned dog owner or a newbie, read on to learn more about this common yet often overlooked health issue.
Pink Spots on Dog Lips: Causes
Porphyrins present in your dog’s saliva and tears can turn the lips pink where they deposit. Porphyrins are organic compounds and an essential part of your dog’s body for the proper functioning of hemoglobin. Though they excrete via the urine as well, they are most noticeable over the face when coming out through the eyes or mouth—especially if the dog is light-colored.
Porphyrins are reddish in color. When your dog’s saliva gets dried after depositing around the lips, porphyrins left behind appear, hued in pink. However, it does not usually happen unless your canine pal has salivated excessively.
2. Dermatitis or Skin Allergies
Certain skin problems, such as dermatitis and allergies, can cause pink spots on dog lips. Canine atopic dermatitis is an inherited condition in which dogs develop certain allergy symptoms after repeated exposure to some harmless materials. One of its symptoms includes skin depigmentation around the lips.
Other common signs incorporate inflammation and swelling. Likewise, other types of allergies can also result in the same. However, the symptoms might differ. You will also notice itching, respiratory disorders, runny nose, and eye discharge.
3. Injuries, Scratches, and Pinches
Dog lips can discolor when physically harmed. Our canine pals are fond of sniffing and exploring different items in their reach with their snouts. This way, they can make their noses and lips prone to getting hurt. Your dog might shuffle some hard or serrated objects using his snout, scratching or even injuring his lips. The eventual wounds and bloodspots can make the lips appear pink.
Similarly, your dog might have been hit in his mouth. The capillaries in the lips might have been dilated this way, forming pink spots.
Infections on the lips can cause swelling, eventually causing the affected area to appear pinkish. Due to their exploring habits discussed previously, dogs can pick up different parasites and bacteria that can cause infections.
Some symptoms, including itching, rashes, and patchy hair loss around the lips, usually accompany them. If left unchecked, whether it be lips or eyes infections, the well-being can be severely jeopardized in dogs.
Your dog’s skin, hair, and lips can lose their color, and pink spots will begin appearing over the course of a few months if he is affected by vitiligo. Mostly, it is a hereditary issue; nevertheless, dogs can also develop it due to an autoimmune response. In addition, some sources also state that stress is also a leading cause.
The disease spreads by destroying melanocytes, the cells responsible for coloring the skin. For this disease, you might find no other signs in your dog. However, the diseases usually with the lips and the area around them, gradually progressing to the rest of the body.
6. Dental and Oral Issues
Excessive salivation due to gingivitis (swollen gums) and tooth loosening can lead to pink spots on the lips. These occurrences are commonplace in dogs who have reached the age of three. As plaque builds up, the chances of such infections increase manifold.
However, through proper cleaning and maintaining oral hygiene, these problems can be kept at bay. A simple habit of having dental chews can also work wonders in cleaning a canine mouth effectively.
7. Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can take a toll on a dog’s mental and physical health, and it can even manifest in the form of pink spots on their lips. Dogs can experience different kinds of mental stress, including separation anxiety, noise phobia, and general anxiety. Separation anxiety, in particular, can be quite common in breeds like German Shepherds and Chihuahuas, where they become anxious when left alone.
This can lead to excessive drooling, which can eventually cause pink spots to appear on their lips. Similarly, loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks can trigger anxiety in dogs, causing them to drool and develop pink spots on their lips. If left untreated, stress and anxiety can lead to more severe health problems, so it’s crucial to address them as soon as possible.
8. Lack of Sunlight
While it may seem surprising, lack of sunlight can also be a cause of pink spots on dog lips. When a dog’s skin and lips do not receive enough sunlight, there is a reduction in the production of melanin, which is responsible for the pigmentation of the skin. This lack of pigmentation can eventually cause the lips to turn pink.
This is particularly common during winter or in colder environments when dogs are not exposed to as much sunlight as needed. It is worth noting, however, that this type of discoloration is typically harmless and is a natural occurrence. If you are concerned about your dog’s lack of sunlight exposure, you can try to take them outside more often and provide them with a balanced diet rich in vitamin D.
9. Old Age
As dogs age, it is not uncommon for their skin and coat to change color, leading to pink spots on their lips. As a dog grows older, the pigmentation around its lips can fade, resulting in a pinkish appearance. This process typically starts with the appearance of small pink spots that gradually spread until the entire lip is pink.
This is because the melanocytes, which are responsible for producing pigment, may stop functioning as the dog ages. It is important to note that this natural aging process is typically harmless and does not require any treatment. However, keeping an eye on your senior dog’s overall health and well-being is essential, as they may be more prone to age-related health issues.
Pink Spots on Dog Lips: Solutions
Pink spots on dog lips may not necessarily be a cause for alarm, but it is always better to seek professional help to diagnose and treat the underlying cause. However, if the reason is benign, there are several things that you can do to prevent further discoloration and keep your dog healthy and happy.
- Give your dog enough walks in the sun. This will supply him with sufficient vitamin D and UV rays in a controlled amount that can prevent lips discoloration.
- Find the reason behind your dog’s excessive drooling. For instance, if it is a dental issue or a broken tooth, get it fixed. It will reduce drooling, eventually reducing the porphyrin deposits.
- Do not expose sharp objects in your home, especially in your lounging area, where you frequently interact with your dog. Likewise, it is a wise idea to replace hard toys with soft ones. Though it might be tough to introduce this change, do it only slowly and check your dog’s reaction (he will not be happy if it is his favorite toy!). If he does not react and accepts the new toy, reward him.
- Keep the environment clean. Never take your pooch to any unhygienic place, as it can increase the chances of infections and infestations. Regularly clean your dog’s feeding bowls, bedding, and toys.
- Keep your dog happy and stress-free. Never put him in circumstances that he does not like—even if it is getting a new pet home. Give him plenty of time; never leave him alone if he has separation anxiety. You can try leaving him with a familiar toy or a piece of clothing that carries your scent when you are away.
- Feed your dog a balanced diet. A diet rich in essential nutrients can help improve overall health and prevent skin problems. Consult with your veterinarian to know the best food for your dog.
- Provide your dog with an adequate water supply. It helps maintain the body’s fluid balance, improving skin hydration and preventing dehydration-related skin problems.
- Use medicated shampoos and creams if your dog has any skin condition that causes pink spots on his lips. These products help soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
- Regularly check your dog’s lips and gums for any unusual discoloration or growth. If you notice anything unusual, seek veterinary attention immediately. Maintaining good hygiene, proper nutrition, and a stress-free environment can help prevent pink spots on dog lips. However, if the condition persists, it is always best to seek professional help.
When to See a Vet?
Pink spots on a dog’s lips are usually not a cause for concern, especially if they have a benign underlying cause, such as aging or lack of sunlight. However, if you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or if other symptoms accompany the pink spots, it is essential to seek veterinary care. Here are some signs that indicate when to see a vet if your dog has pink spots on their lips:
- Changes in Behavior: If your dog is lethargic, shows signs of pain or discomfort, or is not eating or drinking normally, it is best to take them to a veterinarian. These could be signs of an underlying condition that requires medical attention.
- Swelling or Bleeding: If the pink spots on your dog’s lips are swollen, red, or bleeding, it may indicate an infection, injury, or tumor. Swelling and bleeding can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition that requires immediate veterinary care.
- Discharge or Odor: If your dog’s lips produce discharge or emit an unpleasant odor, it could indicate an infection. Discharge may be yellow, green, or brown and could be a sign of an underlying condition that requires medical attention.
- Sudden Onset of Symptoms: If your dog has a sudden onset of symptoms, such as pink spots appearing quickly, it is best to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The sudden onset of symptoms could indicate an allergy, infection, or other medical condition that requires immediate attention.
- Skin Changes: If your dog’s skin around the lips changes color or texture, it could indicate an underlying condition requiring medical attention. Changes in skin color or texture could be a sign of an infection, allergic reaction, or skin disorder.
- Persistent or Worsening Symptoms: If your dog’s pink spots on its lips persist or worsen despite home remedies or over-the-counter treatments, it is essential to seek veterinary care. Persistent or worsening symptoms could indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention.
How Long Do Dogs Take to Heal Their Injured Lips?
The healing time for a dog’s injured lips can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the dog’s overall health. Generally, it can take a few days to several weeks for a dog’s lips to heal.
If the injury is minor, such as a small cut or abrasion, it may only take a few days for the skin to heal and the pink color to return to the lips. However, the healing process may take longer if the injury is more severe, such as a deep laceration or puncture wound.
The healing process for a dog’s lips typically involves several stages:
- Inflammation: When a dog’s lip is injured, the body’s immune system responds by sending white blood cells to the area to fight off infection. This can cause swelling, redness, and warmth around the wound.
- Granulation Tissue: As the inflammation subsides, the body begins to produce new tissue to fill in the wound. This tissue is called granulation tissue, and it is rich in blood vessels and collagen.
- Epithelialization: Once the granulation tissue has formed, the body begins to produce new skin cells to cover the wound. This process is called epithelialization, and it results in the formation of a new layer of skin over the injured area.
- Maturation: Over time, the new skin cells mature and strengthen, and the scar tissue that forms becomes less noticeable.
To help speed up the healing process, keeping the wound clean and free from infection is important. This can be done by gently cleaning the area with a mild antiseptic solution and applying a topical antibiotic ointment. Similarly, consult with a veterinarian if the injury is severe or does not seem to be healing properly. They may recommend additional treatments, such as sutures or staples to close the wound or antibiotics to prevent or treat the infection.
Surgery may sometimes be necessary to repair the damage to the lips. This may be the case if the injury has caused significant tissue loss or if there is damage to the underlying muscles or nerves.