Are your dog’s lips turning pink? Your furry friend’s health should be a top priority as a pet owner. Changes in physical features and behavior could be indicators of an underlying issue.
Pink discoloration on a dog’s lip could have different causes. It could be as simple as a seasonal change. In such a scenario, discoloration is not a cause for concern. It may alter how your dog looks, but it will not affect their health.
On the other hand, when other symptoms accompany pink discoloration, it could be a serious issue that warrants a visit to the vet.
Let us look at the top causes resulting in your dog’s lip turning pink. Then, we will explore if the condition is harmful and what actions you can take as a pet owner.
- Pink Discoloration on Dog’s Lips: Major Causes
- Is Pink Discoloration on Dogs Lips a Cause for Concern?
- What to Do If Your Dogs Lips Have Turned Pink?
- Can You Prevent Your Dog’s Lips from Turning Pink?
Pink Discoloration on Dog’s Lips: Major Causes
Subtle changes in your dog’s coat and skin are normal. Moreover, dogs of any breed, age, gender can undergo these changes. For example, the skin and coat could become lighter, darker, or lose pigmentation. The reasons for this change could be varied.
Here are the top 8 causes that result in pink discoloration on a dog’s lip:
Bacterial or fungal infections are the top causes that could turn your dog’s lip pink. Most dog breeds are curious by nature. Sniffing around random objects on a walk or trying to chew on a rock in the yard are activities dog owners are familiar with. But, these are also ways your dog could pick up an infection.
If you notice any swelling or lesions along with the change in lip color, it is best to visit the vet.
Mucocutaneous Pyoderma is a skin condition that might result from an infection. The condition primarily affects the margins and the area around the lips. The vet will run culture tests to find the type of bacteria invading the skin and provide antibiotics.
You might also have to apply a topical antibiotic for complete healing. In severe cases, oral antibiotics could also be given. To prevent further occurrence, you will have to keep the area around the dog’s lip clean.
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Did you change your dog’s diet? Introduced new food, maybe? Are you using a new cleaning agent for their blanket?
Allergies are one of the common causes that can turn your dog’s lip pink. They are often accompanied by symptoms like swelling, redness, or rashes.
The allergy can cause skin irritation and make your dog uncomfortable. They would end up rubbing or scratching the inflamed area. The action, though, will worsen the condition.
Some of the common food allergens in dogs are dairy products, chicken, wheat gluten, lamb, and beef. In addition, common environmental allergens include dust, pollen, dust mites, and flea saliva. If your dog is allergic and it comes into contact with these allergens, you will notice the above symptoms.
Consult the vet for appropriate medication and dosage information.
For dogs, their nose and mouth are the windows to the world. That is how they explore their surroundings. Unfortunately, this also means that their nose and mouth will be prone to injuries.
Your dog’s lips could get scratched or bruised while playing. In addition, it could get injured due to rubbing or aggressive chewing. Such trauma could turn their lips pink.
When this happens, ensure to take care of the wound. It can turn into skin infections if left untreated. Also, monitor your dog’s behavior, so they do not indulge in excessive rubbing or licking, as it can slow down the healing process.
The vet could provide an antiseptic topical if the wound is deep. And once the wound heals, your dog’s lip should regain its color. The pink trauma scars are normal, though; they will not impact your pet’s health.
Your dog’s skin or hair could lose its natural pigmentation due to a skin condition called Vitiligo. As a result, you might start seeing white patches on your dog’s face and body. They will have a changed appearance, but your dog will not be in any discomfort.
Melanocytes are cells that are responsible for producing melanin in the skin. Melanin is what gives color to the skin. Vitiligo is a condition that develops when these cells in the skin are destroyed.
Vitiligo could be hereditary. Other potential causes could include autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks and destroys melanocytes, toxin exposure, or neurological disease.
The skin condition starts early among dogs. You will first notice changes on your dog’s nose, lips, and the area around the eyes. The affected area turns white or pink as the melanocytes die.
Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, and Old English Sheepdogs, among other dog breeds, pose a higher risk of developing Vitiligo.
#5. Excessive Tear or Saliva
When the body breaks red blood cells, it produces iron-containing molecules called porphyrins. These molecules are typically removed from your dog’s body through their poop. But they can also be found in your dog’s urine, tears, and saliva.
Porphyrins could stain your dog’s coat, turn them into a reddish-brown color. They could also turn the lips pink. This staining is prominently visible on dogs with white or light-colored coats.
Excessive tears or saliva production could be a symptom of an underlying issue. For example, excessive tear secretion could be because of a severe eye infection or blocked tear ducts. Excessive saliva could point to dental problems.
Once you deal with the actual cause and keep the area clean, your dog’s lip should go back to its natural color.
#6. Discoid Lupus
Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is an autoimmune disease. It leads to one’s own immune system attacking the body. DLE leads to scabbing and crusting of the skin and loss of pigmentation in the affected area.
Dogs that stay in sunny climates are prone to this disease. Exposure to UV rays can trigger inflammation and worsen the condition.
You will first see symptoms around the nose. Along with light discoloration, you will see ulcers, erosions, and lesions. The vet will do a skin biopsy to confirm the condition. The treatment for DLE varies from topical to systemic medications.
Stick to the treatment plan to the end and keep following up with the vet to help your pet enjoy a better quality of life.
#7. Sun Exposure
One of the simpler causes of pink discoloration on dogs’ lips is the lack of sunlight. Melanin is a natural pigment responsible for your skin color. It also protects your skin from the sun.
Temperature plays a role in the production of melanin. In colder months, melanin production drops off. The same goes for your dogs.
During winters, people tend to stay indoors. This significantly reduces sun exposure. And with reduced melanin production, their lips could turn pink.
If any other changes do not accompany the pink lips, it is nothing to worry about.
As your furry friend starts to age, it is normal to see changes in their skin and coat color. For example, they might lose pigmentation, or their coats could become lighter.
It is their body’s natural aging process, and there is nothing to be worried about. Your dog’s lips turning pink due to age will not impact their health or routine. Make sure to keep up with the regular vet visits.
Is Pink Discoloration on Dogs Lips a Cause for Concern?
Well, if you are looking for that ‘right’ answer, there is not one. It all depends on the unique condition of your pet.
For example, if your dog’s lips have turned pink, but their mouth seems fine, they can go by their routine, there are no other symptoms, then it is not a cause for concern. It could just be a seasonal change.
Along with pink lips, if you notice other symptoms as below, make an appointment with your vet:
- Skin lesions
- Loss of color in other parts of the body
- Behavioral changes
Make it a practice to monitor your pet’s health. Keep a note of any changes you see. These details could help the vet narrow down the causes affecting your dog’s health.
What to Do If Your Dogs Lips Have Turned Pink?
If it is a seasonal change or a skin condition like Vitiligo, know that your dog is not in any pain or discomfort. It may affect their appearance but nothing beyond that.
If the pink lips result from another cause, the vet will provide a treatment plan. The plan could include topical, ointments, antibiotics, or other oral medication. Ensure you follow the treatment plan and visit the vet for follow-ups.
Some skin conditions like DLE worsen with sun exposure. So use water-resistant sunblock when going out for walks. If your dog is ailing from an autoimmune disease, frequent blood work tests become essential.
In most cases, with proper treatment, follow-up, and care, your dog could enjoy their normal routine as always.
Can You Prevent Your Dog’s Lips from Turning Pink?
Lack of sunlight and aging are causes that naturally affect pigmentation in dogs. There is nothing you can do to avoid these changes. Vitiligo is a condition that is believed to be hereditary. These are acceptable changes and not something you should disturb your sleep.
You can, though, protect your dog from allergies and skin infections. Feed them a healthy diet, understand what food works for them and what does not. Keep their mouth, gums, and teeth clean. Also, clean their surroundings to keep environmental allergens away.
Dogs often end up with excessive chewing out of boredom. Take them on long walks, keep them engaged and play with them for their good health.
Pink discoloration on dogs’ lips could result from different causes. In case of seasonal changes, their lips will regain their color once the weather gets warmer and they start going out in the sun.
In case of infections, allergies, or wounds, first, focus on healing the affected area. Then, in most cases, their lips will go back to their original color.
If you notice additional symptoms like lesions and ulcers or crusting, take your dog to the vet for a thorough examination and treatment.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.