Dogs Lips Turning Pink (10 Possible Reasons)

dog lips turning pink

As dog owners, it is our responsibility to ensure that our dogs are in good health. It is good to always give your dog a close physical inspection from head to tail to ensure

What if you noticed that your dog’s lips turning pink recently?

Is it a reason to be concerned?

Your dog’s lips turning pink can be due to a loss in pigmentation. This can happen to many dog breeds and is considered normal. You should take your dog to the vet if there’s any swelling, bleeding or inflammation that goes with the pigment change.

In this article, we will be taking a closer look at pigmentation issues in dogs and other underlying medical conditions that can cause your dog’s lips to turn pink.

Why Are My Dog’s Lips Turning Pink?

Your dog’s lips turning pink could be a permanent or temporary change in pigmentation. Most of the time, there’s not much to worry about as it is a normal process.

However, there will be instances when there is a cause for concern. Here are some possible reasons that can cause pink lips in your dog.

1. Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a condition whereby the skin begins to lose its natural pigments. It can happen to your dog’s skin and it occurs in patches.

Areas that are affected by vitiligo can turn white or a very pale shade of pink.

Melanin is the cells that give our skin its natural color. In dogs with vitiligo, these cells are destroyed causing the skin to lose its pigment.

This condition starts off as small spots and grows to larger areas over the years.

It is said that the famous pop star Michael Jackson suffers from a severe case of vitiligo.

Vitiligo in dogs can usually start off on the face before moving on to the body.

2. Allergic Reaction

There are times when allergies can cause your dog’s lips to turn pink. An allergic reaction happens when your dog comes into contact with an allergen.

This could be a certain material or food.

Allergies can cause a pink discoloration in your dog’s lips due to swelling and inflammation. You might also notice rashes, crustiness or sores on or around your dog’s lips.

Your dog might also experience itching and skin irritation on its face and body and will be scratching itself for relief.

3. Porphyrin

As your dog’s red blood cells break down due to wear and tear, porphyrin is formed as a by-product.

Porphyrin contains iron and is secreted via your dog’s poo, saliva and dog’s tears. This compound is very noticeable on dogs with light fur as it tends to stain it pinkish brown.

Porphyrin can also stain the area around your dog’s mouth and cause your dog’s lip to turn pink.

4. Skin Infection

Dogs can be as curious as cats. They explore the world with their nose and mouth. There are times when your dog might have bitten or picked up something sharp with its mouth.

The object could have caused a cut or punctured your dog’s lip thus causing a skin infection. When this happens, it will cause your dog to look like it has pink lips from the swelling.

5. Uveodermatologic Syndrome

This syndrome causes the dog’s body to break down its own pigment cells. This condition can cause your dog’s fur, lips, nose or any part that has pigments to lose its natural color.

The main concern for dogs with this condition is the eyes. The disease will attack the eyes causing them to become red and painful.

There is a chance that the dog could become blind over time.

6. Age

Pigmentation on your dog’s lip can also be caused by its age. As dogs get older, they might lose their pigmentation thus causing their lips to turn pink.

Puppies on the other hand have yet to fully develop their melanin which makes their lips more pinkish in color compared to an older dog.

On a separate note, if your older dog has not been eating well and you plan to feed it Ensure, you might want to read this before giving your dog Ensure.

7. Sun Exposure

The color of your dog’s skin and fur can also be influenced by the amount of sun exposure that it gets.

Too much sun exposure can cause skin pigmentation in your dog’s lips thus causing them to turn pink.

If you have a dog that loves the outdoors, chances are it has sun-bleached skin which causes its fur color to lighten.

The amount of sun exposure that your dog gets during the summer and winter months can affect the degree of pigmentation that it has on its lips and nose.

The change in pigmentation in your dog’s lips and fur may be permanent or temporary.

This discoloration by the sun can also happen to a dog with a brown or black nose.

8. Cancer

A serious condition like cancer can cause your dog’s lip to start turning pink. It can be hard to detect as it usually seems like your dog is having some pigmentation issues with its lips and nose.

There is a high probability that the cancer cells can also spread to your dog’s body over time.

9. Oral Papillomas

The papillomavirus causes lesions, sores and warts to form on the dog’s lips which can give a pinkish appearance.

It can be quite commonly seen in young dogs under the age of three years old as their immune system has yet to develop fully.

As the dog gets older and the immune system more robust, it will be strong enough to suppress the virus and heal itself.

This is similar to the HPV infection that is present in humans that can cause the growth of warts.

10. Trauma To The Mouth

Dogs are very playful creatures and can get too carried away when playing. They might knock their lips or mouth area against a hard object by accident.

The force of the impact can cause injury to your dog’s lips causing them to swell and turn pink.

What To Do If My Dog’s Lips Are Turning Pink?

If you notice that your dog’s lips are turning pink, the first thing that you need to do is to closely inspect its mouth.

  • Are your dog’s lips swollen?
  • Are there any signs of bleeding?
  • Do you notice a change in your dog’s breath?
  • Are there any sores or rashes on the lips and mouth area?
  • Is the discoloration getting more obvious by the day?
  • Does it seem that your dog is in pain?

If your dog’s lips are turning pink very gradually and it seems that the issue isn’t causing your dog any discomfort or pain, it could just be due to aging or sun exposure.

But if you notice anything else out of the ordinary, it would be best to bring your dog to the vet for a thorough check-up.

The vet might require a tissue sample or blood test just to make sure it isn’t due to an underlying medical condition.

If the pink lips are due to skin infections or lip dermatitis, the vet will most probably give you some antibiotic cream to apply to your dog’s lips.

There are a number of dog breeds that are more prone to having skin conditions that can affect the pigmentation of their lips, nose and body.

  • German Shepherds
  • Collies
  • Chow Chows
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Rottweilers
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Labrador Retrievers

The above list isn’t exhaustive but if you do own one of the above-mentioned dog breeds, there’s a chance that it might suffer from a skin condition during its lifespan.

Anatomy Of Your Dog Lips

Given that we have spoken so much about a dog’s lip, we should take some time to further understand its anatomy.

Dogs do have lips which actually apply more to the lower lip. The upper lip is called the flew and the length varies between dog breeds.

Dog breeds like the bloodhound and mastiff have much bigger and longer flews than tend to cover their upper jawline.

There are some dog breeds whose flews can totally cover the lower lip.

Someone actually asked me that since dogs have lips, can dogs spit?

Dogs are not able to spit as they can’t control their lips and tongue as we do but boy, can dogs drool.

Dog’s Bottom Lip Turning Pink

If you notice that only your dog’s bottom or lower lip turning pink, it could be due to the same reasons mentioned above.

The same issue can happen to your dog’s upper lip and the only difference is between the top and bottom.

Do the same checks as your would if your dog’s upper lip starts to turn pink. Anything that is out of the ordinary needs to be examined by the vet.

Why Do Dogs Have Black Lips?

You might have noticed that the majority of dogs have black lips. If you take some time to notice a dog, you will notice that its nose color will be the same color as the outer lining of its lips.

However, not all dogs have black lips as it largely depends on the amount of melanin that’s available in these body parts.

The good thing is that dogs with darker noses and lips tend to have better protection from sun exposure.

Do Dogs Smile?

Dogs do have the capacity to smile when they press their lips tightly against their teeth. It does look more like a snarl but in doggy body language, it’s a smile.

Regardless of whether your dog is smiling or not, a happy dog will always be smiling through its eyes.


Most dog owners do not have to be too concerned about their dog’s lips turning pink. It is a common sight for dogs that are getting older or who have been out in the sun a lot.

For dogs whose lips are pink due to an injury, skin infections or an underlying health reason, it is always good to have it checked out by the vet to ensure that it isn’t anything serious.