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Dog Lip Sores (Underlying Conditions And Proper Care)

Key Takeaways

  • The bumps or blisters that you’re noticing on your dog may be mouth sores.
  • Although dog lip sores can just be a simple wound from an injury, they could also be a sign of a more serious illness such as contact mucositis, hyperplastic gingiva, periodontal disease, and more.
  • Depending on the cause, a vet may prescribe antimicrobials, topical therapy, diet modifications, or vitamin supplements to treat dog lip sores.

Did your dog look perfectly healthy, but then suddenly random bumps or blisters appeared on its mouth? Dog lip sores can be caused by several things from injuries obtained from fights or sharp objects after chewing, to medical conditions like canine oral papillomavirus or even mouth ulcers.

I have noticed that many dog owners weren’t aware that dogs can even develop this condition. There are actually a lot of similarities between mouth sores in dogs and humans, from appearance to recovery time. If you are searching for the best treatment for this condition, you don’t have to look any longer. I have covered below the important things you need to know about dog lip sores.

Whether you have young dogs or old dogs, you’ll find my guide to properly caring for your dogs with mouth sores useful.

What Are Mouth Sores In Dogs?

Mouth sores can affect many different areas of a dog’s oral cavity including inner cheeks, gums, lips, and tongue. The painful condition usually occurs when the oral mucosa becomes inflamed. If a dog suffers from periodontal disease, the mouth sores could also affect the teeth.

Does Your Dog Have A Mouth Sore?

A healthy dog’s mouth will have relatively good-smelling breath, usually pink-colored gums, and clean teeth. A dog with a healthy mouth will not be suffering from periodontal disease, and there shouldn’t be any lumps on or in its mouth. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from a mouth sore, you probably want to know the symptoms of this condition. The only great thing about mouth sores is that they can be really easy to identify. If your dog has any of the following symptoms, it may be suffering from a mouth sore.

Dog licking mouth.
  • Excessively licking of the mouth sore
  • Tongue and gums may look dark or purple
  • Scratching or rubbing the face
  • Difficulty eating
  • Inability to play with chew toys for dogs
  • Bloody saliva
  • Significantly decreased appetite
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth discomfort
  • Teeth grinding
  • Swollen gums

Do You Know The Causes Of Mouth Sores?

If you know the causes of mouth sores, then you definitely have more knowledge than many other dog owners.

The cause of mouth sores is generally an underlying condition, from skin disease to internal disease which can lead to more serious health problems. There are several underlying conditions that could result in mouth sores including

  • Contact mucositis
  • A bacterial or fungal infection
  • Hyperplastic gingiva
  • A weakened immune system
  • Canine papilloma virus
  • Allergic ulcerative disease
  • Periodontal disease
  • Excessive facial skin folds
  • Lip fold dermatitis
  • Kidney disease
  • Gingival hyperplasia
  • Exposure to irritants or toxins such as bleach
  • Canine chronic ulcerative stomatitis [1]

Since mouth sores can be an indication of a potentially serious condition, I highly suggest to get your dog examined by a vet as soon as possible.

Which Dog Breeds Are Most Likely To Get Mouth Sores?


Large and small dog breeds can get mouth sores, but some dog breeds are more likely to suffer from this condition. If you have a Lab, Maltese, German Shepherd, Greyhound, Spaniel or Dachshund, your dog may actually be genetically predisposed to mouth sores. Much research suggests that the odds of these specific dog breeds getting mouth sores is even higher if they have an autoimmune disease in dogs.

How Will A Vet Diagnose Canine Mouth Sores?

Most vets will begin the diagnosis by getting important information about your dog’s medical history, current symptoms, and a complete list of current and previous medications. In many cases, a vet will also want to know whether your dog has traveled in the past several months or experienced some sort of trauma recently. If your dog hasn’t received good dental care recently, make sure to inform the vet.

Once these routine questions are out of the way, a vet will probably check out your dog’s mouth and perform several diagnostic tests to thoroughly examine your dog’s mouth tissue and discharge. Swabs, scrapes and biopsies may form part of the diagnostic plan. Because your dog may be experiencing pain, it may have trouble cooperating during the mouth exam so sedation might be needed. When the underlying condition has been identified, the vet will recommend personalized treatments just for your dog.

What’s The Best Way To Care For Your Dog suffering from lip sores?

If you have been losing sleep wondering if mouth ulcers in dogs are a treatable condition, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief and relax. With proper care, this condition is treatable in most cases. The first thing that you need to do is ask an experienced vet for effective treatment recommendations for oral ulcer. More than likely, your vet will want to initially focus on treating the underlying condition. Check out these common treatment options for mouth sores or oral ulcers.

Antimicrobials: For primary and secondary bacterial infections, antimicrobials can be a great treatment. A vet generally won’t prescribe antimicrobials for long-term treatment of an infected dog, though. Over time, antimicrobials could result in antibiotic resistance. The gold standard is to culture the lesions and to prescribe antibiotics based on the results.

Topical Therapy: Whether it’s antibacterial gel or chlorhexidine solution, topical therapy is a common treatment for the mouth and gums. Most vets would agree that topical pain medication is a great treatment to relieve gum and mouth pain.

Diet Modifications: A great way to ease your dog’s discomfort is to modify its diet. A vet will probably suggest feeding your dog soft food for a while. Just make sure that you don’t irritate your dog’s mouth sore by serving hot dog food. I also suggest offering your dog crushed ice for easing any discomfort. If your dog is severely malnourished, a feeding tube and fluid therapy may be necessary. If you think that your dog has a poor immune system, now is the time to ask your vet for treatment suggestions.

Vitamin Supplements: A vet may diagnose your dog with anorexia too, which means that dog vitamins will definitely be necessary.

What Does The Recovery Period Look Like?

Water bowl in garden.

One of the ways to ensure that you’re giving your dog the best care for this condition is to pamper it during the recovery period. The most important thing you’ll need to do is keep your dog as comfortable as possible. If your best pal’s sleeping space isn’t comfortable, consider buying a new dog bed. A comfy and soft bed will allow your best pal to get plenty of rest during recovery. As your dog is recovering, you can consider placing the bed in a dog crate or in a quieter area of your home.

You’ll also want to make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water. You can even place more water bowls around your home.

In just under two weeks, your pup should be healed from this condition. If you don’t see your dog’s condition getting better in a few days, you should give the vet a call to discuss your furry friend’s progress.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Getting Mouth Sores?

While virtually any dog can get mouth sores, this doesn’t mean that it has to keep happening. These are many ways you can ensure that your dog doesn’t repeatedly suffer from mouth sores:

  • Apply topical cleaning gels to your dog’s teeth and gums if the vet approves it for preventative treatment
  • Ask the vet if dental prophylaxis is a great preventative treatment for your dog
  • Consider using home remedies to manage your pup’s condition
  • Don’t stop giving your dog the recommended treatment for this condition until the vet says it’s okay
  • Stop your dog from excessively pawing or licking at the sore because it could result in an infection. A dog cone may be needed.
  • Talk with a vet about adjusting your dog’s diet long-term
  • Keep skin folds clean and dry
  • Brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis with the best toothpaste for dogs
  • Make sure your dog gets regular teeth cleanings at the vets
  • Avoid letting your furry friend play with other dogs who have visible lesions since it may be contagious
  • Keep your dog hydrated throughout the day
  • Visit a vet immediately if your dog develops symptoms of this condition again

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Final Thoughts

As you are trying to determine the best care for your dog’s condition, always keep in mind that it’s usually treatable. Don’t stress too much.

If your dog has severely damaged teeth, the vet will probably need to address that issue before recommending the best treatment for mouth sores.

Since you most likely noticed your dog’s condition at home, you might feel compelled to try a home remedy. However, I suggest you get a vet’s approval first before trying any at-home remedies. If you’re not careful, you could make the condition worse.

As a general rule, always follow the vet’s recommendations when figuring out proper care for your furry friend.


Why does my dog have a sore on her lip?

If your dog has a sore on its lip, it probably seems like the sore appeared really suddenly. The reason why your dog has a sore on her lip is most likely due to an underlying condition. The mouth sore could be caused by any of the following conditions: A bacteria/fungal infection, poor immune system, a cancer such as a mast cell tumor or melanoma, canine papillomavirus, and many more. Visiting a vet is the only sure way to determine the exact cause of the sore on your dog’s lip. The vet will run a few diagnostic tests and recommend the best treatment for your dog.

How do you treat mouth sores in dogs?

When it comes to properly caring for your dog with mouth sores, pet owners will find that treatment will be relatively easy in most cases. Depending on the exact cause of the mouth sore, a vet may recommend dietary modifications, pain-relieving medications, topical therapy, vitamin supplements, and/or antimicrobials. During the recovery period, you should prevent rubbing and scratching with an E-Collar. With proper treatment, most dogs will return to their happy, healthy self in less than two weeks. If your pup’s mouth sores do not improve in a few days, you should contact your vet very soon.

Can dogs get cold sores on their lips?

Dogs do not really get cold sores like humans and we cannot pass Herpes to them. However, in veterinary medicine, there is a similar condition called canine herpes virus (CHV) that is fatal to young puppies, although it can also affect adult dogs. In order to determine what has caused your dog’s lip lesion, have them seen by a vet.

Why does my dog have sores on his snout?

When you notice sores on your dog’s nose, you shouldn’t panic. There are several possible causes of sores on a dog’s snout, and many of them aren’t life-threatening. If your dog has a sore on his snout, he could be suffering from muzzle pyoderma, a fungal infection, an autoimmune disease or another condition. As soon as you notice the sores on your dog’s nose, you should take him to a vet. A vet will be able to figure out exactly what’s causing the sores on your dog’s nose, and he/she will also be able to create a comprehensive treatment plan for your furry friend. 

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