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Why Are My Dog’s Lips Turning Pink? 10 Causes & How To Fix It

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It can be alarming to notice that your dog’s lips have turned pink. While it may seem like a minor issue, it can actually be a sign of a more serious problem.

When a dog’s lips turn pink, it could be due to several reasons. A common cause is autoimmune disorders affecting pigmentation like Vitiligo and Uveodermatologic syndrome. Other causes include allergies, age, light exposure, skin infections, trauma, and even certain types of cancer. 

In this post, we will discuss the ten most common causes of why dogs’ lips turn pink and what you can do to fix the problem.

Let’s dive in.

Why Are My Dog’s Lips Turning Pink

What Are Normal Dog Lip Colors?

Before we understand why your dog’s lips may turn pink, it’s important to know what is considered normal.

Generally, healthy dogs will have black or very dark lips. The pigmentation of a dog’s lips is determined by the amount of Melanin they have. Melanin is a pigment that gives color to the skin, hair, and eyes.

Dogs with black lips typically have higher levels of Melanin. On the other hand, dogs with pink or light-colored lips have lower levels of Melanin. This can happen naturally where dogs just end up with light-colored lips. For example, Poodles, Bichons Frises, and Malteses often have light-colored lips.

Other dogs may have or develop pink lips due to health issues or other factors that we will discuss below.

Now that we know what is considered normal regarding dog lip colors, let’s look at some of the most common causes of why your dog’s lips may turn pink.

Related Reading: Why Are Dogs Lips Black? (7 Reasons + Why Lips Change Color)

Why Are My Dog’s Lips Turning Pink?

Why Are My Dog’s Lips Turning Pink

In short, many possible explanations exist for why your dog’s lips may turn pink. Some causes are benign and require no treatment, while others may indicate a more serious health issue.

Here are the ten most common reasons why your dog’s lips may be turning pink:

  • Skin Depigmentation Disorders
  • Dermatoses / Infections
  • Trauma
  • Allergies
  • Sun Exposure
  • Age
  • Discoid Lupus
  • Excessive Saliva Or Tears
  • Cutaneous Lymphoma
  • Hypopigmentation

It’s safe to say that there are many other factors why your dog’s lips may be turning pink, but these are the most common.

Let’s dive into more details on these 10 most common reasons.

The 10 Reasons A Dog’s Lips Turn Pink

#1 Skin Depigmentation

Skin depigmentation disorders are a group of conditions that cause the skin to lose its pigment. When this happens, the affected areas of the skin will turn white or pink.

There are many different types of skin depigmentation disorders, but the most common one in dogs is Vitiligo. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that causes the destruction of melanocytes, the cells that produce Melanin.

While Vitiligo can occur anywhere on the body, it is most commonly seen on the lips, nose, and paws. 

Other less common skin depigmentation disorders include:

  • Impetigo: a bacterial skin infection that causes the formation of sores and blisters. It appears as a red itchy rash and can be on any area of a dog with no hair.
  • Uveodermatologic syndrome: a condition that affects the skin and eyes. It is most commonly seen in dogs with blue or light-colored eyes, such as Australian Shepherds and Siberian Huskies. Affected dogs will have white or discolored patches of skin, as well as eye problems such as uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye).

#2 Dermatoses / Infections

Why Are My Dog’s Lips Turning Pink

Dermatoses is a broad term that refers to any skin disorder or disease. Many different types of dermatoses could cause a dog’s lips to turn pink.

Some common examples include:


This is a condition that results in red, inflamed skin. It is often caused by allergies or infections.


This is a condition that causes the skin to become white and flaky. It is often the result of an allergic reaction or a fungal infection. Leukoderma causes total depigmentation of the affected area.

Mucocutaneous Pyoderma

This is a rare disease found in dogs that can infect a dog’s lips and peri-oral skin. This can result in a dog’s lips losing pigmentation. This, in turn, makes them a pink color.

Other bacterial and fungal infections could also turn a dog’s lips pink. So, if you notice your dog’s lips turning pink, it’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any infections or skin diseases.

#3 Trauma

Any kind of trauma to a dog’s lips can cause them to turn pink or red. This could be from a car accident, a fight with another animal, or even chewing excessively on their lips.

If you think your dog’s lips have turned pink due to trauma, it’s important to take them to the vet right away as they

Traum may only show discoloration of just one lip. So your dog could have a pink bottom lip or upper lip depending on where the trauma occurred.

#4 Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common reasons why a dog’s lips may be turning pink. Allergies can be caused by food, environmental factors, or certain medications.

If your dog is allergic to something, they may develop swollen, itchy, and/or red skin. This can lead to their lips turning pink or red from all the scratching and biting.

Dogs with allergies may also have other symptoms such as itchiness, red eyes, runny nose, and/or sneezing. If you think your dog may have allergies, it’s important to take them to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

A vet will likely do skin or blood tests to determine what your dog is allergic to. They may also recommend certain foods or supplements to help alleviate the symptoms.

Some common allergies for dogs are:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Chemicals used to wash clothes or bedding
  • Wheat
  • Chicken
  • Dust

#5 Sun Exposure

Just like humans, dogs can get sunburned too. Dogs with lighter skin or who spend much time outside are more susceptible to sunburn.

Symptoms of sunburn in dogs include red or pink skin, excessive licking or scratching, and hair loss.

In addition, lack of sun exposure can also cause a change in dogs’ lips. This is due to the secretion of Melanin in a dog’s skin. Melanin is a pigment whose main job is to protect from UV rays. In the winter months, dogs get less sun exposure. This results in a dog’s body producing less Melanin. When Melanin is decreased, a dog’s lips can become lighter and possibly turn pink.

On the flip side, when dogs have lots of exposure to the sun, the opposite is true. They will produce more Melanin which can cause their lips to become darker in color.

This is the same reason humans get tanned out in the sun! Our bodies produce more Melanin to protect us from harmful UV rays.

#6 Age

old age dog

As dog’s age, the pigment in their skin can change naturally. Puppies may have pink lips that eventually turn black as they get older.

Older dogs may also find their lips turning pink or lighter in color. This is due to the decrease in melanin production that occurs during the aging process.

Age can also cause a change in skin thickness which can make a dog’s lips appear to be thinner and more delicate. 

In addition, as dog’s age, they may also develop certain health conditions that can cause their lips to turn pink. For example, Cushing’s disease or Addison’s disease are two endocrine disorders that often occur in older dogs. These diseases can cause a dog’s skin to thin and hair to fall out.

When skin thins, it’s more susceptible to damage and can change color more easily. This is why older dogs with these diseases may have pink or red lips.

#7 Discoid Lupus

Discoid Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect a dog’s skin. This disease causes the body to attack its own healthy tissue, leading to inflammation and skin damage.

Some symptoms of Discoid Lupus include:

  • Bald spots on the face or body
  • Scaly, crusty, or red skin
  • Sores on the skin that won’t heal
  • Lighter or darker skin pigmentation
  • Thinning of skin

Discoid Lupus can also cause a dog’s lips to turn pink or red. This is due to the inflammation and skin damage around the lips.

#8 Excessive Saliva Or Tears

excessive saliva

Dogs produce saliva and tears to keep their mouths and eyes healthy. However, sometimes dogs can produce too much saliva or tears, which can lead to health conditions causing your dog’s lips to turn pink.

Porphyrin is a natural substance found in a dog’s saliva and tears. When a dog produces too much saliva or tears, this substance can build up and cause the lips to turn pink or red.

This is often that brown/pink coloration you will see under light-coated dogs’ eyes, also known as “tear stains.” This same thing can happen to a dog’s lips. Essentially the porphyrin substance is causing depigmentation of the lips.

The best treatment is to determine why your dog is excessively salivating or tearing and address that issue. Once the excessive saliva or tears are under control, the lips should return to their standard color.

#9 Cutaneous Lymphoma

Cutaneous Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the skin. This disease can cause a dog’s lips to turn pink or red.

Symptoms of Cutaneous Lymphoma include:

  • Ulcers,
  • Nodules (lumps),
  • Plaques,
  • Reddish patches
  • Areas of scaling
  • Hair loss
  • Itching at the lesions
  • Skin thickening, reddened, ulcerated, and may begin to ooze fluid.

Symptoms are often present on the lips but can also appear on other body parts. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for an examination.

Cutaneous Lymphoma is a serious disease that needs to be treated by a veterinarian.

#10 Hypopigmentation

Hypopigmentation is when the skin color changes from its natural color to a lighter shade. This might happen for many reasons, such as genetics, fever, stress, certain medications, or an underlying health condition.

Hypopigmentation is basically a dog with low amounts of Melanin in their skin. Resulting in skin with patches of lighter color. 

This might seem similar to Vitiligo. However, hypopigmentation is associated with health issues or injury causing skin discoloration. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that destroys melanocyte cells.

What To Do If Your Dogs Lips Have Turned Pink?

what to do if your dogs lips are pink

If you’ve noticed that your dogs’ lips have turned pink, you should first check their skin, mouth, and eyes for any irritation, sores, or infections. If you find anything, it’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately.

If not, you want to monitor your dog closely to ensure no additional symptoms or changes in their behavior. Check their poop, and make sure they are eating, drinking, and urinating normally. If everything seems fine, but their lips are still pink, it’s unlikely to be anything serious. 

The best thing you can do is keep them as healthy as possible by feeding them high-quality food and exercising them daily.

Also, whenever there is a change to a dog’s physical appearance, it’s best practice to head in for a routine vet check-up. This just maximizes the chance of catching anything early on.

Some dogs can conceal illness very well, so if you’re ever concerned about your dog’s health, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take them to the vet.

Will My Dog Lips Turn Black Again?

will my dogs lips turn black again

This depends on the reason your dog’s lips have changed pink. Some conditions cause a permanent change to the skin, such as Vitiligo and cutaneous Lymphoma. In these cases, the lips will not turn black again.

Other conditions, such as porphyrin staining, are temporary and will eventually go away without any treatment.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Dogs Upper-Lip Turning Pink?

The most common cause for just the upper lip to turn pink is porphyrin causing excessive tear production and trauma. This is because both situations can be easily isolated to just the top lip. Other causes may include infection, depigmentation, allergies, or an injury to just the top lip. 

Why Is My Dog Bottom-Lip Turning Pink?

The most common causes for just the bottom lip turning pink are trauma and excess saliva production. This is because both situations can be easily isolated to just the bottom lip. Other causes may include infection, depigmentation, allergies, or an injury to just the bottom lip.

Why Are My Dogs Lips Turning Red?

Allergies are the likely culprit for red lips. This is because allergies can cause swelling, redness, and rashes due to the irritation they can cause. Other causes may include infection, trauma, or an injury. 

Final Thoughts

While it may be alarming to see your dog’s lips have changed colors, it’s not always a cause for concern. Some reasons include allergies, an aging dog, light exposure, or porphyrin staining that are not serious and will eventually go away on their own.

However, there are situations in which a dog’s lips will turn pink for health-related reasons. For example, if your dog has sores, swelling, itchiness, or changes in behavior, these are usually red flags.

Conditions like cutaneous Lymphoma, Vitiligo, Uveodermatologic syndrome, and discoid Lupus can all be the underlying cause of why your dog’s lips have turned pink. These are all severe health conditions that will require treatment from a veterinarian.

Suppose your dog expresses other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty eating or drinking, and their lips are turning pink. In that case, it’s essential to take them to the vet immediately.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Dog Smacking Lips In Middle Of Night: 13 Reasons + Tips

Inverted Nipple In Dogs: Should You Be Worried? (Helpful Tips)

Dog Yelps When Picked Up Under Chest (7 Reasons & Solutions)