Why Do Dogs Lips Have Ridges

One characteristic of dogs that many find odd is their lips. The papillae, or lumps, on a dog’s upper and lower lips, are frequently seen by onlookers. These ridges aid in your dog’s ability to hold onto food when it is sucked into its mouth.

Everyone has experienced the discomfort of accidently biting their tongue or mouth while eating. It occurs, and it hurts a lot. Because a sharp tooth can cause excruciating pain, pets have rough lips.

Why do dogs’ lips pucker?

Dogs frequently exhibit weird behavior, sometimes for a cause, and other times it is just a habit that they have picked up that their owners are unaware of. There could be a few causes for the trembling of your dog’s lip. The most basic and frequent explanation would have to do with regular behavior. This can just be a sign of coldness or anxiety, or it might even signify that the dog is yielding to the pack leader—whether that’s another dog or their owner. Since they depend on their owners for everything, the majority of dogs will see them as their boss. Most of the time, trembling lips can be related to an emotion like enthusiasm. This is the most typical cause of lip trembling in dogs, and most of the time, this may be the reason why your dog is acting in this way. It might also be brought on by excessive happiness or grief. Other factors, such as heat fatigue or if something is wrong with their mouth, may also be related to this problem. While the majority of these fundamental worries are common, they shouldn’t be a daily habit. Even though some dogs may outgrow this tendency, others might not. You should thus check to see whether their lip quivering isn’t a sign of a more serious problem. Similar to how dogs’ jaws may tremble, their lips may also tremble for more significant reasons. Each owner should keep an eye out for it if they notice it in their dog. Lip tremors can have minor causes, such nervous tics, or more dangerous ones, like bacterial or viral infections. It may be prudent to take your dog to the vet if you believe that their lip quivering is a sign of anything more serious and a problem.

Why do dogs’ gums get lumps?

We’ll talk about aberrant gum structure and growths right now. Some of these are benign, which means they are not malignant or at the very least cannot spread to other areas of the body. However, others are cancerous, which are much more serious.

Gingival Hyperplasia

Let’s begin with a more “normal” level of gum growth. Gingival hyperplasia is the medical term for excessive gum growth. Despite being fully benign and non-cancerous, this illness can cause a very atypical appearance.

Gingival hyperplasia can occur in some breeds, with Boxer Dogs and Bulldogs being the most common. Their gums are quite swollen and uneven. Sometimes, the gum tissue seems overly excited and almost completely envelops the teeth.

Although gingival hyperplasia is a benign condition in and of itself, it can cause various health issues. The biggest one is that all of that extra gum tissue swells and pockets around the teeth contribute to a lot more plaque and tartar buildup there.

Due to this, many dogs with gingival hyperplasia can require more frequent dental cleanings at the veterinarian. It’s still a good idea to brush as a prophylactic step, but most toothbrushes won’t be able to reach the deep pits and pockets that gingival hyperplasia causes.

When the gums are sufficiently overgrown, we may occasionally observe problems where certain teeth are actually pushing and injuring the gums, resulting in bleeding, edema, and discomfort. In situations like this, depending on the severity, it can be essential to either extract the problematic tooth or have a veterinary dentist shorten and smooth the bothersome tooth or teeth.

While you could theoretically cut or remove some of the excessive gum tissue in its place, doing so would almost always result in the gum tissue just growing back, which would not be a good long-term solution.


Papillomas would definitely be my favorite sort of gum growth if I had to pick one. Why? because they are mostly just benign growths that disappear on their own.

Canine papillomaviruses are the primary cause of canine papillomas, which typically develop in puppies under the age of two. I notice them most frequently in dogs between the ages of 1 and 2 years.

For those of you who remember the era before the chicken pox vaccination, when we all contracted the disease at some point as young children, but once we got it and recovered, we couldn’t acquire it again, you can compare papillomas to the chicken pox.

After being exposed to a dog with papillomas, young dogs develop them themselves. However, the papillomas normally disappear on their own after the pup’s immune system mounts a reaction after 2-3 months, and it is extremely uncommon to ever see them again. It is also incredibly uncommon to see any elderly or middle-aged dogs acquire them.

Most puppies will have no more than six of the tiny, pea-sized pink or white growths that resemble warts. If this is the case and there are no indicators of oral pain or difficulty eating, no primary care is typically necessary.

But occasionally, generally in puppies that have some immune system suppression or compromise, we can detect dozens of papillomas, which can interfere with a puppy’s regular day to day activities.

It’s always better to get your younger dog’s mouth examined by your veterinarian if you notice papillomas to make sure that’s what they are and not anything else. The majority of the time, these can be seen confirmed in connection with a pup’s early age, and it is advised to monitor for the next two to three months to see if they resolve on their own.

Rarely, particularly if your dog developed one or more at an older age, your veterinarian may want to biopsy one or more in order to confirm a papilloma. Additionally, some vets may choose to manually rupture or surgically remove the warty growths, depending on their quantity and severity.


A benign tumor called an epulis manifests as a localized expansion of gum tissue. Most often, they resemble a tiny mushroom cap or ball of gum tissue that stands out noticeably from the surrounding gums.

These are the fourth most frequent type of gum tissue development, and they most frequently appear as a result of trauma or irritation to a gum area, which can happen as a result of poor dental occlusion. Most frequently, brachycephalic breeds like Boxer Dogs and Bulldogs exhibit them. As previously indicated, gingival hyperplasia is most prevalent in these breeds, which may also be a risk factor.

The ligament that secures a tooth to the jaw can also be affected by epuli, or epulides as they are known in the plural. We’ll talk more about expectations later, but this is crucial.

Epuli come in three different varieties with varying degrees of severity.

A fibromatous epulis is the term for the first. These are the simplest and least dangerous form. Small ones less than 1 centimeter in size frequently do not cause any issues in the mouth, but on rare occasions, a nearby tooth may traumatize it, resulting in bleeding and irritation.

A second kind is referred to as an ossifying epulis. These have a very similar outward appearance to our first variety, but their interior tissue composition is different. Osteoblasts, or bone-forming cells, are found in ossifying epuli. These are more likely to be joined to the ligament support systems for teeth.

The Acanthomatous ameloblastoma is the third and most worrisome kind of epulis. These behave much more like tumors that are aggressive, and they typically have a distinct appearance from our first two epuli. These frequently have a more erratic, cauliflower-like appearance and might even seem ulcerated.

While technically benign (meaning it cannot spread to other organs or tissues of the body), acanthomatous ameloblastoma generally involves the jaw bone and displaces teeth.

The type of epuli will determine how it is treated. Often, for the simpler and smaller ones, your veterinarian may simply choose to remove it during a dental treatment under sedation, provided that the mouth’s x-rays otherwise seem normal.

The only way to determine the type of epulis present is to send a biopsy of it for examination by a veterinary pathologist. Expectations regarding the possibility of regeneration may be influenced by this.

A veterinarian may decide to take a more aggressive approach to the epulis by removing it along with the associated tooth and scraping out the tooth socket to ensure no epulis tissue is left behind if there is evidence that the epulis is more aggressive, may involve the tissues surrounding the associated tooth, or if x-rays of the mouth show abnormalities.

This may also be the required strategy to stop any further regrowth if an epulis is simply removed but subsequently grows again in the same location.

But if a biopsy sample confirms that the tumor is an acanthomatous ameloblastoma, your veterinarian will need to take even more drastic measures. The jaw bone itself must most frequently be removed since malignant tumors infiltrate and devastate the bone.

If such a drastic action is required, a board-certified veterinary dentist or surgeon would often carry it out. It might surprise you to learn that most dogs that need to have part of their jaw surgically removed actually recover very quickly.

Malignant Growths

We’ll now discuss the top three most prevalent oral tumors, all of which, regrettably, are malignant (if you remember, the benign epulis growth is the fourth most common).

If a growth is malignant, this indicates that tumor cells may really depart the growth, pass via the circulation, and establish a new home in another area of the body. This is what is meant when the terms “metastasis” or “metastatic spread” are used.

Malignant Melanoma

The most typical mouth tumor in dogs is melanoma, which is not a good thing to have.

If you remember the initial conversation concerning gum pigmentation and dogs with dark or black gums, you’ll recall that I advised you to constantly keep a close eye on those areas.

This is because the melanocytes seen in these areas of dark pigmentation have the potential to develop into malignant cells.

Any dog with these dark or black gums is at the highest level of risk. There is a less prevalent type of melanoma termed “amelanotic melanoma” when the pigmentation is not present.

Melanoma can develop anywhere along the gumline, but in my observation, it tends to develop most frequently towards the back or centre of the mouth, behind the canines.

Bleeding from the mouth, particularly in one specific area, is a sign of melanoma. The gum tumor is really pulling the lips and cheek outwards, so puppy parents might also detect a growth there. As the tumor spreads, these puppies typically also have trouble feeding.

Early detection of melanoma is crucial, so consult your veterinarian right away if you see any early indications of swelling or bleeding in the mouth area.

Surgery is frequently used to remove the tumor from melanoma patients, oftentimes including the accompanying teeth and perhaps even the jaw bone.

Usually, radiation or chemotherapy are used after this. The so-called “vaccine” against melanoma is the most effective treatment after surgery. Many dogs with oral melanoma can still live for several months to over a year with an excellent quality of life with early detection and effective therapy. But regrettably, metastatic progression, typically to the lungs, is unavoidable.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The second most typical oral tumor in dogs is squamous cell carcinoma, or “SCC” for short.

Squamous cell carcinoma can develop almost everywhere and in any breed of dog because these simple skin cells coat every outside aspect of our bodies, including our lips.

On the skin, it might seem more like a growth than anything else, but in the mouth, it might look quite different. It may seem as a clearly defined growth or more as a region of inflamed and ulcerated tissue.

This tissue typically looks more worse than normal gingivitis and is more prone to bleeding.

Since SCC does continue to grow, spread, and have the potential to metastasis, success with the disease also depends on early discovery. Additionally, it depends on the area. SCC tumors that are more prevalent in the front of the mouth are simpler to surgically remove and less likely to metastasize than tumors that are more prevalent in the back of the mouth or beneath the tongue.

The best way to treat SCC is thought to be surgical removal followed by radiation therapy, and the prognosis can be favorable with complete early removal. Numerous studies have shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as carprofen, can both considerably reduce the growth of tumors and provide some pain relief. As a result, your veterinarian may initially advise starting an NSAID in a dog with SCC while deciding on subsequent treatment options.


The third most frequent type of cancer, fibrosarcoma, is regrettably the least treatable unless it is discovered extremely early.

This is a mouth-related connective tissue tumor. These tumors have a propensity for rapid growth and are extremely locally invasive, occasionally even extending into the nasal cavity, in addition to the potential of metastatic dissemination.

They can only be treated with early surgical removal while attempting to remove the entire tumor. They have a high rate of recurrence and do not react well to chemotherapy or radiation.

Do dogs enjoy being kissed?

Most dogs are tolerant of their owners’ kisses. Many people even enjoy receiving kisses from their loved ones, and some may even start to equate receiving them with affection and care. Typically, they’ll wag their tails, appear alert and content, and lick you in response to your affection. Unfortunately, dog attacks to the face often result from hugging and kissing, especially when children are involved. In the US, 400 000 children are bitten by dogs each year. The majority of bites occur at home, in children under 7, and involve dogs that the children are familiar with.

Children make rash decisions and frequently approach dogs while they are eating, making them appear to be a threat. Or perhaps they’ll snuck up on them when they’re sleeping and give them a hug and kiss. Children frequently lack the ability to recognize the warning signs that a dog is refusing a kiss. When dogs are disciplined for growling or showing their teeth, they may even learn to ignore more abrasive warning signs. They might proceed directly to a nip, which would be extremely riskier.

Play it Safe

Therefore, it’s best to be cautious and refrain from kissing unacquainted canines. Especially if you acquire an older dog, keep this in mind. You never know if they may have experienced abuse or have significant trust issues. It’s unquestionably a good idea to teach kids how to behave respectfully. For gentle petting, they ought to wait till your dog approaches them. This demonstrates that the dog is at ease and secure during the interaction. You already know that dogs don’t kiss each other the same manner that people do when they are close to us. So, how can dogs express their love?