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Can dogs get chapped lips?

The essentials

  • Yes, dogs can get dry skin, too — It’s most common around their lips and muzzle.
  • Some skin conditions can make your dog more likely to get chapped lips — Dermatitis and pyoderma are likely causes.
  •  Chapped lips are usually treatable at home — Your dog may need veterinary attention for an underlying skin condition, though.

Just like people, dogs can get chapped lips if their skin gets too dry — though it’s not as common in dogs. In most cases, you’ll start to notice dry, flaking skin and redness around your dog’s lips or mouth. This can be caused by a variety of conditions or irritants, like allergies, skin infections, or some autoimmune or immune system-related disorders. 

Depending on the cause, chapped lips can sometimes be treated at home but will likely need to be evaluated by your dog’s veterinarian. Determining the cause is an important step that helps pet parents choose the best course of treatment for their furry friends. We’ve put together everything you need to know about chapped lips in dogs—including tips for management, prevention, and treatment.

What can cause chapped lips in dogs?

Learn more about some of the possible causes of your dog’s dry, cracked lips or mouth.

  • Skin conditions. Health conditions like lip fold dermatitis and lip fold pyoderma can cause your dog’s mouth to get dry and cracked, potentially leading to chapped or dry lips.
  • Low humidity or cold weather. Dry climates that are low in humidity and cold weather can both lead to dry skin, including chapped lips.
  • Environmental allergies or irritants. Dogs with environmental allergies tend to have red or dry skin when they come into contact with an irritant.
  • Dehydration. If your pup’s skin isn’t getting enough moisture due to a lack of water intake, it can cause your dog to be dehydrated, leading to dry skin and potentially chapped lips.
  • Breed predisposition. Some dog breeds, like those with drooping upper lips or lip folds, are more likely to develop skin issues than others. These breeds include American bulldogs, Chinese shar-peis, and Saint Bernards.

    Your vet can help determine an underlying cause by testing the area via a skin culture. If they think it’s being caused by allergies or an autoimmune disease, though, your pup may need further testing to pinpoint the exact cause.

How to treat chapped doggie lips

While you can’t share your favorite lip balm with your dog, there are some pet-friendly options out there to help soothe their lips!

With an organic dog balm

Snout Soother from Natural Dog Company is a balm made specifically for dogs. While the “snout” soother is meant for your dog’s nose, it can be used on other affected areas like their lips and paw pads. It’s made with hydrating ingredients — coconut oil, hemp seed oil, kukui nut oil, and chamomile — to help heal your pup’s dry, chapped lips.

We do want to note that many of these products are for external use only—so be sure to apply liberally to the corners of their mouth and the mouth area, avoiding the inner mucous membranes for best results.

👉 As a bonus, the Snout Soother is also antifungal, antibacterial, vegan, organic, and cruelty-free.

It’s also helpful to consult a professional. Your dog may need a vet visit to determine what’s causing their dry, chapped lips and get the required treatment. Some underlying skin conditions may need to be treated with prescribed medications or ointments.

How to prevent chapped lips and what to avoid

If you don’t want to invest in a balm right now, no problem—there are plenty of ways to prevent chapped lips in your pet. 

The two main methods of prevention include: 

  1. Hydration. Keeping your pet hydrated is key to preventing a dry nose, chapped dog lips, and strain in your dog’s body—especially in dry weather or hotter months. Reducing dryness can help to reduce lip licking overall, which is one of the most common causes of chap on your dog’s lower lip and top lip areas. Pet owners can proactively support their pet’s hydration by making sure that there is ample fresh water available for them to hydrate with consistently. 
  2. Strategic avoidance. Direct encounters with wind, dehydration, and any stimulus that can cause excessive licking can heighten the risk of chapped dog lips. Keeping your dog inside in extreme or windy weather and avoiding messy, mouth-covering treats can be a good place to start if you know that your dog is prone to chap. 

Natural remedies for chapped dog lips

If your dog isn’t allergic, fish or krill oil are healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs. Adding these oils to your dog’s food can help hydrate their skin from within to aid and prevent dry or irritated skin, including chapped lips. Our favorite salmon oil is Native Pet’s Omega Oil, made with USA-sourced salmon oil and pollock oil.

Frequently asked questions

How can I treat my dog’s chapped lips?

You can try some at-home remedies like a dog balm or fish oil supplement. If those don’t help, it’s best to have your pup seen by a veterinarian to get proper treatment.

Why does it look like my dog has chapped lips?

It’s possible for your dog to get chapped lips, just like we can! Dry climates with low humidity, certain allergens or irritants, and dehydration are a few conditions that can lead to chapped lips.

Can I put Aquaphor on my dog’s lips?

No, Aquaphor is alright for your dog’s dry paws, nose, or skin, but we don’t recommend rubbing it near their mouth. It can lead to diarrhea if your pup licks too much of it off of their lips.

Can I put Vaseline on my dog’s lips?

No, we don’t recommend putting Vaseline on your dog’s lips, they could accidentally ingest it which could lead to stomach upset.