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canine health problems
A Bulldog licking its 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 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.

What can cause chapped lips in dogs?

Learn more about some of the potential reasons for 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 bulldogs, Chinese shar-peis, and Saint Bernards.

Your vet can help determine an underlying cause by testing the area with cytology or 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 pups dry, chapped lips.

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

Add fish oil to your dog’s food

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.

If your home remedies aren’t helping, it’s best to bring in the help of 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.

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 best 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.