Why Do Dogs Have Bumps on Their Lips? (4 Reasons Why They Are Jagged)

The truth is no one really knows for sure, but dog lovers and professionals have some pretty good ideas about why these mystery lip-bumps exist. Some say they are there to clean the dog’s teeth, protect the lips, and enable the dog to open its mouth wide.

Bumpy lips are a common characteristic among many dog breeds. Even though the actual reason for dogs having bumps on their lips is unknown, there are several theories that we’ll explore here!

Why Do Dogs Have Bumps on Their Lips? (why Are They Jagged?)

There are many opinions on why dogs have bumps on their lips. The bumps are soft and naturally occur in different breeds of dogs. We know they serve some sort of function, but a lack of research means that we do not know the real scientific reason.

The bumps are for holding onto bones and toys

One theory that many dog enthusiasts stand by is that the bumps on a dog’s lips are extra grip. Think about when a dog is chewing on something like a bone, toy, or a stick. The bumps help keep the object in place and stop it from slipping out mid-chew. This means your favorite pet can enjoy whichever plaything has taken their fancy.

They help clean the dog’s teeth

Dog experts have noted that lip bumps intertwine almost perfectly with the teeth. Many think the bumps serve as a cleaning tool so that the areas between the dog’s teeth do not become infected.

This self-cleaning mechanism is highly beneficial. It prevents infections that they could pass onto other animals or the dog’s owners. Conditions such as abscesses are common in dogs, so it is important that the areas between their teeth stay clean. 

Protection from themselves

If you look closely, you’ll also see that the bumps on the dog’s lips are soft and cushioned. Many enthusiasts have suggested that the bumps protect a dog’s gums when their jaws shut quickly. For instance, when the dog is biting, barking, or drinking water, their jaws tend to snap shut and rapidly open again.

The bumps, therefore, stop the longer teeth from piercing the dog’s gums and causing them injury.

Allows them to open wide

Other theories say that the bumps on a dog’s lips are actually folds of skin. People propose that the bump-like folds are there to allow the dog’s mouth to open wide over their teeth when yawning, eating or barking. When the mouth then relaxes to its resting position, the skin crinkles up, creating the bumps we see on a dog’s lips.

What Do Normal Bumps on A Dog’s Lips Look Like?

If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably come across lumps and bumps on their lips at some point. The ones that serve a function line the lips. If you’ve never noticed them before, try pulling down on your dog’s bottom lip or lifting the top lip up to reveal them.

Experts often call the appearance of a dog’s lips’ serrated’ although the bumps are actually soft to the touch. The bumps do not cause the dogs any pain and seem to play a role in the overall functioning of their mouths.

You’ll see that the bumps match the color of the dog’s lips and occur around the surface of them. You will not see the clusters of bumps continue into the gums. If they do, something else may be causing the bumps. These may not be the naturally occurring ones that potentially serve a function. 

When Bumps on A Dog’s Lips and Mouth Are Abnormal

As mentioned, you may come across lumps and bumps that are potentially harmful to the dogs. Typically, you can distinguish between normal bumps and harmful ones by looking for redness and swelling. If you do notice redness and swelling, it may mean your dog has an infection.

Anything from allergic reactions to common canine infections can cause harmful bumps around the lips and mouth. Mostly, bumps on your dog’s lips are nothing much to worry about and generally will not cause pain or harm to your dog.

Possible causes of abnormal bumps on a dog’s lips and mouth

Common skin conditions such as canine acne appear around the lips and the muzzle. It literally looks like pimples on your poor pooch’s face. It’s usually treated with a simple cream or serum and is relatively painless for your dog. If left untreated, it could lead to more severe infections.

There are some lumps that dog owners and carers should especially look out for. Growths like a cancerous tumor or an Epulis (also known as a gum boil) may be causing the bump. These may be hard to spot as they can even occur around the tongue and not only on the lips.

Vets recommend that if you care for a dog, you should check around their mouths regularly, especially on their lips, gums, and under their tongues.

Treatments for abnormal bumps on lips and mouth

If you see a bump on your dog’s lip you suspect may be dangerous, always consult a vet. Some infections of the mouth may be easily treatable with simple serums or home treatments. Some cases may require medication or a change in diet. A vet will know exactly what to do to get your pup back to its happy, bouncy self!

So Why Do Dogs Have Bumps on Their Lips?

We know there is one reason or another, but no one is entirely sure! Who knew that those funny little bumps you see on your dog’s lips could actually serve a function? With all the bright ideas and theories from enthusiasts and professionals, they’ve got to do something.

Whether it’s cleaning, softening, or simply extra skin to widen their mouths, we’re dying to find out the real reason for dogs to have these bumps. Calling all researchers, get cracking!

As a dog owner, it’s always best to keep a close eye on lumps and bumps in general but especially around the mouth area. Regular checks will keep your favorite pet happy and healthy.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!