Dog Skin Irritation Around Mouth

Dog skin irritation manifests itself in a number of forms. Dog skin irritation around the mouth could indicate an allergic reaction, abscess, mites, rash, cyst, warts or a bacterial or fungal infection.

Dogs use their mouths to explore the world. In doing so, they expose themselves to a variety of possible irritants and infections. Whenever a irritation around the mouth manifests itself, it is advisable to investigate and to determine if the cause could be an allergic reaction. Backtracking the day’s events prior to the appearance of the irritation around the mouth could help solve the riddle as to the cause for the mouth irritation.

Infections Can Cause Irritations

Moisture or drooling can cause bacterial or fungal infections since warmth and moisture can be ideal environments for bacteria and/or fungi. This is especially true for dogs with loose jowls. Direct contact with any bacteria or fungi can be transferred to the mouth. Tooth and gum disease can also cause skin irritation around the mouth since drooling usually accompanies dental problems.

An abscess is a pocket of tissue containing pus and bacteria. Any dental abscesses can cause a skin irritation around the mouth. Dermatitis can also cause oral skin irritations.

Allergens Causing Skin Infections in Dogs

The direct contact with or the inhaling of any allergen can also result in an oral skin irritation. Dogs can also develop acne around the mouth. This is treatable with human benzoyl peroxide. Sometimes allergic reactions appear in the form of a rash, which can be treated by eliminating contact or ingestion of the offending irritant.

Some of the following can produce an allergic reaction through direct contact or ingestion:

  • Parasites
  • Parasite elimination products, such as flea collars
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Plants and grasses
  • Molds
  • Chemicals – house or garden
  • Animal proteins
  • Lactose (milk)
  • Food preservatives

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Infection
  • Loss of hair
  • Persistent scratching, chewing and/or licking
  • Scabby or scaly skin

Avoidance of the allergen(s) is the only form of treatment available.

Lumps Can Be Cancerous or Benign

Sometimes lumps or cysts occur around the mouth area. Cysts are usually harmless lumps of tissues, sometimes filled with clear fluid, while lumps can be benign or cancerous. Only a veterinarian can determine what lumps exactly are using a number of clinical tests.

Mites Cause Demodectic Mange

Though not contagious, demodectic mange can be as simple as a rash or as involved as making the entire face swollen and inflamed. It is caused by a mite that is always present; however, the dog’s natural immune system wards off any allergic reaction to the presence of this mite.

If the immune system has been compromised through stress, including multiple vaccinations or changes in the environment, then the immune system shuts down and the mite can cause an infection. A veterinarian would have to run tests (skin scraping) in order to determine if a mite was the cause of this allergic reaction.

Autoimmune Diseases in Dogs

Autoimmune and immune-mediated skin diseases are characterized by blebs (vesicles) or blisters that contain clear fluid. Large blebs are called bullae. Rubbing, scratching and biting tend to increase the progress of blebs, producing skin crusts, erosions and ulcers. These changes usually first appear on the nose, ears, face and muzzle.

Any skin irritation occurring around the mouth should be examined by a veterinarian to determine its severity and cause.