Treating Dog Lip Infections

Because canines are so naturally curious, dog lip abrasions and infections are common. Most owners can adequately treat a minor dog infection at home so long as it is caught in the early stages and all necessary precautions are taken. Major lip infections demonstrated through painful blistering or frequent bleeding can indicate a greater underlying cause like dog oral cancer which weakens the immune system and clears the way for frequent illness and infection. This article will help you explore your treatment options for minor dog lip infections.

How Dog Lip Infections Happen

A lip infection rarely occurs without some original source of irritation. Lip infections are especially common in dogs with overhanging upper lips and exaggerated lower lip folds (as demonstrated by breeds like the English and French Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels and Saint Bernards). The lip folds frequently trap debris which, when not removed, can fester and infect even small abrasions in the lips and gums. Even tighter-lipped dogs are susceptible to lip infections under the right conditions. Any lip abrasion that goes untreated or is not kept clean is subject to infection.

How to Recognize Dog Lip Infections

Oral dog infections manifest themselves in different ways depending on their location and severity. Infections of the outer lip may initially appear raised or even blistered with clear secretions. Infections of the inner lip are generally accompanied by obvious abrasions, inflammation, and discoloration. Infections occurring inside lip folds will be accompanied by thicker discharge and crusty skin. Foul breath and/or excessive salivation may also indicate an infection.

Treating a Dog Lip Infection

Should your dog display any of the above symptoms, the first step is to clean the affected area immediately. This is best done with a mild peroxide solution applied through the use of a cotton swab or Q-tip. If the infection is on an outer lip or lip fold, you may want to shave away any hair or whiskers to avoid further irritation and to make the area more accessible for cleaning.

Cleaning should be repeated several times a day and especially after meals. Infections in the lip folds should also be treated with a soothing topical cream, and dogs with any form of lip infection should be started on a course of antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria. If cleaning and antibiotics do not resolve the infection within a week, or if your dog is prone to recurring lip infections, then this may be symptomatic of a more serious condition. Some canines with unusually deep lip folds may need corrective surgery.

Dog lip infections are normally not serious and can be easily treated by keeping the area clean. If the injury does not clear up quickly or begins to appear more serious, you should take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.