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Why Do Dogs Have Ridges (Serrated Lips) On Their Lips?

If you observe your dog’s face closely, you’ll see ridges on his lips. These ridges are also known as serrated lips.

You’ll probably wonder why your dog has ridges or serrated lips. Well, there are many answers to this question.

Due to lacking medical research, many theories explain ridges on a dog’s lips. Let’s check out the most famous ones that explain why dogs have serrated lips.

Regardless of the theory you hold most relevant, the ridges on your dog’s lips are 100% natural and nothing to worry about.

Key Takeaways

The exact reason dogs have ridges is unclear due to a lack of research. However, common theories like better grip theory, lip protection theory, better appetite theory, and teeth cleaning theory provide satisfying explanations.

All dog breeds have ridges, but their size and shape may vary.

natural and nothing to worry about.

Common Theories behind Serrated Lips (Ridges on Lips)

Better Grip Theory

The better grip theory is the most popular and widely believed theory behind serrated lips. The ridges on a dog’s lips work as tools to hold things in their mouth. They don’t have fully functional hands like humans.

The ridges on a dog’s lips help them hold objects of different sizes in their mouth and carry them with ease. Their sharp and strong teeth help them in this task. The ridges have grown in size as a part of the evolution. You’ll see bigger ridges on breeds that have a wild background.

The lip ridges also work as protective tools when a mother carries her pups in their mouth. However, many vets believe that dogs know how much pressure to apply on different things while holding them in their mouths.

Lip Protection Theory

The ridges protect the dog’s lips from his sharp and strong teeth. The teeth overlap when a dog bites or when their mouths are closed. The serrations or the ridges have a rubber feel that keeps the teeth away from the lips.

The teeth rest on the serration when a dog closes his mouth, protecting it from cuts on the internal side.

Better Appetite Theory

Many also believe that these ridges or serrations hold taste buds. However, this isn’t too famous because research has proved that dogs don’t have too many taste buds, and they make up for the lack of taste buds with their strong sense of smell.

People who believe this theory support the argument that dogs are picky about their food and love eating tasty things. They support this claim that ridges have taste buds that allow canines to enjoy their meals to the fullest.

this claim that ridges have taste buds that allow canines to enjoy their meals to the fullest.

Teeth Cleaning Theory

Some research has shown that serration or ridges on a dog’s lips help clean the teeth. Humans clean their teeth by brushing with a toothbrush; dogs clean their teeth by brushing against grass or similar plants.

Cooling Mechanism Theory

The lip serration and ridges help them stay cool. Dogs pant to stay cool by evaporating moisture from their mouth and nose. Many believe that ridges on lips increase the evaporation rate and help dogs stay cool.

Puppy Feeding Tool

Some vets are of the view that these ridges help pups during breastfeeding. The serration helps them grab their mother and suck milk. The serration allows the pups to hold onto their mothers without biting.

Can the Ridges on the Lips indicate something Harmful?

Serrated bumps are normal on a dog’s lips, but if you see swelling, infection, or rashes on lips or tongue, don’t ignore them. Take your dog to a vet as soon as possible and ensure that your dog gets treated timely.

Your dog may suffer from canine acne on his face. Canine acne looks like human pimples but is painless at the start. You can treat them with a cream or serum, but if left untreated, they can develop into an infection.

Cancerous Tumors and oral papillomas are other problems you should be concerned about if you see them on your dog’s face. These tumors appear as large lumps or small tumors on your dog’s tongue or mouth. If you notice anything developing on your dog’s face, take him immediately to a vet.

anything developing on your dog's face, take him immediately to a vet.

Do all Breeds have Ridges on Lips?

Yes. All breeds have ridges, but the size and shape of the serration on the lips vary from one breed to another depending on breed size, head size, mouth & lip size, and genetic predispositions.

Breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs have shorter snouts and pronounced lip ridges and serration due to small, punched-up faces. Breeds like Greyhounds and Collies have longer snouts and less prominent ridges.

Another interesting fact about ridges is that the number of ridges on a dog’s lips vary based on breed. Moreover, puppies have smaller ridges compared to adult dogs. The ridges grow in size as the dog grows.

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