Why is my dog’s fur more pigmented around his mouth and on the paws?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – Why is my dogs fur darker around his mouth and on the paws? It seems as though the hair has more pigment in those areas. My dog is a mixed breed that probably has some yellow Labrador retriever in her mix. She licks her paws a lot as well.

Sarah V. – Boston, MA


Hi Sarah– thanks for your email. You asked why your dog’s hair is more pigmented on the paws and around the muzzle area.

This is a common scenario. The cause is most likely from saliva. When the saliva mixes with the hair – the hair color will change. This is common around the mouth where dogs may drool or in areas where dogs groom or lick frequently. The paw area is a common place as many dogs will groom their paws (some of them excessively).

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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