A Guide to Caring for Dog Jowls

icon November 3, 2023

Dogs are known for their expressive faces, and one of the most prominent features on a dog's face is their jowls. Jowls are the loose, fleshy skin that hangs from the sides of a dog's mouth and plays a crucial role in their appearance and functionality. While jowls are a natural and charming part of a dog's anatomy, they can also be susceptible to various health problems. In this article, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about dog jowls, including their function, how to look after them, and possible disorders associated with your dog’s jowls.

What Are Dog Jowls?

Dog jowls, also known as "cheeks" or "flews," are the loose folds of skin that hang down on either side of a dog's mouth. They vary in size and shape among different dog breeds, with some breeds having more prominent and pendulous jowls than others. The texture and color of jowls can also vary, depending on the breed and individual dog.

The primary components of a dog's jowls include skin, subcutaneous fat, and muscle tissue. These elements combine to create the characteristic wrinkles and folds that are a hallmark of many dog breeds. While jowls may appear as a purely aesthetic feature, they serve several important functions.


What is the Function of a Dog's Jowl?


Dog jowls act as a natural barrier to protect the mouth and teeth. When a dog bites or chews on objects, these loose folds of skin help prevent injuries to the sensitive oral tissues. Additionally, they can provide some protection from extreme temperatures and environmental hazards.

Moisture Management

Jowls help control the flow of saliva in a dog's mouth. Dogs produce saliva for various reasons, including digestion and cooling down when they pant. The extra skin in the jowl area helps contain and manage the saliva, preventing excessive drooling.


Jowls play a role in a dog's communication with humans and other dogs. They can help convey emotions and intentions. For example, a dog may raise or lower its jowls to express friendliness, aggression, or submission.

Scent Trapping

Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, and their jowls can trap and hold scent particles. This feature aids them in tracking scents while hunting or during search and rescue operations.

Dog Breeds with Droopy Jowls

Here are some dog breeds known for their droopy jowls:

  • Bloodhound: Bloodhounds are famous for their extremely droopy and wrinkled skin, especially around their jowls. Their loose skin helps trap scents, making them excellent scent-tracking dogs.
  • Basset Hound: Basset Hounds have long ears and droopy jowls that give them a distinctive appearance. They were originally bred for hunting small game, and their droopy skin helps capture scents close to the ground.
  • English Bulldog: English Bulldogs have loose, wrinkled skin on their faces, including their jowls. Their wrinkled appearance is a defining characteristic of the breed.
  • Neapolitan Mastiff: Neapolitan Mastiffs have a lot of loose skin all over their bodies, including their jowls. This breed is known for its powerful and imposing appearance.
  • Shar-Pei: Shar-Peis have a unique, wrinkled appearance, including wrinkled skin around their jowls. Their name even means "sand skin" in Chinese, referring to their distinctive skin folds.
  • Clumber Spaniel: Clumber Spaniels have droopy jowls and a heavy, wrinkled brow. They are a relatively large and heavyset breed of spaniel.
  • Dogue de Bordeaux: Also known as the French Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux has loose, wrinkled skin, including droopy jowls. They are a powerful and muscular breed.
  • Saint Bernard: Saint Bernards are a giant breed with loose skin around their jowls and a kind, gentle expression.
  • Coonhound: Various coonhound breeds, like the Redbone Coonhound and Black and Tan Coonhound, may have droopy jowls. These dogs are often used for tracking game, and their loose skin can help in scent detection.
  • Beagle: While Beagles have droopy ears more than droopy jowls, their loose facial skin can give them an endearing expression.

Dog Jowls

Common Jowl-related Health Issues

1. Infections

One of the most common health problems that can affect a dog's jowls is infections. The moist environment created by the folds of skin in the jowl area can make it a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Infections can manifest as redness, swelling, itching, and a foul odor.

Dog Jowls

If you notice any of these signs, it's crucial to consult your veterinarian promptly.

They can prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications to treat the infection and recommend proper hygiene practices to prevent recurrence.

Topical Medications

Topical medications are applied directly to the affected area of the dog's jowls. These medications are typically used for localized treatment of skin infections or irritations. In the case of jowl infections, topical medications may include:

  • Antibiotic ointments or creams: These are applied directly to the affected area to target and eliminate bacteria causing the infection.
  • Antifungal spray for dogs: If the infection is fungal in nature (such as a yeast infection), antifungal sprays can be used topically to combat the fungi.
  • Medicated shampoos or cleansers: These can be used to clean the affected area, remove debris, and help in the healing process. Some medicated shampoos may contain antibacterial or antifungal agents.
  • Topical corticosteroids: In some cases, if there is significant inflammation or itching associated with the infection, topical corticosteroids may be prescribed to provide relief from these symptoms.

Internal Medications:

Internal medications are taken orally and are designed to address the infection from within the dog's body. These medications may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungal medications
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

2. Dental Issues

The jowls of a dog play a role in protecting their teeth and gums. However, poor dental hygiene can lead to various oral health problems that can affect the jowls indirectly. Tartar buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay can cause discomfort and inflammation in the mouth, which can, in turn, affect the jowls. Regular dental care, including brushing your dog's teeth and providing dental chews or dental powder for dogs, can help prevent these issues and keep your dog's jowls healthy.

  • Toothbrush Bone for Pets
    Dogs can chew these bones to clean teeth in a mechanical way. The product contains the Chrysanthemum indicum extract, which works as a bacteriostatic factor, which is helpful in inhibiting bacteria and freshening breath. Lactobacillus acidophilus is included, which is helpful for the growth and health of tooth and bone. It‘s rich in fish oil, which improves the softness and luster of the fur and keeps the intestinal tract in a good state.
Teeth Cleaning Powder, 30g
  • Helpful for reducing dental plaque and preventing tartar
  • Helpful for reducing oral bacteria, removing dental plaque and getting rid of yellow teeth
  • Cleans teeth and removes odor

3. Allergies

Some dogs are prone to allergies, which can manifest in various ways, including skin issues around the jowls. Allergic reactions can cause itching, redness, and swelling, leading to discomfort for your furry friend. Common allergens for dogs include certain foods, pollen, dust mites, and insect bites. If you suspect your dog has allergies, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options. Once the allergen is identified, treatment options can vary. For food allergies, switching to a hypoallergenic diet may be recommended. For environmental allergies, allergy shots (immunotherapy), antihistamines, or corticosteroids may help alleviate symptoms. Flea allergies can be managed by preventing flea infestations and using flea control products.

Antihistamines for Dogs:

Flea and Tick Control Products for Dogs:

  • Fipronil
  • Imidacloprid
  • Selamectin
  • Spinosad

4. Lip Fold Pyoderma

Lip fold pyoderma is a condition that specifically affects the folds of skin around a dog's mouth, including the jowls. It is characterized by the presence of pustules, redness, and a foul odor in the affected area. This condition is more common in breeds with deep facial folds, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shar-Peis. Treatment typically involves cleaning the affected area, prescribing antibiotics, and addressing any underlying causes like allergies or dental problems.

How to Clean Dog Jowls?

Cleaning your dog's jowls is important for their hygiene and health, as well as to prevent odors and potential skin issues. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean your dog's jowls:

Wet the washcloth: Dampen the washcloth with lukewarm water. Make sure it's not too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can be uncomfortable for your dog.

Gently wipe the jowls: Carefully lift your dog's jowls to access the skin folds beneath. Using the damp washcloth or pet wipes, gently wipe the inside of your dog's jowls, paying close attention to the skin folds and creases. Be gentle and avoid scrubbing too hard, as you don't want to irritate the skin.

Use shampoo (if necessary): If your dog's jowls are particularly dirty or have a foul odor, you can apply a small amount of dog-friendly, mild shampoo to the washcloth. Dilute the shampoo with water to make a gentle solution. Gently rub the shampooed washcloth on the jowls, being careful not to get any soap in your dog's eyes, nose, or mouth.


Puainta® Sensitive Skin Shampoo for Dogs, 250ml

  • A fragrant and all-natural shower gel aiming at allergies and itching. It can quickly soothe skin, restore the shine of hair, presenting soft, shiny and supple hair.
  • It can remove odor and retain fragrance for a long time.

Rinse and wipe: After cleaning with the shampoo, use a separate damp washcloth or a clean area of the original washcloth to wipe away any soap residue. Make sure you thoroughly remove any soap, as it can be irritating to your dog's skin.

Dry the jowls: Use a clean towel to pat the jowls dry. Ensure they are completely dry to prevent moisture-related skin issues.

Regular maintenance: Depending on your dog's breed and habits, you may need to clean their jowls regularly, such as once a week or as needed.

Clean Dog Jowls

What Does It Mean When My Dog Jowls Are Red and Dry?

Red and dry jowls in a dog can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, dermatitis, sunburn, dry skin, irritants, and trauma or injury. To determine the cause of your dog's red and dry jowls, it's advisable to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination, conduct any necessary tests, and provide appropriate treatment or recommendations based on the underlying issue. For mild symptoms, you can try cleaning your dog's jowls and applying an ointment or spray.

Pipot Skin Spray
  • Pipot Skin Spray - Indicated for ringworm in dogs and cats, dermatitis, eczema, hair loss, skin redness, mite infection
  • Zinc Oxide Ointment- Helps treat dermatitis and eczema, relieves itch and redness, and reduces hair loss and ulcers, etc.

Why Does My Dog Have Crusty Jowls?

Crusty jowls in dogs can be caused by various factors, but a common reason is excess moisture or food residue accumulating in the folds of their skin. This can lead to irritation, infection, or the development of crusty skin. Regular cleaning and proper hygiene can help prevent this issue. If the problem persists or worsens, it's advisable to consult with a veterinarian for a more detailed evaluation and treatment options.

The Preventing Health Problems Method of Dog Jowl

  • Remove excess hair: Trimming or removing excess hair around the jowls and lips is a good practice as it reduces the chance of moisture and debris getting trapped in the folds, which can lead to skin irritation and odor.
  • Sprinkle probiotic supplements: Probiotic powder supplements can promote both oral and immune health in dogs. They may help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth and contribute to overall well-being.
  • Brush your dog's teeth: Regular tooth brushing is crucial for preventing dental issues and minimizing bacteria in the mouth. Using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste is recommended, and you should establish a routine that your dog is comfortable with.
  • Use antifungal pet wipes: These wipes can be handy for cleaning the jowl folds and keeping them free from bacteria or fungal infections, especially after meals. It's important to be gentle when cleaning and to use products specifically designed for pets.
  • Apply antifungal dog lip balm: An antifungal lip balm can help maintain the health of your dog's lips and jowls. Applying it every few days or as needed can provide a protective barrier and prevent issues like dryness or fungal growth.


A dog's jowls are not just a charming part of their appearance but also serve important functions. Keeping your dog's jowls healthy requires vigilance, regular grooming, and attention to their overall well-being. By staying proactive and addressing any health issues promptly, you can help ensure that your furry friend's jowls remain a source of charm and not a cause for concern. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian are crucial for maintaining your dog's oral and facial health.


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