What's That Bump on the Roof of My Dog's Mouth?

Updated on May 20, 2020
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and author of the online dog training course "Brain Training for Dogs."

Dog has a bump on the roof of the mouth
Dog has a bump on the roof of the mouth

What to Do About the Bump on the Roof of Your Dog's Mouth!

What to do when your dog has a bump on the roof of its mouth? Did you happen to notice a bump on the roof of your dog's mouth? If so, you may already be in panic mode, wondering if it's cancer or some other terrible malady.

You likely have never noticed this bump before, until your dog was lying with his head on your lap, belly-up and did a big, wide-open yawn.

Therefore, you may rush to your vet, wondering what it is and feel nervous about it perhaps because you've heard how lumps and bumps in a dog's mouth can turn out to have a bad prognosis in some cases.

What Happens at the Vet's Office?

So finally, you're at your vet's office with your heart pounding as your vet examines your dog's mouth. Your dog may not be too collaborative in having the roof of his mouth checked, but your vet manages to take a quick peek up there.

You wait in anticipation, dreading a worrisome answer suggesting it's nothing good or that more testing may be required to determine exactly what you're dealing with.

Instead, your vet tells you that there's no need to do any testing. Alarmed, you think of the worst case scenario: "What do you mean there's no need to do anything? Is it that bad already? How did it get out of handy so quickly if I just noticed it today? Please tell me I won't lose my baby to some terrible cancer that will make him suffer so much!"

Instead, your vet smiles and tells you that the bump is perfectly normal, that's why there's no need to do anything. At this point, you can completely trust your vet and go on living your life as if nothing ever happened, or if you are a suspicious fellow, you may be wondering if you may perhaps need a second opinion just to make sure.

Or, you may opt for the third option, which is to simply ask your vet more questions to find out how it can be possible that the growth is perfectly normal and doesn't warrant any testing or monitoring, but hopefully your vet beat you to this and gave you a clearer explanation.

Introducing the Incisive Papilla


When Is a Bump on the Roof of a Dog's Mouth Normal?

If the bump is on the roof of your dog's mouth, right in the middle and just behind the top two middle teeth and is sort of diamond-shaped, you are truly likely dealing with something perfectly normal.

Introducing the Incisive Papilla

"That bump is called the incisive papilla, and it's one of the top reasons why pet owners make a panic vet appointment dreading the worse, explains veterinarian Dr. Truli on his website VirtuaVet. The incisive papilla derives from the term "incisive" referring to the incisor teeth and "papilla" meaning bump.

This bump, as many other body parts, has a precise function. In the middle of it, there's a hole that leads to a duct that communicates with the dog's Jacobson organ (also known as vomeronasal organ).

The Jacobson organ connects to the dog's amygdala, an important part of the brain that plays a big role in emotional reactions. So when you put all these puzzle pieces together you can get a clear picture of how the incisive papilla allows dogs to emotionally respond to molecules such as pheromones which travel up the incisive duct.

Interestingly, when dogs smell something that intrigues them and such dogs chatter their teeth, they are basically sending large scent molecules towards their incisive papilla (with some help from the tongue).

Then, once those scent molecules reach your dog's brain area responsible for interpreting smells, your dog may be making some decision making based on his findings. Perhaps he'll just urine mark on top of the sniffed area or leave.

Signs of Trouble

Normally, a dog's incisive papilla doesn't give any problems. However, according to the Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists LLC in some cases, it may swell as in the case of a malocclusion where the lower teeth puncture the roof of the mouth.

If your dog's incisive papilla appears large, see your vet, consider your dog's breed though; according to veterinarian Dr. Marie, for some reason, the incisive papilla appears to be larger in golden retrievers.

Did you know? Humans also have an incisive papilla, but in humans it has a different function. According to Joel S. Teig, it's purpose is to provide internal padding so to protect the nerve exiting the palatal bone which is found right behind the two upper front teeth.

The Bottom Line

As seen, the incisive papilla is normal and a part of your dog's anatomy. It plays an important role in your dog's ability to assess molecules and react accordingly. If the area appears swollen though, you notice an abnormality or the bump on the roof of your dog's bump appears to be in a different location of where the incisive papilla is supposed to be, consult with your vet.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • Is it a sign of a big problem that our vet has found a pinhole opening from the hard palate, near the bump that you are talking about?

    I wonder whether your vet has found the beginning of what's called an oronasal fistula. An oronasal fistula is an opening that creates a passage from the mouth and the respiratory tract.

    It can present in the area you describe as a result of a malocculsion (incorrect bite) causing a canine tooth to puncture the roof of the mouth.

    These can be problematic because food and fluids may leak into the dog's respiratory causing inflammation or infections.

  • Is the top palate in a dog's mouth supposed to be hard or soft?

    A dog's upper palate is supposed to be made of ridges and they should feel hard. For a good reason, it is known as "hard palate." However, the back portion of the palate is relatively soft, hence why it's known as "soft palate."

© 2015 Adrienne Farricelli


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Zeena valenzuela 

      14 months ago

      My dog has a pea size bump on the outside of his mouth. Firm and doesnt seem onfected

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      Thank you! I did panic. Decided to give it a week as our Bloodhound incessantly chews on various sized rocks from our yard. Checked today and the bump was still there. I am at ease now reading your article. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Although I will keep an eye on it for changes I feel a whole lot better.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)