Assessing the color of a sick dog’s gums can be daunting, especially if you have concerns about what each color means. While some colors are normal, others suggest life-threatening conditions. And, as a doting pet parent, you want to know the signs of illness in your pup so that you can provide them with treatment as soon as possible.
Sick dog gum colors vary depending on the condition of your dog. A dog with an underlying health problem may have blue, bright red, pale, white, or yellow gums. In contrast, a healthy dog should have pink gums or dark gums as set by their breed’s standard. Ready to find out more about your dog’s gum color? Read on with us!
What should I do about pale gums in dogs?
Any causes of pale gums in dogs could be potentially life threatening or require urgent treatment, so it’s vital that you contact a vet for advice.
Gum Problems in Dogs
Blue Gums: If inadequate amounts of oxygen are being circulated through your dogs blood supply, its gums may turn blue or purple. This gum color is referred to medically as cyanosis. Cyanosis can be caused by a variety of issues. Pneumonia, congestive heart failure, pulmonary thromboembolism, and other respiratory problems can cause this blue gum coloration if the condition is severe, because of a decrease in oxygenated blood. These conditions are all very serious.
Pale Pink or White Gums: If a lack of blood or hemoglobin is present in a dog, then the gums may be pale pink or even white. This is most often a sign of anemia or acute blood loss. Many underlying diseases can cause anemia, and trauma can result in severe, acute blood loss. Because the body doesnt have enough blood to circulate, the normal pink color fades. Conditions that cause anemia are very serious.
Bright Red Gums: If your dogs gums are very red or bright pink then it may mean they are overheated or has stomatitis or gingivitis. Dogs with heat stroke often present with bright red gums as they are panting in an attempt to cool their body temperature. Bright red gums are also a sign that there is inflammation in the gums or they are infected. Both of these periodontal problems can make the gums bleed more easily and can be painful.
Growths on Gums: Oral tumors are commonly found on the gums of dogs. Sometimes these growths are benign or go away on their own, and other times they are cancerous or contagious. Pappilomatosis is a viral disease that is easily spread from dog to dog and results in pink, fleshy warts on the gums, along with other areas on the body. These are typically not as concerning as other types of growths or tumors. Other tumors can be cancerous and cause serious health concerns in a dog in addition to causing problems eating and pain.
Bleeding Gums: Stomatitis, gingivitis and growths can often cause a dogs gums to be very sensitive and prone to bleeding. If your dog has bleeding gums, he should be checked out by a veterinarian to assess the underlying cause.
Assessing Hydration of Your Dog’s Gums
While youre looking at your dogs gums and touching them, also check their level of hydration. In a normally hydrated dog, the gums will be slick and wet. In other words, slimy is the norm. You should feel the moisture upon touching them.
What do unhealthy dogs gums look like?
A sick dog’s gum coloring could be blue, black, pale white, or bright red. Dog gums that aren’t pink can indicate problems ranging from gum disease to congestive heart failure.
What Colour do dogs gums go when dehydrated?
If you want to know what healthy dog gums look like, look no further than the seafood bar at your local grocery store. “Healthy gums should appear shrimp-colored pink,” says Dan Carmichael, DVM, DAVDC and board-certified veterinary dentist at the Animal Medical Center. “Unhealthy gums will appear red and inflamed.”
How should a healthy dogs gums look?
Colour – A dog’s gums should be pinkish-red, smooth and moist. If they are not, they could be going into shock or showing signs of dehydration. Deep red sticky gums are an indication of dehydration and in the heat can be an early sign of heat exhaustion.