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Healthy vs Unhealthy Gums in Dogs

Healthy vs Unhealthy Gums in Dogs

Healthy vs Unhealthy Gums in Dogs

Did you know that your dog's gum color can help you know about its health? Just like the doctor examines the color of your eye tissue when you go for a check-up is the same way you need to evaluate your dog's gum color.

The normal gum appearance should be moist, smooth, and shiny. And its color should be a light shade of pink depending on the breed of the dog. In this article, you will learn how to know your dog's health by examining the color of its gums.       

What Color Should A Healthy Dog's Gum Be?

Gum color in healthy dogs can either be pink or pigmented, depending on the breed. The gums of breeds that are not pigmented are easier to assess. Healthy gums in these dogs usually have a light shade of pink, also known as "bubblegum pink."

Pigmented breeds such as Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei have black pigmented gums when they are healthy. In dogs with both pigmented and unpigmented gums, you should check on the unpigmented sections to assess their health when healthy.

What Color Are A Sick Dog's Gums?

The color of a sick dog's gum varies depending on its natural pigmentation. Here are some of the characteristics of gums in unhealthy dogs:


When your dog has pale gums, it is a sign of a severe health condition requiring immediate medical attention. This is because pale gums indicate blood loss, which may turn out to be life-threatening.


Do your dog's gums have open and raw abrasions? Then it may be ulcers. Ulcers can form in your dog's gums due to infections, trauma, and chemical burns.


Inflamed gums are a sign that your dog has periodontal disease or another underlying infection. Red and swollen gums may also indicate chemical burns and trauma in your dog.


Bleeding can either be local or systemic. Local bleeding may be caused by something the dog ingested, such as chemical burns or trauma to the mouth. Systemic bleeding, on the other hand, is caused by an underlying infection within the body. It can be as a result of toxins from a different part of the body.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Gums in Dogs

What Causes Pale Gums In Dogs? 

Pale gums are the most common sign of infections in dogs. Here are some causes of pale gums in dogs:

Blood loss

Blood loss can be due to many conditions within the body and should be addressed as soon as possible. Your dog can lose blood due to parasite infestations by fleas and ticks. It may also be due to internal bleeding from parasites such as hookworms and coccidia. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you sense blood loss as the cause of pale gums.


Anemia refers to a reduction in the level of red blood cells in the blood. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to every part of the body. If anemia becomes severe, it can lead to life-threatening oxygen deprivation. 


Shock is a condition where there is a drop in blood flow in the body. It is caused by severe allergic reactions which narrow the size of blood vessels. Shock can also be due to heavy bleeding and dehydration. Even heart failure can sometimes cause shock, but this condition would be easy to notice as a pet parent.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Gums in Dogs

How To Check For Unhealthy Dog Gums

Use these steps to assess the health of your dog's gums:

  1. Lift the upper lip of your dog's mouth and observe the gums' color just above the upper canine teeth.
  2. Go ahead and press the gum to see how long it takes to return to its standard color after releasing your finger. Ideally, it should take 2 seconds.
  3. If you cannot assess the gums, you can alternatively observe the color of the eye tissue by gently pulling down the eyelid.

Contact the vet immediately if you notice any abnormal changes.  

How To Prevent Pale Gums In Dogs

There are many causes of pale gums in dogs. It can be due to the ingestion of chemical irritants, internal bleeding, and parasitic infections among many others. The best way to prevent your dog from getting unhealthy gums is to make your dog's environment as safe as possible. This entails keeping toxic substances and any material that could cause harm away from your furry friend.

It would help if you also carried out routine checks on the gums. Daily monitoring is easiest when brushing your dog's teeth. Healthy gums should be smooth, moist, and shiny, with no excessive redness or discharge.


The color of your dog's gums can indicate its health status. A normal dog's gums are pink or pigmented. Some breeds, such as Chow and Chinese Shar-Pei, have black pigmented gums. Unhealthy gums are usually white or pale due to blood loss. They can also have ulcers and become inflamed. Ensure to monitor the appearance of your dog's gums every day. If you notice any abnormalities, then call the vet immediately for assistance. 

Author: Vincent Otieno

Author: Vincent Otieno
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