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Archive for the ‘How to Check a Dog’s Gums’

How to Check a Dog’s Gums – Checking a Dog’s Capillary Refill Time (CRT)

January 27, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Capillary Refill Time in Dogs, Dog Symptoms, General Dog Health, How to Check a Dog's Capillary Refill Time, How to Check a Dog's Gums

Wondering how to tell if a dog is sick? Check the dog's capillary refill time. Pet owners can do this while checking dog's gum color. (Philip MacKenzie Photo)

Wondering, “Is my dog sick?” Checking the dog’s capillary refill time (CRT) is one way to tell if a dog is sick. Pet owners can check a pet’s capillary refill time when checking the dog’s gum color.

Capillaries are tiny blood vessels situated near the skin’s surface. When you press on the skin, the capillaries momentarily empty; measuring a dog’s capillary refill time can be used to determine if a dog is sick.

A dog with a slow capillary refill time may have low blood pressure, a low heart rate and this can be indicative of a dog’s heart problem and illnesses/conditions affecting the dog’s circulatory system. Slow capillary refill time may also be observed in a dog who’s going into shock.



How to Check a Dog’s Capillary Refill Time

Here’s how to check capillary refill time on a dog’s gums:

  1. Press your finger onto the dog’s gums with a good amount of pressure for 5 seconds.
  2. Release your finger – the spot where you applied pressure should be significantly paler than the surrounding skin. If it’s not, then this indicates very pale gums and low blood pressure – this is a veterinary emergency and the dog will need to be transported to the veterinary clinic immediately.
  3. If the spot where you applied pressure is paler than the surrounding skin, this is a good sign. Repeat step 1.
  4. Release your finger after applying pressure for 5 seconds and immediately start counting (one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, and so on). Count until the the spot has returned to normal color; the same color as the surrounding skin.
  5. Normal capillary refill time in a dog or cat is 1.5 seconds. If it takes longer, this indicates a serious medical problem like shock. The longer it takes for the capillaries to refill (and the skin to returns to its normal color) the more serious the pet’s condition.

How to Check a Dog’s Gums, Photos of Pale Dog Gums and Photos of Healthy Dog Gums

Pet owners should also assess the check the dog’s gum color. To learn more, see The Sick Dog Blog’s related articles, including  how to check a dog’s gums, how to check a dog’s gums if he has black gums, and what it means if a dog’s gums are pale, brick red, blue, etc.

Dog owners may also want to check out The Sick Dog Blog’s article with photos of normal dog gums and photos of pale dog gums.

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How to Check a Dog’s Gums – Photos of Pale Gums and Photos of Healthy Dog Gums

January 26, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Symptoms, General Dog Health, How to Check a Dog's Gums, Pale Gums in a Dog

Chow Chows have a blue tongue and gums, so checking these dogs gums is not usually possible. Read on for photos of pale dog gums and photos of healthy dog gums. (Thomas Wang Photo)

When checking a dog’s gums, you need to know what to look for; many dog owners are left wondering “How pale is too pale?” and “What do a normal dog’s gums look like?” I’ve received a few emails on this topic, so here is some additional information on dog gum color and photos of healthy dog gums, along with photos of pale dog gums. These photos should give pet owners a better idea of the spectrum of dog gum colors.

Dog Gum Color – Photos of Normal Gums in a Dog

Normal gum color will vary among dogs. Some dogs have darker pink gums, more of a salmon pink in color. This is a photo of healthy dog gums in a dog with darker, salmon colored gums.

Other dogs and most cats have a  gum color that’s a lighter pink; a color that could be described as a bubblegum pink. This photo of a dog with healthy gums falls into the lighter end of the normal gum color spectrum.

Checking a Dog’s Gums – Pale Dog Gums

There is a distinction between pale dogs gums and white dog gums, the latter being indicative of a more serious illness. This is a photo of pale dog gums; this photo is representative of the darker end of the unhealthy dog gum color spectrum.

Notably, you must consider the dog’s normal gum color. If the dog in the above photo has darker, salmon colored gums when he’s healthy, he could be just as sick as a dog with white gums (if this second dog has bubblegum pink gums when he’s healthy.) A dog with a lighter gum color to begin with will exhibit white gums sooner in the illness process.

The bottom line is the same: a dog with pale gums or white gums is sick and a visit to the veterinary clinic is required as soon as possible.



How to Check a Dog’s Gums – Photo of White Dog Gums

Here is a photo of white dog gums. This is a more severe presentation of pale dog gums. If a dog’s gums look pale and white like the dog in the photo, this is an emergency and the pet owner should immediately bring the dog to a veterinary clinic.

A dog’s gums may not be this pale; they may just be paler than normal, which is why it’s important to check the dog’s gums when he’s healthy.

Tips for Checking a Dog’s Gums – How to Check Gums’ Capillary Refill Time

Pet owners must avoid checking a dog’s gums when he’s been resting or sleeping. Give the dog a few minutes to wake up and move around. Circulation slows during sleep or rest, so the gums will appear paler than normal.

In addition, dog owners may wish to check the dog gums’ capillary refill time. This can give you a better idea about the dog’s health.

Check out related articles on The Sick Dog Blog to learn more about how to check a dog’s gums, how to check a dog’s gums if he has black gums, and what it means if a dog’s gums are pale, brick red, blue, etc.

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