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Archive for the ‘General Dog Health’

What Does it Mean if My Dog’s Gums Are Pale?

February 26, 2009 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Illnesses and Diseases, Dog Symptoms, General Dog Health

Check a dog's gums to determine if your pet has symptoms of illness. (Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo Photo)

This article will answer questions like, “Why are my dog’s gums pale?” ”What does it mean if a dog’s gums are discolored or pale?” ”Why does my dog have dark patches on his lips and tongue?” and “Why are my dog’s gums dry and sticky?”

For the dog owner who is wondering, “Is my dog sick?” it’s best to start by checking the dog’s gums.

When you check a dog’s gums, you’ll want to check the gum color and appearance/feel of the dog’s gums. Here’s a guide to what it means if a dog’s gums are pale or discolored.

A dog with abnormal gums may be suffering from one of many health problems.

What Does it Mean if My Dog’s Gums Are Pale?

Pale gums can indicate two basic problems. Pale gums in a dog can occur due to a lack of red blood cells from anemia. Anemia can occur in dogs as a  symptom of a larger problem.

A dog with low blood pressure will also have pale gums. A dog may have low blood pressure from internal bleeding, cardiac problems, and a wide array of illnesses and diseases.

What Does it Mean if My Dog’s Gums are Brick Red?

Brick red gums in a dog suggests an abundance of red blood cells and increased circulation. A dog with brick red gums is often suffering from heat stroke or another condition that causes the dog’s blood to circulate near the surface of the skin.

What Does it Mean if My Dog’s Gums are Blue or Grey?

A dog with greyish or blue gums is suffering from a lack of oxygen in the blood, a condition called cyanosis.  This means the dog is not getting enough oxygen into his blood stream. This improper oxygenation of the dog’s blood is called hypoxia.

A cyanotic dog may be suffering from a lung disease or condition that creates hypoxia. A dog who is choking or who has an object obstructing his airway will  become cyanotic, with blue gums. A dog suffering from a lung infection can become hypoxic, because fluid in the lungs will prevent the lungs from transferring oxygen into the dog’s blood stream.


Why Are My Dog’s Gums Yellow?

Yellow gums in a dog indicate jaundice, a condition that occurs when an excess of bilirubin accumulates in the dog’s blood. The whites of the dog’s eyes also turn yellow in a dog with jaundice. Jaundice in dogs is most often the result of liver failure or a bile duct blockage.

Why Are My Dog’s Gums Dry and Sticky?

A dog’s gums should normally be slick and wet to the touch. If the dog’s gums are dry and sticky, this indicates dehydration. A dog with dehydration is suffering from a lack of fluids in the body.

For more information on dehydration in dogs, read Causes and Cures for Dehydration in Dogs.

To learn more about how to check a dog’s gums, read The Sick Dog Blog’s article How Do I Check My Dog’s Gums?


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Is My Dog Sick?

February 17, 2009 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Illnesses and Diseases, Dog Symptoms, General Dog Health, Veterinarians and Veterinary Clinics

Lethargy and sleeping are symptom of illness in a dog. Learn how to tell if a dog is sick.

This article will answer questions like, “Is my dog sick?” “How do I check my dog’s gums?” “How can I tell if my dog is sick?” “What’s a dog’s normal temperature?” and “Why is my dog shivering?”

Checking if a dog’s nose is wet or cold will not tell you if your dog is sick. This is actually an old wives tale!

Instead, dog owners should perform a quick, basic physical examination to look for symptoms of a sick dog.

How to Check a Dog’s Vital Signs

Start by checking the dog’s gum color by lifting up the dog’s lips. Normal gum color in dogs ranges from a bubblegum pink to a darker salmon color. Abnormal gums in a dog will appear brick red, pale white, yellow or blue/grey.


Next, take the dog’s temperature rectally. A normal temperature in a dog is between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Abnormal gum color and abnormal body temperature are symptoms of a sick dog.

A sick dog may also show other symptoms of illness, including shivering and trembling, lethargy and excessive sleeping, and refusal to eat and drink.

Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?

If a dog has abnormal gum color and the dog has a fever or abnormal body temperature, combined with other symptoms like a dog who is not eating, it’s time to visit the veterinary clinic!

For more on how to tell if a dog is sick, check out Is My Dog Sick? along with Why is My Pet Shivering and Why Isn’t My Dog Eating?


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