The Sick Dog Blog

Is My Dog Sick?

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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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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