We might give our dogs’ teeth a lot of thought considering how crucial they are to their well-being. The gums are not merely for aesthetic purposes; rather, they provide a special window into the health and condition of a dog at any particular time and may even be a more significant predictor of disease than the teeth themselves. Using our dog gum color chart, you can make sure everything is looking good.
Some dogs’ gums may be naturally mottled, but this is nothing to be concerned about. But, if your dog’s gum color has changed, this may indicate a more serious condition.
This color chart can give you an idea of what might have caused a shift in your dog’s gums, but keep in mind that only a medical examination can identify the true cause of the gum color, and your dog might require immediate care.
Before you scroll down this guide, “Dog Gum Color Chart,” check out: Guide to Dog Periodontal Disease Stages [Dog Gum Disease] and Black Spot on Dog Tooth (Dog Cavity). What Should I Do?.
Why the Color of a Dog’s Gums Matters
Owners frequently ignore the color of their dog’s gum. Let’s fix that now because a dog’s gum color is a crucial indicator of its general health.
Dog gum color not only reveals various levels of hydration but also whether or not a dog is afflicted by a particular illness. Yep, if you’re a worried owner, you can determine if your dog is ill by the color of its gums!
But, in that situation, a sick dog should be checked for further symptoms in addition to just the gum color. We just want to stress that the color of your dog’s gums can tell you a lot about how healthy they are before we get started.
What Shade Is a Healthy Dog’s Gums?
A pale or bubble gum pink color is ideal.
We should first discuss healthy dog gum colors before learning further about unhealthy dog gum colors. The color of a dog’s gums, which typically ranges from pale pink to bubble gum pink, can be used to determine its health. There’s a problem if the dog gum is any other specific shade.
Normal dog gums can change color based on hydration level, but they should typically remain pale pink. Do not be worried by the fact that some dog breeds have colored gums.
This means that healthy dogs’ gums are various shades of black, blue, brown, and purple. It’s only something that applies to certain breeds, like Chow Chows, who have distinctively blue tongues (their gums are also pigmented).
What Color Are the Gums on a Sick Dog?
Let’s go serious and discuss the gums of the sick dog. You should probably make a vet visit if you find that your dog’s gums aren’t pale pink. Observe your dog’s gums for any of the following hues:
The gums of a sick dog should change color, and if you see this, you should move quickly to get your dog looked at by a veterinarian.
What Do Dogs With Unhealthy Gums Look Like?
Let’s get right to the signs of unhealthy dog gums so you can decide when to take your dog to the vet.
We’ve created a wide range of potential dog gum colors that denote various health issues. To determine whether your dog is ill or not, make sure to examine them all.
1. White Gums
There are a number of causes for white gums in dogs, and not all of them are serious. But if your dog suddenly develops white gums, call your veterinarian right away.
White dog gums might not seem as hazardous as red dog gums. Yet, dogs with white gums almost always need to see a veterinarian. Here are some potential causes of your dog’s white gums:
We could be dealing with a tooth abscess if the darkening just touches a tiny patch rather than the full surface of the dog’s gums. There is a good risk that an abscess (accumulation of pus) will form if your dog’s tooth gets infected.
To relieve the pressure of the infection on the dog tooth’s root, a structure known as a draining fistula typically forms along the gum line. A white or yellow cyst may develop close to the dog’s gums or gum line as a result.
White and painful dog gums, particularly white lesions, will feel delicate and uncomfortable. White gums in your dog’s mouth are probably the result of a yeast infection, so you shouldn’t wait for them to get worse if you notice them.
Surgery, and various bleeding disorders, whether internal or superficial, are the most common causes of blood loss and anemia in dogs. Moreover, a number of other reasons, such as trauma and serious flea and tick infestations, can cause blood loss.
If your dog is bleeding, call your vet immediately since it could be life-threatening and ought to always be treated as an emergency.
Anemia is one condition that could cause your dog’s gums to seem lighter. What happens when a dog has anemia? Because of the lack of oxygen, the number of red blood cells that carry oxygen all over the body is reduced, and your dog can have bleeding issues (including extreme cases like canine babesiosis).
Gums that are light pink or white are the most obvious and usual clinical symptoms of anemia. Weakness, sluggishness, poor appetite, and shortness of breath are some further signs of anemia.
Low levels of oxygen in the body, which are related to insufficient blood flow, are what induce shock in dogs. So, when there is an inadequate blood supply and blood flow, the body’s cells and organs lack the necessary oxygen and nutrients to work correctly.
In other words, shock is a potentially fatal condition brought on by an abrupt reduction in blood flow to the dog. Shock can result from a number of causes, although it is most frequently linked to trauma, including car accidents. Get quick veterinarian care since shock can be lethal if neglected.
Dog kidney illness may be brought on by bacterial infections, hazardous food consumption, chemical toxicity, and other factors. Dog kidney illness can be brought on by a variety of circumstances, but it can also run in the family.
A dog’s bloodstream can become infected with periodontal disease bacteria, particularly if the gums are swollen and act as an “access point.” These bacteria can also affect the heart and liver in addition to the kidneys. The main cause of renal disease in dogs is progressive dental disease.
The kidney performs a variety of tasks, one of which is producing the hormone erythropoietin. A particularly intriguing effect of this hormone is that it instructs the bone marrow to make more red blood cells.
Do you know what happens if a dog’s kidneys stop functioning properly? Your dog’s body won’t be able to generate erythropoietin properly, which will result in an abnormally low red blood cell count.
That said, pale gums are one of many potential indicators of canine kidney disease (caused by anemia).
2. Yellow Gums
In addition to gingivitis, dogs with yellow gums may also have other life-threatening illnesses. Jaundice is the first condition that comes to mind when the phrase “yellow gums in dogs” is used (icterus). It depends on the type of yellow gum being discussed, though.
Jaundice in dogs is most likely the cause if the yellow is extremely vivid or even turns orange. But if the yellow is faint, it may indicate gingivitis, which is a less dangerous condition than jaundice.
Your dog’s gums may have a faint yellow tint or film, which is a sign of canine gingivitis. Because irritated and swollen gums are frequently a symptom of gingivitis, you can expect that the yellow will change to a cherry red color.
It is possible to treat this widespread ailment by taking your dog to the vet, who may perform a dental cleaning and assist in maintaining your dog’s oral health. In contrast, a yellow sore might be a sign of a viral infection, ulceration, or periodontal disease.
A vibrant to deep yellow coloration of the dog’s gums, genital region, and nostrils are telltale signs of jaundice in dogs. Jaundice is caused by excessive amounts of bilirubin, a normal bile pigment. Hemoglobin, which can be found in red blood cells, breaks down to produce this color.
Dogs’ jaundice may be brought on by a blood clotting disorder, liver dysfunction, or liver blockage. Before trying to treat your dog’s jaundice symptoms at home, you must identify the cause of their disease. Your dog’s best bet at this time is a trip to the vet, where they can examine his gums and determine what’s wrong.
3. Red Gums
In dogs, red gums are a major warning sign. In the dog world, it’s considered unacceptable to have cherry red gums. Remember to give your veterinarian a call if you see red gums. If your dog’s gums are red, you should presume that it has one of the following medical conditions:
The main factor causing gum disease in dogs is tartar buildup on their teeth. If you don’t regularly brush and clean in between your dog’s teeth, tartar will build up there and hurt its gums.
As tartar buildup becomes a full-blown infection, your dog may not want to eat anything at all. Tartar accumulation causes bad breath in dogs. As the gums begin to bleed, it becomes extremely painful.
The most common cause of tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth is wet dog food. This is due to the fact that dry dog food actually cleans your dog’s teeth by scraping away accumulated tartar, whereas wet dog food simply glides through your dog’s mouth.
Dogs with red gums typically have an infection or inflammation. They are likely to be delicate, possibly even bleeding at the slightest contact. Periodontal disease in dogs is another name for gum disease, which makes a big mess in your dog’s mouth.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
It’s likely your dog will have a life-threatening condition if it inhales the lethal chemical carbon monoxide. Dog carbon monoxide poisoning is a very serious and urgent health issue that requires prompt veterinary attention.
Your dog could die from this highly dangerous gas. Common household heating and cooking appliances may leak carbon monoxide if they are installed incorrectly, damaged, or not maintained in good condition.
High blood pressure, heat stroke, difficulty breathing, and lethargy are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in dogs.
4. Blue Gums
If your dog has blue gums, you should get them checked out immediately. They almost invariably involve a problem. What’s with the “almost”? Well, it’s a natural characteristic of certain dogs to have dark pigmentation in their gums.
There are several areas of the dog’s gums where this color develops naturally. Blue gums in this situation are fully pale blue to purple, which is not healthy.
Blue gums in dogs could be an indication of internal bleeding, although cyanosis is more likely to be the culprit. Cyanosis refers to the blue color of the gums that results from an oxygen deficit.
This is an obvious sign of gum disease and other possible medical problems. Canine cyanosis is an illness that causes blue mucous membranes and epidermis in dogs.
It happens when the body’s red blood cells fail to carry adequate oxygen there. The problem may commonly be caused by underlying cardiac, pulmonary, or canine bloat disease.
Blue patches on the gums could be a sign of circulatory issues. Many medications can also change the color of the gums. A similar effect can be expected from metal salt toxicity.
5. Black Gums
Similar to various skin tones, black gums are a healthy and harmless result of inherited differences in pigmentation. Even the color of a dog’s tongue can vary! Although dark-colored gums could mask one indication of heart or lung disease, there are several other signs to help identify if your pet is sick.
If your dog’s gums aren’t naturally black, having black gums can be problematic. They could be a sign of malignancies and growths on the bone or in the gum tissue.
What Color Does a Dehydrated Dog’s Gums Look Like?
Dogs’ gums are pink when they are dehydrated, but they are a very light shade of pink. Dogs who are dehydrated have gums that are sticky to the touch and lack the usual sheen. Gums that are deep red and sticky are signs of dehydration, and in extreme heat, they can potentially be a sign of heat stroke.
You should keep an eye out for additional symptoms of dehydration in your dog. Along with a change in gum color, your dog’s dehydration will manifest as lethargy, a lack of skin elasticity, a brittle, dry coat, a dry nose, and bulging eyes. Dogs who are dehydrated are more likely to pant, particularly in vehicles.
What Do the Gums of a Dying Dog Look Like?
White and pale gums might indicate anemia and blood loss, but they can also mean that your dog is about to pass away. If your dog is dying from a condition, his or her gums may turn blue, purple, or yellow. The dying dog, however, has pale gums that eventually turn white and gray.
What Color Are Dog Gums After Chewing on Something?
It all depends on what the dog has been gnawing on. Dogs’ gums typically have a vivid pink color due to increased blood flow there when they chew. But if your dog starts to have red gums from chewing on something, it’s important to remove that item from its mouth.
Dogs who chew on various objects may have injuries that result in gum inflammation and bleeding. For instance, biting down on a simple branch can cause your dog’s mouth to bleed. If this minor wound becomes infected, it may become more serious and develop into gingivitis, stomatitis, or periodontal disease.
To protect its teeth and gums, ensure that your dog chews on something gentle.
What Shade Is a Dog’s Gum When It Is in Pain?
Usually, the color red denotes inflammation, which is pain. So, having red gums is a symptom that your dog is in discomfort since it hurts when it tries to chew.
Blue gums, which signify a deficiency in oxygen and may make breathing difficult for your dog, might also be an indication that he is in discomfort. Dogs’ blue gums can also be a tint of purple, which can be a sign of health problems.
Call your veterinarian to find out what it is if you discover a black lump in your dog’s gums.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gum colors such as black, blue, pale white, yellow, or deep red can be a cause for concern and potentially indicate that a dog is sick.
A dog suffering from canine parvovirus may have off-color gums that are either blue, gray, white, or pale pink.
Signs of dehydration in a dog include dry gums, lethargy, a dry nose, bulging eyes, and excessive panting.
Conclusion for “Dog Gum Color Chart”
As our guide shows, gum colors can vary due to a variety of medical conditions in dogs, but they can simply change when they are thirsty. The dog’s gum color is a highly useful tool for owners to keep track of their dog’s well-being.
Any change in the color of a dog’s gums indicates a potential health issue and should not be disregarded.
If you notice a change in your dog’s gum color, it’s best to play it safe and get your dog checked out by a professional. Checking your dog’s gum color is important because, as a responsible dog owner, it’s your first priority to keep your pet healthy.
If you find this guide, “Dog Gum Color Chart,” helpful, check out:
- What Do Puppy Teeth Look Like When They Fall Out? (With Pictures)! (2023)
- Whimzees vs Greenies: Which Dental Treat is Better? (2023)
- The 8 Best Dog Foods for Older Small Dogs with Few Teeth! (2023)
Learn more by watching “What the Color of Your Dog’s Gums Mean” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
Why Trust We Love Doodles?
At We Love Doodles, we’re a team of writers, veterinarians, and puppy trainers that love dogs. Our team of qualified experts researches and provides reliable information on a wide range of dog topics. Our reviews are based on customer feedback, hands-on testing, and in-depth analysis. We are fully transparent and honest to our community of dog owners and future owners.