What are Pale Gums in Dogs?
Normally, dogs’ gums need to be powdery pink in color. Pale gums in dogs indicate that your dog may have underlying health issues. The pink color indicates that the gums are healthy. Health issues may include everything from anxiety and pain to kidney disease. Continue reading to learn more about your canine’s teeth and gums.
The Causes of Canine Pale Gums
Many health issues can impair a dog’s circulation and cause pale gums. The following are more common causes of pale gums in dogs:
This occurs when there is a decrease in red blood cells (RBCs). It is not a disease in and of itself but rather the result of another disease process. Anemia causes dogs to be tired, weak, and have breathing difficulties. They may also lose weight, have a faster heart rate to pump more blood, and have bloody noses.
Shock occurs after a traumatic event that causes significant external or internal bleeding. This could be because of a car hitting it. The blood circulation in a dog decreases, blood vessels constrict, and the gums turn pale.
Shocked dogs have rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and a low body temperature. It is an emergency that requires immediate veterinary care.
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a substance produced by the kidneys. It stimulates RBC production. The kidneys stop working properly during kidney disease, resulting in a decrease in EPO production. With less EPO, a lower RBC production results in pale gums.
Excessive drinking and urination, decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss are all symptoms of kidney disease.
Internal bleeding can result from trauma or organ disease, such as stomach ulcers. Internal bleeding causes decreased circulation, resulting in pale gums in dogs. The symptoms of internal bleeding differ depending on the cause. Stomach ulcers, for example, can cause vomiting.
Parasites can cause havoc by sucking blood from dogs and depriving them of essential nutrients. Fleas land on the fur of a dog and feed on the blood. A severe flea infestation can result in significant blood loss and pale gums. Intense itching and hair loss from constant scratching are symptoms of a flea infestation.
Roundworms and other intestinal parasites cause digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. They can also cause weight loss and decreased energy and appetite.
Bloat in dogs can easily become fatal. When the stomach fills with gas, it becomes enlarged and twists on itself, causing a dangerous chain reaction of circulation issues. These circulation problems result in pale gums. Bloated dogs have distended abdomens and become agitated and distressed.
Blood Clotting Disorders
Blood clotting is a complicated process. This disrupts the clotting process, and abnormal bleeding occurs. Abnormal bleeding may cause pale gums. Skin bruises and excessive bleeding are symptoms of blood clotting disorders.
If your dog’s heart cannot properly pump blood, the gums will not receive the blood supply they require to stay healthy. This will result in pale gums. Heart disease symptoms include lethargy, coughing, decreased appetite, and a fluid-filled abdomen.
Toxicity From Heavy Metals
Dogs aren’t picky eaters, so they may consume something containing heavy metals, such as nails or pennies. Zinc, for example, can reduce RBC production, resulting in anemia and pale gums. Heavy metal toxicity causes symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, and lethargy.
Cancer takes so much from the body. Many types of cancer can affect dogs. Some cancers attack the bone marrow, which produces RBCs. RBC production decreases when there is cancer in the bone marrow, resulting in anemia and pale gums. Cancer has a wide range of symptoms that vary according to the type of cancer.
What do Pale Gums in Dogs Look Like?
Dogs’ pale gums range from white to pale pink. Because pale gums are typically associated with hydration or circulation issues, they will most likely feel sticky and lose their shiny appearance. This is due to a lack of moisture.
Treatment for Pale Canine Gums
To be safe, if your dog has pale gums, you should take him to the vet immediately. Pale gums in dogs are frequently a sign of illness or disease.
If your dog appears ill, you should seek emergency veterinary care. The main goal is to get treatment for your dog as soon as possible. Treatment for pale gums in dogs is vital. The following are some steps you must take in different circumstances:
If your dog’s anemia is severe, it may need to receive a blood transfusion. Any further treatment requires a vet’s office diagnosis of the underlying cause and developing an appropriate treatment plan.
The first step is to examine your dog for symptoms. If you suspect it’s in shock, take it to the vet immediately. However, you can do a few procedures to help your dog immediately.
To begin, turn your dog on its side and gently pull out its tongue to keep its airway open. If there is visible external bleeding, try to stop it by applying pressure to the wound using a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop after five minutes, take your dog to the vet immediately.
If you suspect your dog suffers from internal bleeding, keep it calm. Wrap a blanket or towel around it and speak softly to it. The next step is to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Don’t put any pressure on your dog’s abdomen when picking it up to carry it to the car.
Instead, place one arm under your dog’s rib cage, directly in front of its front legs. Position its other arm behind its back legs.
Blood Clotting Disorders
If you can’t stop your dog from bleeding, it may have a blood clotting disorder. Take your dog to the vet immediately for a diagnosis and, if necessary, a blood transfusion.
If you suspect your dog has a kidney problem, take it to the vet for an evaluation. If it has chronic renal failure, you must modify it’s diet and ensure proper hydration to manage this condition.
Bloat is a life-threatening emergency that necessitates immediate veterinary attention. If your dog does have bloat, it will need surgery.
Preventing parasitic infections is possible, so keep your dog away from drinking stale water, eating feces, and avoiding contact with infected animals. Preventive medicine and products for both internal and external parasites are also available.
If your dog already has a parasitic infestation, your vet will most likely prescribe medication and send your pup home. If your dog has parasitic anemia, your veterinarian may recommend steroid therapy, fluid therapy, or even blood transfusions.
Toxicity From Heavy Metals
Get rid of whatever your dog ate. Your dog will get IV fluid therapy to encourage urination, as well as medications to aid in the removal of the metal from the body. It may need a blood transfusion in severe cases.
While treatments cannot reverse heart disease, your dog can live a normal life with proper management. This mostly involves eating the right foods, and your veterinarian may recommend a low-sodium diet to help the heart function properly. Of course, you should consult your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet.
Cancer treatment in dogs depends on the type and size of the cancer. Treatment options include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and some combinations of these.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Dog Gums
Healthy dog gums vs. unhealthy bones are something you should always watch out for. Assessing whether your dog has healthy or unhealthy dog gums and what the discoloration may mean can provide you with information about your best friend’s overall health. Knowing how to evaluate your dog’s gum health can help keep it healthy.
Here’s how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy dog gums:
Healthy Dog Gums
Pale pink gums in dogs are a sign of healthy dog gums. They’re soft and moist to the touch. Pressing a spot on your dog’s gums with your index finger is one way to check the health of their gums. After you let go, the color should change from white to pale pink to pink in about two seconds. If this is the case, your dog is in good health and has no major health issues.
Unhealthy Dog Gums
Dog gum disease is a concern. Dog gums that are unhealthy can be dry and sticky, have an abnormal color, or have growths. They may also be painful for your dog. Here are some potential health issues associated with each type of discoloration or growth on your dog’s gums.
White Gums in Dogs
If your dog is deficient in red blood cells, its gums may turn pale pink or white; this could also indicate anemia. Anemia could be a symptom of a more serious illness or a traumatic event. If your dog”s gums are white or pale pink, it may be a result of the following:
Loss of bloodAnemia (acute blood loss) (acute blood loss)Anxiety caused by shock (or trauma)
Yellow dog gums are frequently associated with jaundice, a condition where the whites of the eyes and skin turn yellow. Some potential health issues for your dog include
Problems with the liverDamage to red blood cells
Blue or Purple Gums
Blue or purple gums could indicate cyanosis or another serious health problem. Cyanosis occurs when the skin turns blue due to a lack of oxygen or poor blood circulation. Discolored gums may indicate heart or lung disease and breathing difficulties.
If your dog has blue or purple gums, you should take them to the vet because they could be suffering from one of the following serious conditions:
Heart failure with congestive edema (or heart disease)Respiratory issuesA blood clot in the lungPneumoniaChokingBlood pressure is too lowInadequate oxygen delivery
Gum growths in your dog are only sometimes a cause for concern. Epulides or benign oral tumors are sometimes the cause of the growth. Some tumors are cancerous or painful. If you notice any growth, contact your veterinarian right away. They can advise you on the next steps to help your dog heal.
Our Dog Gum Color Chart
Use our ‘unhealthy dog gum color chart’ to figure out what’s causing your dog’s pale gums or any other changes in gum color. Remember that many causes can be emergencies, and your dog should seek treatment from a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Gum ColorReasonsYellow-Red blood cell damage
-Blood lossCherry red-Shock
-High blood pressure
-Carbon monoxide poisoningBlue or Purple-Shock
-High blood pressure
-Carbon monoxide poisoning
How to Check Your Dog’s Gums
As a responsible pet parent, you know the importance of closely monitoring your pet’s health and behavior. This will enable you to detect when something is wrong. This monitoring should include checking your dog’s gums. Fortunately, this simple procedure will cause no discomfort to your dog.
Lift the upper lip gently and pull down the lower lip to examine your dog’s gum color, which should be pink or salmon.
Next, gently press your dog’s gums to check if they are moist. Gums that are sticky or tacky may indicate dehydration.
A capillary refill test is also an option. It is a quick way to assess hydration and blood flow to the gums. Gently press your index finger against your dog’s gums and then lift your finger. The area you pressed will turn white due to the pressure of your finger, then return to its normal pink color in 1 to 2 seconds, indicating adequate hydration.
If it takes more than 1 to 2 seconds for your dog’s gums to turn pink again, it may be dehydrated. This could also mean it has an underlying health problem that affects circulation.
At least once or twice a month, check your dog’s gums. However, you should check the gums every time you brush your dog’s teeth. This should be a few times a week. Take note of any changes in the feel and appearance of the gum.
It may not be easy to see the capillary refill test results in dogs with mottled gums.
Dogs’ pale gums range from pale pink to white. Because pale gums are typically associated with hydration or circulation issues, they will most likely feel sticky and lose their shiny appearance due to a lack of moisture.
What Should I do If My Dog’s Gums are Pale?
If your dog has pale gums, act faster and contact your veterinarian. Pale gums in dogs are unusual, and a veterinarian should always investigate. If your dog is critically ill due to shock or bloat, seek veterinary care immediately from your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital.
If your dog is in shock due to a traumatic injury that resulted in significant bleeding, you can administer first aid. You use a clean cloth to cover the wound. Your primary goal should be treating your dog as soon as possible.
The other causes of pale gums mentioned above are not necessarily medical emergencies. However, your dog will require immediate veterinary attention because pale gums indicate an underlying health issue.
As they investigate your dog to determine why its gums are pale, your veterinarian will ask you many questions. Bring as much information as possible, including the items listed below:
When you first noticed the pale gumsWhat the gums looked likeOther symptoms or behavioral changesTrauma historyHistory of consuming something containing metals
A detailed history will give your veterinarian information about the underlying problem. Following a physical examination, they will conduct additional diagnostic tests such as X-rays, routine blood work, and blood clotting tests.
The sooner your veterinarian can figure out what’s causing the pale gums, the sooner your dog will get treatment and return to its normal dog’s gums.
The Words Out!
The color of your dog’s gums can reveal much about its overall health. Healthy gums should be pink and shiny.
If your dog’s gums are white or pale, it could indicate various health issues. These include anemia, shock, blood clotting disorders, zinc toxicity, internal bleeding, kidney disease, heart disease, and other conditions.
If you notice pale gums in your dog and are unsure of the cause, take it to the vet to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.
What are Pale Gums in Dogs? Normally, dogs’ gums need to be powdery pink in color. Pale gums in dogs … Read more >