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White Gums In A Dog – What Is It And Why Does It Happen?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
White gums in a dog are the easiest way to see what's your dog's overall health. Thanks to this open and fur-free area you can track your pet's health on a daily level. Healthy gums, healthy dog.

Every dog owner or dog lover knows that one of the most important things when it comes to dog’s health is their gums. Also, you have probably noticed that on a regular veterinarian check-ups gums are the first thing that they look at. Therefore, taking care of your canine teeth and gums is a must.

Gums can be overlooked occasionally, but it is important to know the clear difference between healthy and unhealthy gums.

People have a tendency to overlook this important part of the dog’s body, mostly because they are ‘hidden’ and part of a dog’s mouth. Simply, they are not out there in the open. Nevertheless, this is not the reason to overlook it.

Gums In Dogs

Gums are crucial when it comes to diagnosing your dog’s health. This is part of the body where adequate blood flow can be seen. Therefore, overall health can be diagnosed by simply taking one look at dogs gums. Dogs should always have pink or light red gums. Those tones are a clear sign of a healthy dog.

The main reason why gums are so important when it comes to diagnosing dogs health is that gums are one of the areas that are exposed and not covered in fur.

Gums change color when your dog is going through some health illness. They can easily turn to a different color or a different tone of red. Therefore, gums can be blue, reddish, yellow, white and etc.

Healthy Dog Gums

Healthy dog gums look exactly like humans normal and healthy gums. The same principle applies to the eyelid. Pull your eyelid gently down and take a look. This is what a dog’s inner lid should look like.

Also, bear in mind that not any sign of something different in your dog’s gums is call for help. Like, some dogs may have naturally pale pink gums, or even pigment or patches. You should be aware of these characteristic when you are getting the dog.

The most common reason for gums that are mottled with pigment, is just a reflection of your dog’s coat color. The warning sign is when gums are dense black color.

This is the first sign that there is a high presence of melanin, and a cancer called malignant melanoma. If you notice this, contact your veterinarian immediately.

In addition, shiny gums reflect the dog’s hydration status. Gums are moisty in a well-hydrated dog, and the moisture makes them shine. Furthermore, pink color in gums is due to small blood vessels in gums that run close to the surface.

Pink gums are usually indicators that there are plenty of oxygenated red blood cells flowing through those vessels.


How To Examine Your Dog’s Gums?

The best way to make sure that your dog keeps healthy gum is to have a regular checkup and oral examination. Otherwise, you will have to deal with gum disease. Checking your dog gums may sound like a lot of work in reality in really isn’t.

There are a few steps that you should follow and your dog will be forever thankful. So, how can you examine dogs gums?

  1. Make a note – make sure that you record dogs actual gum color with a exact date of examination. The process itself is not demanding. You just have to move your dog’s lips up slowly and carefully and look the color of the gums.

    Don’t put your finger inside of your dog’s mouth, regardless of how much you two love each other and how safe you feel. Just gently pull up. Better safe than sorry.

    After all, some things are reserved for veterinarians with reason. By regular checkup, you will be able to notice as soon as something becomes different.

  2. Keep with regular checks – make sure that you have regular veterinarian check-ups. You can ask your veterinarian how often you should come in for examination. Depending on the breed it can be once a month or once in every three months.
  3. Check dog’s gums when he is healthy – lift doggy’s upper lip to reveal the gums.
  4. Catch hold of that furry ball of yours and lift up your doggy’s upper lip by yourself to reveal the gums. The healthy tone of the gums may vary from breed to breed, but the normal color is between salmon pink to bubblegum in color.

    Pale, Red, Blue, or Yellow Gums In Dogs And What They Mean

    A dog’s gums can say a lot about a dog’s health. Each shade of gums stands for a specific reason or health condition. The most common gums shade and possible reasons:

    1. Cherry Red Gums – Possible reasons: heat stroke, exposure to toxins, carbon monoxide poisoning, high blood pressure.
    2. Slightly Red – Possible reasons: Gingivitis, topical irritation (from chewing wood or a new toy), infection.
    3. Blue or Purple – Trouble breathing, lack of oxygen, pneumonia, choking, asthma, heart disease, low blood pressure, hypothermia.
    4. Yellow – Possible reasons: Liver problem, destruction of red blood cells, anemia.
    5. Pale – Possible reasons: Heart problems, anemia, blood clotting disorder, kidney disease, internal bleeding, shock, rat poison, bloat, heavy metal poison, hypothermia, cancer.

    The most important thing about pale or any other shade whatsoever is to react fast. As soon as you notice any abnormality, smaller or bigger, in your dog’ gums, you should visit your veterinarian.

    Procrastination shouldn’t be an option here. Serious health conditions, from heat stroke, gingivitis to internal bleeding can be seen thank to exposed body part without any fur – the gums.

    Good to know: Dogs should always have pink or light red gums.

    White Gums In A Dog

    Pale gums are a major health indicator when it comes to the health of your dog. Pale gums will always appear whitish or pale pink. Bear in mind that if you notice pale gums in your dog, you are dealing with a serious condition. Poor blood supply simply means that there is a problem with the dog’s circulation.

    Dog owners who brush their dog’s teeth on a daily basis are more prompt to notice pale gums, as they often inspect dog’s gums and teeth. Simply said, it helps them keep track of any abnormalities.

    The gums are especially known to show if a dog is anemic. Also, there is a number of reasons why your dog’s gums may be pale, and they go from internal parasites, over toxins to autoimmune disease and even tumors.

    Pro tip: Always do your best to serve food that is good for dog’s teeth and gums, such as parsnips.

    Causes Of white Gums In Dogs

    White gums are in most cases sign of severe or extremely serious health condition. The most common causes of pale gums in a dog are listed below.

    1. Shock

    Canine can easily go to shock due to numerous reasons. Each stressful situation leaves a mark.

    Therefore, scientifically speaking, in the case of shock the blood may be concentrated in certain body parts – in the most important organs actually, causing less blood flow to the gums.

    The reasons that may lead to the state of shock are many. If your dogs get into shock take it to the veterinarian immediately.

    Also, dogs get into shock after they are hit by the car. Even more, shock can be caused due to an accident or a serious problem such as gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV).

    2. Kidney Disease

    Kidney disease or chronic renal failure is a common state in dogs. In general, kidneys work by normally making a hormone called erythropoietin. This hormone is responsible for telling the bone marrow to create red blood cells.

    On the other hand, when kidney function is impaired less of this hormone is made. As a result, a dog can become anemic and develop pale gums.

    3. Internal Bleeding

    Internal bleeding is a serious condition in dogs, just like in humans. This condition may be caused by numerous factors. Dogs who have been hit by a car are known for experiencing this condition. Moreover, the liver or/and spleen and sometimes even kidneys have been damaged.

    Furthermore, a stomach ulcer may trigger internal bleeding as well. Another cause of internal bleeding is a splenic mass which may cause bleed and lead to conditions like pale gums, collapse and even fluid in the belly.

    4. Auto-Immune Disease

    This is a common condition where the dog’s immune system attacks itself. For example, in the case of hemolytic anemia, the immune system starts destroying red blood cells.

    Low level of blood cells can lead to pale gums and anemia. Hemolytic anemia is a condition that can be strictly set off by an immune-mediated cause.

    5. Heart Disease

    Even the slightest heart problem may cause a number of symptoms like:

  • pale gums
  • coughing
  • tiredness
  • enlarged abdomen
  • weak pulse
  • poor appetite

You will need veterinarian help to set the diagnose and the proper treatment.

6. A Blood Clotting Disorder

In this case, the blood doesn’t coagulate normally. Simply said it means that it causes abnormal bleeding. Moreover, the following conditions may be thrombocytopathy and thrombocytopenia.

Dogs affected with this condition may develop pale gums, blood in urine, bleeding and also bruises on the skin.

7. Bloat

In this case, your dog will have a distended abdomen. It means that may try to vomit, be in distress, and will have pale or ghost-white gums. In this case, pale gums can appear because the stomach torsion stops blood from returning from the lower body back to the heart.

8. Parasite Infestation

This condition may be seen when dogs have severe flea infestation or a heavy load of intestinal worms. Shockingly, fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood and trigger anemia.

Actually, fleas trigger parasitic anemia. Heart-worms and other parasitic infections may result in white gums.

9. Cancer

There is no just one cancer, there are forms of cancer, including bone marrow cancer. Bone marrow cancer can cause a lower production of blood cells. Cancers affecting the liver and the spleen can also cause internal bleeding into the abdomen.

10. Heavy Metal Toxicity

Heavy metal toxicity can lead to low production of red blood cells and it can trigger anemia as well. Affected dogs can develop pale gums. Some may even develop acute kidney failure.

First Aid

When you notice pale gums in your dog you should undertake certain steps. The first thing should be to contact your vet. But also:

  • If there is any external bleeding, stop it.
  • Phone the veterinarian that you are on the way to the vet’s office.
  • Keep the dog warm.
  • Avoid giving pain relief at home.

Furthermore, if the situation isn’t an emergency, check the dog’s feces for any sign of blood. Furthermore, try to collect a urine sample. This is a great way to speed up results that your veterinarian will ask anyway.

That way your veterinarian will be able to tell the vet if the blood cells are being damaged or not and to which extent.

Prevention Of Getting White Gums

There are certain actions that you can take to prevent your dog from losing blood. Make sure that your home is dog-proof, meaning that all poisonous chemicals are out of the reach of your dog, including poisonous plants as well.

Stay on schedule when it comes to regular vet’s check-ups and regular vaccination schedule if you are having a puppy.

Regular veterinarian appointments are the best way to see anything unusual. Thanks to the thorough physical examination you will learn about an early sign of diseases and therefore a proper treatment will be successful.

Strong routine, regular exercise, clean floors and furniture, proper nutrition, and a balanced diet can prevent a significant number of diseases. Don’t forget that saying “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” The same principle goes for your dog as well.

Also, bear in mind that when it comes to the proper treatment there is no ‘one size fits them all’ solution. Depending on the cause the proper treatment will be conducted. Your veterinarian is the only one that can tell you how to treat a certain condition.

White Gums In Dogs: Key Takeaways

Your canine’s gums can tell you a lot when it comes to your friend’s health. Therefore, you should check them regularly by yourself so you can be sure that your dog is fine and that his overall health is great.

Gums can be of a lot of colors including yellow, red, purple, or simply pale or white when your dog is sick. If you think that your bundle of joy has pale gums, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian is your’s dog best friend in this case.