What to Do If Your Dog’s Gums Are Pale

Pale gums in dogs can be a sign of a serious health problem that requires immediate attention. In this article, you will learn what causes pale gums in dogs, what symptoms to look out for, when to see a veterinarian, and how to care for your dog at home.

pale gums dog

What Causes Pale Gums in Dogs?

The normal color of a dog’s gums is pink, which indicates a healthy blood flow and oxygen level. Pale gums, on the other hand, can indicate a lack of blood or oxygen in the body, which can be caused by various conditions, such as:

  • Anemia: This is a condition where the dog has a low number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Anemia can be caused by blood loss, parasites, infections, autoimmune diseases, toxins, or cancer.
  • Shock: This is a life-threatening condition where the dog’s blood pressure drops and the organs do not receive enough blood and oxygen. Shock can be caused by trauma, dehydration, allergic reactions, infections, or heart failure.
  • Hypothermia: This is a condition where the dog’s body temperature drops below normal, which can affect the blood circulation and oxygen delivery. Hypothermia can be caused by exposure to cold weather, wet fur, or illness.
  • Other diseases: Some other diseases that can cause pale gums in dogs include heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, or diabetes.

Symptoms Accompanying Pale Gums

Pale gums are not the only symptom of a health problem in dogs. Depending on the underlying cause, your dog may also show other signs, such as:

  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Pale or blue tongue or lips
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Loss of appetite or thirst
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Seizures or collapse

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, along with pale gums, you should seek veterinary help as soon as possible, as it could be a medical emergency.

When to See a Veterinarian

Pale gums in dogs are always a cause for concern and should not be ignored. However, some cases are more urgent than others and require immediate veterinary attention. You should take your dog to the vet right away if:

  • The gums are very pale, white, or gray
  • The gums do not return to pink after pressing them gently
  • The dog is showing signs of shock, such as rapid breathing, low blood pressure, or collapse
  • The dog is showing signs of severe blood loss, such as bleeding from the mouth, nose, or anus, or internal bleeding
  • The dog is showing signs of hypothermia, such as shivering, slow breathing, or low body temperature
  • The dog is showing signs of a serious illness, such as fever, jaundice, or seizures

If the gums are slightly pale, but the dog is otherwise acting normal, you should still contact your vet and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Your vet will perform a physical exam and run some tests to determine the cause of the pale gums and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

pale gums dog

Home Care and Treatment Options

The treatment for pale gums in dogs depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Some of the possible treatments include:

  • Fluid therapy: This is a common treatment for dogs with shock, dehydration, or blood loss. It involves giving fluids intravenously or subcutaneously to restore the blood volume and pressure and improve the circulation and oxygen delivery.
  • Blood transfusion: This is a treatment for dogs with severe anemia or blood loss. It involves giving blood or blood products from a donor dog to replace the lost red blood cells and increase the oxygen level.
  • Medication: This is a treatment for dogs with infections, parasites, toxins, or autoimmune diseases that cause anemia or shock. It involves giving antibiotics, antiparasitics, antidotes, or immunosuppressants to treat the underlying cause and prevent further damage to the blood cells.
  • Surgery: This is a treatment for dogs with trauma, tumors, or internal bleeding that cause anemia or shock. It involves removing the source of bleeding or repairing the damaged tissues or organs.
  • Oxygen therapy: This is a treatment for dogs with lung or heart disease that cause pale gums. It involves giving oxygen through a mask, a tube, or a chamber to increase the oxygen level in the blood.

In addition to the veterinary treatment, you can also provide some home care for your dog with pale gums, such as:

  • Keeping your dog warm and comfortable
  • Offering your dog water and bland food
  • Monitoring your dog’s vital signs and gum color
  • Following your vet’s instructions and giving the prescribed medication
  • Avoiding stress or strenuous activity for your dog
pale gums dog

Prevention Tips for Healthy Dog Gums

While some causes of pale gums in dogs are unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to prevent or reduce the risk of this condition, such as:

  • Providing your dog with a balanced and nutritious diet
  • Keeping your dog up to date with vaccinations and deworming
  • Protecting your dog from fleas, ticks, and other parasites
  • Keeping your dog away from toxic substances or plants
  • Checking your dog’s gums regularly for any changes in color or texture
  • Taking your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and blood tests

Pale gums in dogs are a serious symptom that should not be taken lightly. By knowing the possible causes, symptoms, and treatments, you can act quickly and save your dog’s life. Remember, the best thing you can do for your dog is to seek professional help as soon as you notice any signs of trouble.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments