March 27, 2020
Most of us are diligent owners when it comes to feeding our dogs the best food, giving them exercise, and surprising them with new toys. But one area where many of us can improve? Canine dental care. Which is why we’re talking all about healthy dog gums today.
Quite frankly, a lot of us don’t even floss our own teeth (yup, I said it) let alone brush our dog’s teeth! But taking care of your dog’s teeth and gums is super important.
Poor canine dental hygiene can lead to expensive problems down the road and a lot of mouth pain for your pup.
Specifically, neglecting your dog’s dental health can result in periodontitis. This leads to bone loss associated with the plaque and tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth and below the gum line.
What’s more, your dog’s gum health and overall gum appearance can give other clues about their health and wellness, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
To begin, let’s assess the current status of your dog’s mouth. A quick look for a few key factors can let you know a bit about the status of your dog’s gums. From there, you can make an action plan for at-home care, or get some help from the professionals.
Red gums, gums that are red at the tooth base, or gums that appear swollen are all signs of gingivitis and/or periodontitis. This is an inflammation and possible infection of the gum that can become very painful and result in bone and tooth loss if not treated.
In some cases, bright red gums can indicate that your dog is overheated or suffering from a heat stroke. If your dog was recently in extremely hot conditions and you are noticing bright red gums, call your vet immediately!
Most often, pale or white gums are a sign of anemia or a sudden loss of a large amount of blood. Their gums appear lighter in color or even white because there is not enough blood circulating in their body. In the case of anemia, there isn’t enough hemoglobin present in your dog.
It should go without saying that if your dog is suffering from acute blood loss and has pale gums, you need to contact your vet immediately.
If your dog has not experienced acute blood loss but has pale or white gums, anemia is probably the factor. It’s important to get them seen right away to find out the underlying cause of the anemia, which could be serious.
If your dog’s gums appear blue this means they are not getting enough oxygen in their blood supply. Often this is associated with pneumonia, congestive heart failure, pulmonary thromboembolism or other respiratory problems.
These are all emergency situations that need to be handled immediately. If your vet is not available and you’re seeing blue gums, take your dog to the nearest emergency vet right away.
Bleeding gums are another indication of periodontal disease or gingivitis. When dog gums are inflamed and irritated, they bleed more easily, much like when humans don’t keep up with regular flossing.
One thing to note: some breeds naturally have dark or black-colored gums, which can make it more difficult to spot problems. If your dog’s gums are naturally dark or black, you won’t be able to check them for blanching or use the gums as an indicator of larger health issues.
You will need to rely on other clues like their eyes, heart rate, breathing, and disposition. If you’re ever in doubt about your dog’s health, always call your vet!
Your main line of defense for keeping healthy dog gums is preventative care. Taking good care of your dog’s teeth will lead to a lifetime of healthy gums.
So, how are your dog’s gums looking? After reading this guide, if you have any concerns about your dog’s gum health, reach out to your vet.
Only a professional can get to the bottom of what’s going on and recommend a treatment plan tailored to your dog’s needs.
If you have an additional tip for healthy dog gums, feel free to chime in below! We’d love to keep the conversation going.
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