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Doggo Dental Health: Healthy Dog Gums Vs Unhealthy Dog Gums


Feb 24, 2023

Doggo Dental health

A dog's gums can give a good insight into their overall health. Dog owners should regularly check the gums of their furry friend, and it's important to know what possible danger signs to look for, and what indicates healthy dog gums vs unhealthy dog gums.

Let's have a look at how to check your dog's gums, what to look out for, common causes of unhealthy gums, and how to maintain good dental health for your pooch.

Signs of healthy dog gums

Each dog will have a different baseline for the colour of their gums. It's important you check your dog's gums regularly, and get to know what is their 'normal'. This way, you'll know if something changes.

In general, healthy dog gums are pink - often described as salmon or bubblegum pink. However, some dogs naturally have darker pigmentation in their gums or mouths.

How to check your dog's gums

Check the colour of the gums by gently lifting the upper lip or pulling down the lower lip. Run your finger over the gums to check the hydration level of your pooch. If the gums are moist and smooth to the touch, this is a good sign. The gums shouldn’t be dry and tacky.

Another test to check for dehydration or illness in your dog is to check the capillary refill time. Gently press your index finger into the gums. When you remove your finger, the gum will remain white or pale pink for a moment. If it returns to normal colour in 1.5 seconds or less, this is a good sign. If it takes 2 seconds or more to return to normal colour, it can be a sign that something is wrong, such as dehydration, low blood pressure, or shock.

Signs of unhealthy gums

When you check the colour of your dog's gums, watch out for the following signs of unhealthy gums:

Red gums

Red gums may occur right along the gum line. Bright red gums or gums that bleed easily may be caused by:

Blue gums

If your dog has blue gums, seek immediate vet attention as it may be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition, such as:

Pale pink gums or white gums

White or pale gums in dogs might be signalling a lack of red blood cells, for example from:

Yellow gums

Yellow gums may indicate jaundice, which can be caused by:

Black gums 

If your dog has always had black gums, it’s likely they just have more melanin in their mouth - which may be completely normal, and is more common in some breeds. However, if your dog’s gums haven’t always been black but are now, it could indicate:

Signs of unhealthy gums

Dental disease in dogs

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition seen in dogs. Periodontal disease is caused by a build-up of plaque, and gets worse over time. It can lead to erosion of the gums, chronic pain, tooth loss and bone loss.

Signs of periodontal disease in dogs may include discoloured teeth, bleeding gums, inflammation of the gums, loose teeth and irritability.

Periodontal disease starts with gingivitis, which can progress if left untreated. Gingivitis causes inflammation of the gum tissue along the gum line, and may cause bad breath and bleeding gums such as after brushing.

Gingivitis in dogs is reversible with proper dental care, with guidance from a vet. However, once the condition progresses to periodontal disease the damage is irreversible - making prevention the best course of action for dental care for your pooch.

Doggy dental care

You can support your dog's dental health by:

Healthy dog gums vs unhealthy dog gums

If your dog is experiencing gum problems or you have any concerns about your dog's oral health, take them to the vet. A vet can diagnose any underlying conditions, identify gum disease or other gum problems, and offer a treatment plan.

Maintenance of good dental care for your pooch is a great way of preventing potential gum problems from occurring down the track in your dog's life.

Shop dog treats for dental health at WAG

Here at WAG we have a wide range of natural dog treats including long-lasting chews that are not only a delicious treat for your furry friend, but are also a great way of helping care for your dog's teeth and gums. Shop our range of dental treats for dogs online via our website today!



At Get WAG, we live and breathe everything doggo-related. We have created Dog Talk for dog lovers much like us, where you can read about everything from doggy-nutrition to tips and tricks for training your pup. Stay in the loop to hear about our newest dog treat releases, and so much more. See you on the bark side!