What Your Dog's Gum Color and Appearance Can Tell About Your Dog's Health By Adrienne Janet Farricelli

February 22, 2015

Owner and trainer of Rover's Ranch Home Boarding and Training and a proud member of the Pet Professional Guild-U.S.A.


What makes a dog's gums pale? In the human world, we look at the color of the face to determine if a person looks healthy; indeed, facial pallor has been associated with sickness for many years; whereas, in dogs, on the other hand, we can have an idea of the dog's overall health status by simply looking at the color of the gums. Yes, the gums... you heard right. Contrary to what the myths says, a wet nose isn't an indicator of a dog's health, but the gums are sure pretty reliable if you know what to look for. This is why, if your dog has been acting sickly, your vet will skip the nose and often look into your dog's mouth before anything else.


It's a good habit though for you to get accustomed to the look of your dog's gums as well so you can take a peek there every now and then. This will help you assess your dog's health and rapidly recognize signs of a serious, potentially life threatening problem. *Warning: be extra careful if you have a fractious dog or are unsure about how your dog may react! Some dogs don't like having their mouths handled or may be in pain which may trigger defensive biting. If you're not sure, please stay safe and out of harm's way!


But if your dog is mellow and accustomed to having his mouth checked out (a big plus!) what should you be particularly looking for? There are three important criteria to consider when looking at your dog's gums: gum color, capillary refill time and hydration. Let's take a look at all of them. If your dog at any time shows any of these abnormalities, you should be on your way to the vet without wasting time. 


Assessing the Color of Your Dog's Gums


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