Pale Gums in Dogs: What Does it Mean?

In dogs, their gums should be a powdery pink color. This color is a sign of healthy gums. However, if the gums are not pink, they may be pale in color, which could mean that your dog has some underlying health problems. These troubles range from pain and anxiety to kidney disease.

Pale gums in dogs

Read on to gain some insight into this condition of your canine’s teeth and gums.

What are the Possible Colors of Dog’s Gums?

Before learning about the causes of how dogs can get pale gums, it’s important to know about the different kinds of colors your dog’s gums can be and what they mean.

The different colors your dog’s gums can be that could indicate a medical problem include:

Pale or White

Pale or White Gums mean that your dog could be suffering from anemia, shock, blood clotting disorders, internal bleeding, or heart disease.

Light Red

Light red gums could signify that your dog has an infection, gingivitis, or other oral problems.

Cherry Red

Cherry Red Gums may mean that your dog has been exposed to toxins or other common poisons for dogs. This could also happen if they have carbon monoxide poisoning, heatstroke, or high blood pressure.


Yellow gums demonstrate anemia, liver problems, damage to red blood cells.

Blue or Purple

Blue or Purple gums suggest your dog may have difficulty breathing, pneumonia, hypothermia, low blood pressure, or heart disease.

What are the Causes of Pale Gums in Dogs?

Below are 11 potential causes for why a dog has pale gums:


Anemia is a diminished amount of circulating red cells and hemoglobin. Red cells deliver oxygen to the body. The dog’s body will suffer due to a lack of oxygen when the red blood cell count is low, which can lead to pale gums.

Aside from pale gums, some signs of anemia include extreme tiredness and low energy. Another sign of anemia is poor appetite.

Blood Loss

Blood loss could be caused by many different things, including trauma or a severe parasite infestation from fleas, ticks, or hookworm. Therefore, blood loss should always be taken seriously.


Shock is a response to a sudden, severe injury that could facilitate internal bleeding and death.

Blood Clotting Disorders

Blood clotting disorders could mean that a dog is not able to coagulate blood properly throughout the body, causing their gums to turn pale.

Kidney Disease

This illness could stem from chronic renal failure. As a result, your dog may be dehydrated, incontinent, lethargic, or vomiting.


Bloat is incredibly serious, and it can kill your dog if it goes untreated for too long. In addition, your dog will typically present with a large abdomen.

Rat Poison

Ingestion involves internal bleeding and can cause your dog to get a nose bleed due to warfarin. Along with pale gums, your dog may have trouble breathing, coughing, black stools, and vomiting.

Heart Disease

This illness can give your dog rapid breathing, coughing, a weak pulse, and an enlarged abdomen.


Certain types of cancer can lead to pale gums in dogs, such as bone marrow cancer.

Parasite Infections

External parasites such as fleas and lice and hookworms suck the blood of your furry friend. If there is a significant infestation, it can result in having not enough red blood cells.

Pain or Anxiety

Stress can negatively affect dogs and put them in a fight or flight stage, inciting pale gums.

How to Check Your Dog’s Gums to See if They’re Pale

You should routinely check your dog’s gums to make sure there are no potential health risks and to make sure they’re the proper, healthy color.

Below are steps to take for how you can check to see if your dog has pale gums:

Gently Pull the Upper and Lower Lip

Gently pull the upper lip up and pull down the lower lip to see your dog’s gum color. If they are healthy, the color of their gums should be pink.

Check How Their Gums Feel

After this, touch your dog’s gums to determine if they feel moist. If the gums are sticky, then your dog may be dehydrated.

You should check your dog’s gums at least once or twice a month. It is ideal to check the gums every time you brush their teeth, which you should make a habit of doing a few times a week.

What to Do if Your Dog’s Gums are Pale

If your dog has pale gums, you must get him to the vet immediately to be on the safe side. Pale gums in dogs are often an indicator of illness or disease.

If your dog is visibly sick, you should seek emergency vet care. The main goal is to get your dog treated as quickly as you can.

Seek Immediate Veterinary Care

Your vet will complete a thorough physical exam and run a few tests to determine the cause of the problem. When your vet gets to the root of the issue, they will devise a treatment plan for your dog. Treatment will restore your pup’s gums to a healthy pink color.

Treatment for unhealthy gums in dogs can range from a thorough cleaning of the plaque and tartar on the teeth to surgery or tooth extraction, and it all depends on the cause.

Long-term medication may also be necessary if your dog’s red blood cells are damaged and not producing the way they should.

Contact Us About Your Dog’s Pale Gums

Your dog’s health should be a major priority. Dog owners should take the appropriate measures to keep their pup’s gums in decent shape. If there appears to be something amiss, do not hesitate to pay a visit to your vet or an emergency vet.

At Emergency Veterinary Care Centers, our team knows how serious pale gums in dogs are. Just like you, we want your pet to live a long, healthy and happy life with you, which is why making sure your pet gets back to optimal health is always our top priority. Contact us at our Highland, Westville or Mishawaka locations for high quality, immediate care for your dog, no matter the time of day.

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