The gums are soft tissues that surround the teeth and provide a seal around them. Aside from providing support for the teeth, the gum color gives insight to the health status of your pet. A normal gum should have a powdery pink color and when the gum is pressed, the pink color should change to white after which it returns to the pink color in about 2-3 secs. The time taken for the gum to return to its normal color is called Capillary Refill Time (CRT) and it is one of the vital signs checked during medical examination.
Abnormal Gum Colors can be:
- White/Pale-pink Gum: This suggests anemia due to blood loss or other underlying diseases.
- Bright Red Gums: Seen in overheating, or inflammation of the gum, tongue and mouth.
- Blue Gums: This is referred to as Cyanosis medically. It occurs when the circulating oxygen in the body is insufficient. It is common in respiratory diseases.
Other Gum Problems are :
- Bleeding Gums: Different inflammatory conditions affecting the gum and mouth can cause bleeding. Traumatic injury from bones and other sharp objects can also lead to bleeding gums.
- Tumor/Growths: Different types of growths (benign or cancerous) are seen on the gums.
How to Prevent Gum Problem in Dogs
- Keep your dog at a normal body temperature to prevent bright red gums observed in overheating dogs.
- Disease causing anemia should be treated immediately.
- Avoid smoking around your pet or keeping them in a non-ventilated area to avoid blue gums.
- Regularly brush your dog’s teeth and maintain good oral hygiene.
- Report any observed gum abnormality to your veterinarian immediately.