A close-up of a healthy dog's gums.

Is Your Dog’s Gum Color Bad?

What Healthy Dog Gums Look Like

Gum tissue, also known as the oral mucosa or mucous membranes, is the soft tissue lining in a dog’s mouth between the teeth and lips. This gum tissue is connected to the underlying bone tissue.

Gum color often provides insight into the wellbeing of a dog. The pink color in gums, similar to the pink tones found in human skin, is a result of blood flow to the gum tissues. Blood flow can be altered by conditions as a result of shock, blood loss, anemia, or other bleeding abnormalities. Dental issues can result in a deeper, red, and inflamed appearance to the gums, most commonly found right around the teeth.

Normal dog gum color can be either pink or pigmented, depending on the breed and pigmentation of the dog. It is easier to assess healthy gum color in dogs that are not pigmented. Popular breeds that are known for black pigmented gums include the Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei.

In a canine with unpigmented gums, the normal dog gum color is a light shade of pink, sometimes referred to as “bubblegum pink.” The gums should be smooth, moist, and shiny with no evidence of excessive redness, discharge, or odor.

Some dogs will have both unpigmented and pigmented gums. In these cases, to assess the gum color, look at the unpigmented sections.

It is ideal to look in your dog’s mouth periodically providing that you can do so safely. Daily monitoring is easiest to do when you brush your dog’s teeth. These articles may be of interest to you:

What Unhealthy Dog Gums Look Like

As mentioned above, unhealthy gums can vary depending on your dog’s natural pigmentation.

Unhealthy gums can look like any of the following:

How To Keep Gums Healthy

The best way to keep your dog’s gum tissue healthy is to feed them a high-quality dog food formulated to meet American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards. Provide consistent dental care that consists of daily brushing, and periodic dental cleanings by your veterinarian. There are also some dental treats, such as the OraVet chew, that can help prevent dental tartar.