A dog with pale gums.

Why Are My Pet’s Gums Pale?

Your pet’s gums can tell you quite a lot about their oral health and overall well-being. Though pigmentation will vary from pet to pet, canine and feline gums are typically light pink when they’re healthy. Changes in color can indicate a range of underlying conditions and health concerns. Pale gums, for example, may be a sign of anemia and a reason to consult your veterinarian.

Your Dog or Cat’s Gums

Commonly known as the gums, the gingiva is a soft mucus membrane that surrounds and protects the bones of the jaw. Healthy gums form a tight seal around the teeth, mandible (lower jawbone), and maxilla (upper jawbone). This prevents food and bacteria from collecting and forming dangerous plaque and tartar. Over time, plaque and tartar buildup can cause a host of health concerns affecting not just a pet’s gums, but their entire standard of living.

Pale Gums in Dogs and Cats

In both dogs and cats, white or particularly pale gums are most often caused by blood loss and anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells. Additional symptoms and their severity will depend on the underlying cause of the anemia. Cat and dog owners may also notice that anemic pets suffer from sluggishness and loss of appetite.

Determining that your cat or dog is anemic is just the start of getting them back on the mend. Anemia is a possible symptom for a large number of illnesses, including various neurological, respiratory, and cardiovascular conditions. It is imperative to consult your veterinarian promptly if you suspect your pet is anemic.

Since there are so many potential causes, it is not possible to prevent anemia altogether. The best pet parents can do is to work with their veterinarian and keep a vigilant eye out for warning signs.

What Are Your Pet’s Gums Telling You?

You can learn a lot about your dog or cat’s oral health and overall well-being with a quick peek at their gums.

3 Pet Dental Health Facts