Jump to section

What are Bleeding Gums?

It is often said that the condition of the mouth reveals the health.  While this has been proven to be a true fact in humans, let this article put you on notice that it is also true in the canine species.  Bleeding gums in dogs can signal something more serious going on deep inside your beloved canine family member, ranging from mild oral inflammation and plaque buildup on the teeth to various stages and types of oral cancer and it can signal many systemic health conditions which may be going unnoticed and untreated.

Bleeding gums is a condition in which the gums, which appear swollen and red, bleed easily.  This condition, whether in canines or humans, usually indicates uncontrolled inflammation and possible infection in the mouth.

Symptoms of Bleeding Gums in Dogs

The symptoms of bleeding gums in dogs will likely begin in a quite subtle manner that could go unnoticed as you go about your daily living activities with your family (both human and canine) and the tremendous responsibilities that go with them.  Here are some of the symptoms of bleeding gums for which you should be watching:

  • Halitosis (bad breath) - This may be the most noticeable and earliest symptom you might note 

  • Swollen gums which are red or very pink in color
  • Yellow or brown teeth (may be loose or some may be missing)
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty chewing on bones

Types

 

There are several types of bleeding gums in dogs:

  • Trauma or injury - This includes injury/trauma from chewing various objects and toys

  • Foreign body penetration - Includes pieces and parts of all things being curiously chewed by canines
  • Ingestion/consumption of toxic foods and substances like chocolate, antifreeze and other poisonous substances
  • Infection and inflammation resulting largely from poor oral hygiene 
  • Inflammation resulting from systemic diseases
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Bleeding Gums in Dogs

  • Traumatic or injury-related bleeding gums can be caused by chewing bones, toys, sticks
  • Foreign body penetration causing bleeding of gums - This could be the result of the deep-seated curiosity embedded into both dogs and cats, and since they don’t have thumbs, everything goes into the mouth for “evaluation” (just like your human toddlers)

  • Ingestion of toxic foods and substances - These are human foods which are not recommended for your doggy (chocolate, anything containing Xylitol, avocado, alcohol, onions, garlic, caffeinated beverages, some fruits, nuts) and poisonous substances (antifreeze, various cleaning products, medications)
  • Inflammation and subsequent infection from poor oral hygiene - Your dog needs to have his teeth brushed on a regular basis, too, and your pet needs periodic dental cleanings by your veterinary professional who is trained to do so; bacteria and plaque can form in your doggy family member’s mouth just as it can in your mouth and it can do the same type of damage to him as it does to you

  • Inflammation resulting from systemic diseases - There are a number of systemic diseases which have chronic inflammation as a symptom or contributing factor (oral inflammation, parasitic, bacterial or fungal infections in other parts of the body, or from various types of cancer which can be anywhere in the body)
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Bleeding Gums in Dogs

Diagnosing bleeding gums in dogs can be as simple as checking them visually or as involved as x-rays, CT scan, MRI studies and surgical biopsies. Here are some of the steps which may be involved:

  • Your veterinary professional will need a complete history from you in regard to your pet’s dietary regimen, any oral hygiene measures that are being done, health history and vaccinations along with the bleeding gum symptoms you’ve noticed, complete with the severity, frequency and duration
  • He will do a physical examination and will likely order a series of blood tests to ascertain normal blood component values, possibility of infection (either bacterial or fungal), and to assess certain vitamin and mineral components for proper balance
  • He may take various tissue samples as well as do urine fecal testing
  • Based upon the findings from his examination, your history and the blood testing results, he may need to order radiographic testing (x-rays), CT scanning or MRI studies to define any potential masses or other abnormalities found in his examination 

These extra tests will likely be needed if your veterinary professional suspects that there is an underlying systemic cause for the inflammation noted in the oral cavity.  His treatment plan will be dependent upon the results of this testing and will be focused on the primary cause, whether it is periodontal disease or other systemic issue.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Bleeding Gums in Dogs

Treatment for bleeding gums in dogs will be dependent upon the cause found for the condition.  If the cause is determined to be purely oral in nature, then your veterinary professional will recommend appropriate veterinary dental care by a veterinary professional who is trained to do it.  

  • The dental care that is required may range from that which is necessary to treat mild gingivitis (the earliest and mildest form of gum disease) to that which is necessary to  more intensively treat for periodontitis (the more severe stage of gum disease) in whatever stage of development it is found
  • If the cause is found to be systemic in nature, then the treatment plan could involve a variety of medical interventions for the variety of medical problems for which inflammation is a factor
  • Those medical interventions could range from dietary changes to ensure or improve nutrition, digestion and nutritional absorption to administration of medications to treat a systemic disease (thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome) to full fledged surgical removal of a malignant tumor with subsequent radiographic postoperative treatments
arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Bleeding Gums in Dogs

Of course, it goes without saying that the prognosis of bleeding gums in your family pet is contingent upon the reason for the bleeding gums.  Many canines, like a large percentage of adults in the United States, suffer from undiagnosed and untreated gum disease in various stages of development.  And, just like in humans, the inflammation that causes gum disease and bleeding gums in dogs can also cause a variety of systemic diseases, some of which are serious and life-threatening for the host, whether human or canine.  

The most frequently found cause for bleeding gums in dogs lies in undiagnosed and untreated periodontal disease.  But, be encouraged, this can be treated.  If you are not already involved in some degree of routine oral hygiene, it would be wise to consult with your veterinary professional for recommendations and training on what you should be doing, the way you should be doing it and the frequency with which it must be done.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Bleeding Gums Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Hunter

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding
Bleeding Gums
Swollen Joints

I took my dog to the vet over a month ago and they gave him antibiotics for his ear infection and mouth infection. He broke one of his cuspids a few ago ago and its never caused him any problems but now he has a hole in his gums and it bleeds every few weeks and pours out blood when it does. My vet said it looked fine at the time I brought him in. But even after the antibiotics its still there. Also his nose is slightly swollen on the side where the problem is occurring. What do you suggest I do?

Jan. 29, 2018

Hunter's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

2 Recommendations

If the gum isn’t healing and continues to have episodes of bleeding you should visit your Veterinarian again as the hole may need to be cleaned out and suture closed; if there is still a remnant of a tooth in there it should be removed prior to closure. Without examining Hunter’s mouth I cannot say what the best course of action is, but it may be worth having it sutured closed (if possible). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Jan. 29, 2018

I noticed my dogs jums were bleeding and teeth are black so I went and bought a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste and brushed her teeth very well. I looked again after I brushed them and they were bleeding even more. Do you suggest I keep brushing them everyday and see how she does or take her to the vet.

June 8, 2018

Tiffany P.

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Dexter

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vit B Deficiency And Bleeding Gums

Our 6yr old black lab has always had a funny tum, has frequent bouts of loose stools, he has to be encouraged to eat, recently he lost a lot of weight ( about 3kilos) so had blood test. He has low Vit b12 and has had 3 weeks of injections of this vitamin and is due for another. Tonight I gave him a bonus and his gums have bled everywhere. It has happened before when having hard things to crunch. He has a bit of plaque but nothing serious. So could this gum bleeding be related to the vit B deficiency .

Jan. 27, 2018

Dexter's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

A deficiency of vitamin B12 is related to bleeding gums as well as random bruising on the body; if you are noticing the gums bleeding or there is bruising on the body you should return to your Veterinarian for an examination and other blood test to check Dexter over to be on the safe side. There are other causes of bleeding gums, but in this case it is more likely related to the vitamin B12 deficiency. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Jan. 28, 2018

Thanks for this, it has helped, great service. Sheila

Jan. 28, 2018

Dexter's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Gingy

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My dog is bleeding from his mouth, seems to be coming from his front lower gums he doesn't have his teeth. When I first noticed it last night he had like small chunks of his meat or something like it when I wiped the area then it stopped bleeding and then it would start again the same a couple hours later and his been like this all day today on and off he's not bleeding like crazy but any blood is not good. No more pieces just bright red blood. He still has an appetite and is acting himself. What can it be and what should I do?

Oct. 29, 2017

Gingy's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

The bleeding may be caused by a few different causes including clotting disorders, liver disease, tumours, poisoning, trauma, infection among other issues; I would suggest visiting your Veterinarian for a check over and a blood test, but until then you can try some yunnan bao which is available from local Chinese Medicine shops. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Oct. 29, 2017

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Boo

dog-breed-icon

Boxer

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My boxers gums are bleeding and infected. I took her to a vet and he said she needs to have surgery to remove the over grown gums. But because she is 13 and has a heart murmur he doesn’t feel comfortable doing the surgery. Her gums have been bleeding for about 5 days now. Is there anything I can do to help her?

Oct. 16, 2017

Boo's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Each case is individual and most likely daily brushing with canine toothpaste isn’t going to make a dent in the condition. I understand that you are concerned with surgery given the heart murmur and Boo’s age but your Veterinarian would have evaluated the benefit:risk balance of the procedure and it would most likely be the best course of action. Blood tests and a thorough examination would be done before surgery to confirm that Boo is suitable for anaesthesia; modern inhalation anaesthetics are much better than the older injectable and early inhalation anaesthetics. But it is your decision. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Oct. 16, 2017

My dog is going threw the same with bad fishy breath and bleeding gums should I get some good toothpaste and a soft tooth brush to start brushing her teeth been giving her dog bones for her breath and had used this gel that I rub on her teeth but nothing good is happening I don't have money to have her go to the vet to have her teeth cleaned she just turned seven this month

Jan. 19, 2018

Karen


My dog's mouth has foul smell and I noticed some blood in her gums... I wonder what's the cause of it and what I should do. Thanks in advance for your reply...

Dec. 13, 2017

Excel E.

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Ralphy

dog-breed-icon

Corgi Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Front Gums Bleeding

My 14 year old chi-corgi mix (about 20 lbs) was diagnosed with Stage 5 lymphoma/or some type of round cell cancer in his spine on May 9 of this year. He was given 4-5 months to live. The neurologist told us neither chemo nor radiation would extend his life more than a few months. So we have been treating him with supplements, Chinese herbs, and diet per our holistic vet’s direction. He is on 2.5 mg of prednisone/day. He is doing fantastic. He has a habit of nibbling on blankets and pillows especially on our bed at bedtime. Tonight I noticed every place he nibbled, there were blotches of blood on the comforter. I could not see blood on his gums or coming from his mouth but that was definitely the source. He has two two teeth in the back of his mouth in poor condition however the bleeding was definitely coming from the front. What could be the cause and/or treatment for him?

dog-name-icon

Eevie

dog-breed-icon

Maltese Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding Gums
Tooth Root Slightly Revealed
Deciduous Canine Tooth Root
Deciduous Canine Tooth Shaky

My one year old 5 lbs dog's deciduous canine tooth hasn't fallen out or been removed so her adult canine tooth grew next to it. About an hour ago, we were playing with her squeaky ball toy and she suddenly dropped the ball and just kept licking her nose. I tried opening her mouth and her left deciduous canine tooth's root was visible on the side, the tooth was shaking and it was bleeding. Her side gum is revealed(?)/the deciduous canine tooth root is showing, what should I do??? I read online it's common while playing with toys but concerned because I can see the side of her gum or about to fall out baby tooth root.

Need pet insurance?