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What are Getting White Gums?

Dogs should always have pink or light red gums; this is one way to signify adequate blood flow and overall health. White gums in dogs can signify anemia. Anemia refers to the reduction of red blood cells or hemoglobin that are circulating in your dog’s body. Anemia is not a specific illness or disease, but rather a symptom of a variety of health conditions. The gums are specifically known to show if a dog may be anemic, since it is the one area of the dog that is exposed and not covered in fur. 

Red blood cells are released into the bloodstream, and after a period of circulation, they are removed and then used to form new ones. When there is a loss of red blood cells, it is due to less production or a loss of blood. Reasons that a dog’s gums may be white include:

  • Internal parasites
  • Internal bleeding
  • Tumors
  • Blood clotting diseases
  • Chemicals or toxins
  • Autoimmune disease

Why Getting White Gums Occurs in Dogs

A loss of blood in your dog can signify a serious health issue. It is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Causes may include:

Internal Parasites

Internal parasites, such as coccidia and hookworms can cause blood loss. Parasites that live in the intestines feed off of the dog’s blood, causing anemia. Heartworms and other preventable parasitic infestations may result in whitened gums.

Internal Bleeding

If your dog is bleeding internally, this may be apparent in bloody stools. Internal bleeding can cause your dog’s gums to be white. Weakened and damaged blood vessels, trauma, or hemorrhage can cause internal bleeding.

Tumors

If your dog has a tumor, either benign or malignant, it may bleed. Once it becomes larger, it may bleed more, and it may also touch the blood vessels near it. This may cause even more internal bleeding and will be an emergency situation.

Blood Clotting Diseases

Blood clotting disorders, such as hemophilia, coagulopathy, protein deficiencies, thrombosis, and other conditions may cause the gums of your dog to be white. This is due to the increased amount of anemia as the red blood cells are excessively lost when trauma or internal bleeding occur.

Chemicals or Toxins

Certain poisonous chemicals that are used to kill pests, such as rodenticides, contain anticoagulant. This anticoagulant, when ingested, causes internal bleeding. This inner loss of blood can make your dog’s gums white.

Autoimmune Disease

Certain autoimmune diseases, such as hemolytic anemia, can cause loss of red blood cells. Dogs with this condition have an abnormal immune system that overreacts to otherwise healthy cells. These healthy red blood cells can be destroyed, and will cause anemia.

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What to do if your Dog is Getting White Gums

If you notice your dog has not been feeling well or has been showing symptoms that are unusual, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will ask you about your dog’s health history, his actual symptoms, and how long he has had those symptoms. He will then perform a complete physical examination, and you may notice that during this examination he will check his gums. 

If your dog has white gums, your veterinarian may get right to work in order to figure out the cause. He may take blood work, evaluating the biochemistry profile. A urinalysis and fecal sample analysis will be ordered. These initial tests will guide the veterinarian in making a diagnosis.

Depending on the laboratory results, your veterinarian will possibly run further tests to figure out what is causing your dog’s gums to be white, and why he may be losing blood. Once your medical professional is able to diagnose your companion with a specific reason, he will communicate with you the treatment options and prognosis.

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Prevention of Getting White Gums

There may be actions you can take to prevent your dog from losing blood. Keeping all poisonous chemicals out of the reach of your dog is an effective method. Making sure you take your dog to all of his veterinary appointments will also keep you proactive in his overall health. When your dog has a physical examination, your veterinarian thoroughly checks his system and talks with you about any symptoms he may be experiencing. Keeping regular check-ups may catch any illness or disease early on so any treatment given will be successful.

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Cost of Getting White Gums

The cost to treat anemia due to internal parasites, such as heartworm may be approximately $1800. The approximate cost to treat cancerous tumors, which can involve surgery and extensive follow-up, may be $9000.

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Getting White Gums Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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mix breed

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One Year

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0 found helpful

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White gums and blood in the stool

Dec. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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White gums indicate anaemia (low red blood cells). There may be a clotting disorder or toxicity which is causing the bleeding. The blood in the stool also lets us know there is bleeding, though for the gums to be white we would be concerned there is more going on. Your dog needs to see a vet right away for blood tests so we can figure out what is going on. They may well need fluids and/or a blood transfusion.

Dec. 1, 2020

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Four Months

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0 found helpful

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Big Belly

He has a big belly,white gums,he looks like tired,can't sleep properly and he makes sounds when we carry him.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my response, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Since I cannot see your pet, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be causing this, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Doberman Pinscher

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Eight Months

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Noisy Breathing

Can god survive

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without being able to see your dog, I don't have any way to know if they will be okay. If you think they are having breathing problems and you were worried about survival, it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian immediately. It will be able to examine your dog and see what's going on, and get treatment so that things get better. I hope everything is okay.

July 28, 2020

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Mix

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Three Years

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Tire, Not Eating Or Popping

my dog has been feeling down for a couple of days he will drink and play, but he hasn't been eating much. He hasn't been popping ither. I wonder what could be wrong??

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It is possible that he ate something that he wasn't supposed to, or that he has an intestinal infection, or a parasite. If he is not improving over the next day or two, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on and causing the problem, and get him treatment. I hope he feels better soon.

July 25, 2020

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Lab Mix

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Eight Years

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Pale Pink Gums

Hi,my fur baby has his second treatment of heartworm and maybe a few days after he finished his pills..his gum started to become white after sitting idle for too long. When he goes outside, get excited, or shocked they turn back to normal...but eventually they turn back to being pale/whitish...what should I do or what do you speculate is going on? I'm a student so I can not afford to take him to a vet or even consider doing a blood trans-fusion. He is old and he also had a bad reaction to pro-biotics they were giving him for an infection he had.

July 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Without seeing him, it is difficult to say what might be going on. If he seems like he is acting normally, is bright and happy generally, that gum color may be somewhat normal for him. His blood pressure may drop while he is sitting, but if it gets back up to normal when he is running around, I'm not sure that that's something to worry about. He may have some weird circulatory issues going on with the heartworm disease, and they may resolve once it is treated, it is hard to know. I think as long as he is doing well you were okay to watch him and be careful and keep an eye on him. I hope that all goes well.

July 22, 2020

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Ronnie

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Labrador Retriever

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Lethargic
White Gums

Ronnie often has a white tongue and gums... I am trying to track what it can be as bets have done blood test and came back that he was not anemic. I have noticed a small pattern in that he has white tongue and gums before going for a poo and then after has colour back. Other times it is random.

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Malikye

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Maltese Shih Tzu

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Tiredness
White Gums
Spewing
Little Eatin
Wakes Up Cold

Malikye has white/light pink gums he spews up yellow mucus everyday his always tired but still has energy they will come up red sometimes but they mainly stay white pink

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Zeus

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Siberian Husky

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2 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pale Gums
Brownish And Reddish Liquid Stool
Inability To Eat

Zeus started to eat very little, and by tomorrow he completely stopped eating, i gave him food but he won't eat. He has brown and reddish liquid stool. I checked his gums and they were as pale as his teeth. He won't play, stand up or wag his tail. When i opened his mouth, i found that there were signs to drooling. His she-friend pup was the complete opposite of him. Our house was too far to drive to the nearest veterenarian. We already had a german sheperd puppy who had the same symptoms as him, but died 4 days after it started. What can i do to lessen these symptoms, and Zeus will still be alive to send him to veterenarian on saturday? (Our time here is Monday)

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Porkchop

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German Shepherd/Saint Bernard mix

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7 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

White Gums

Porkchop is an outside dog and my parents refuse to keep his shots up to date and take him to the vet to see if anything is wrong. I noticed yesterday that his gums are really pale. I don’t know of any other issues because I don’t see him much since I’m at school. He is always lethargic so him laying in his doghouse most of the day is not uncommon. He also eats very little on a regular basis especially if it’s raining for some reason, so there’s no abnormal activity there. What should I do?

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Maybell

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Labrador Retriever

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

White Gums

I noticed my lab has white gums and is moping around. We just lost her pen mate 2 days ago. Could the white gums be from her mourning and not wanting to eat? She’s be in the same pen with the other dog for 5-6 years.

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