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7 Reasons For Dog Black Gums That You Need To Know About

7 Reasons For Dog Black Gums That You Need To Know About

The biggest wish that every dog owner has is for their dog to be able to speak and communicate everything that is on their mind. Since this is unfortunately impossible, you need to check out the dog’s behavior.

Body language is something they use to tell us if something is either wrong or right. Dogs’ ear position, their tails, and general body stand can tell us a lot, but you need to know your dog properly.

But sometimes their body communicates for them. Has it ever crossed your mind to check the dog’s mouth? If the answer is no, don’t worry – you are not alone. A lot of people forget to check the inside of their dog’s mouth.

We understand why you do not want to be invasive and it can be kind of gross sometimes. But what if we tell you that their mouths speak a lot of things? And we do not mean barking.

Dogs’ teeth and gum coloration can tell you if there is something wrong with your dog. There are many colors that gums can turn but only certain colors are normal. Today we will be discussing black gums in dogs and what the black color tells us.

7 Reasons For Dog Black Gum

owner holding dog's jaw open

Everything that happens in a dog’s body tells a certain story. Some body changes can mean a good thing but unfortunately, many of them mean that something may potentially be wrong with your pooch.

Since we believe that you are an amazing dog owner and you know your dog well, you will be able to detect these changes quickly. For example, if you see your dog losing hair around its eyes you will react immediately.

This is something that is quite noticeable, but what about the changes that you can not detect that easily? Dog black gums are something that even the most observant dog owners do not catch immediately.

This discoloration can mean a couple of things and we have listed them all.

1. Lack Of Oxygen

If your dog has poor circulation the gums will change color, and in most of the cases they will turn black. Poor circulation means that there is a lack of oxygen in their bodies. This can be very dangerous.

This change of the gum color is quick, it almost happens overnight. You will also notice some more concerning behaviors besides the change in gum color.

Your dog will have problems breathing. If you notice both of the signs you will need to take your dog to the vet immediately. If you do not react fast, it can be fatal for your pooch.

Since difficulties in breathing, due to not having enough oxygen, will probably be the first thing you notice, always check the color of the gums. If you see the black appearing, react.

This can mean that your dog may have some lung abnormalities, congestive heart failure, and even red blood cell disorder. This can also be caused by a deformation in the respiratory system or by a respiratory infection.

This may not appear overnight and cause your dog harm immediately, but if left untreated for too long they can develop other health issues.

Keep your dog in places where there are no fungi or parasites, and try to keep them away from cigarette smoke. This can help keep your dog’s respiratory system healthy, but most of the problems are out of our hands.

If you see the term Cyanosis, do not get confused. This is just another, more professional way, to say deprivation of oxygen.

2. Sign Of Oral Cancer

owner looking at dog's teeth

If your dog has oral cancer the whole gum probably won’t change color. Melanoma is something that is not unusual to appear in a dog’s mouth, especially in older dogs.

This type of cancer will look like a lesion and it will mostly be black. It can appear to be the same color as the flesh, but black or purple is more common. This will be very apparent in pale gum because the black lesion will pop against the paleness.

Other signs of oral cancer are bad breath, bleeding from the mouth, lack of appetite, swollen face, and problems with chewing. This is one of the reasons why you should often check your dog’s mouth. You will be able to notice this black lesion sooner and by doing that, your dog will be treated sooner.

This type of cancer develops quite quickly so if you catch it on time, there is a chance that your dog will get back to normal.

What is also interesting about this melanoma is that it is more common in male dogs and even in certain dog breeds. Some of those dog breeds are Boxers, German Shepherds, Miniature Poodles, and Weimaraners.

There is no clear explanation as to why this cancer appears. There might be some genetic and environmental factors included, but this is not for sure.

3. Aging

As the dog ages, there will be some noticeable changes in their bodies. The color of your dog may change or they may get some dark spots, depending on the coat color. But the thing that can also change is gum color.

The gums will turn from pale pink to black and it can also affect the tongue as well. This can be scary to notice and a lot of people go to the vet, which is never a bad idea just to be sure. But this is a natural process.

Make sure that the whole gum changes color. If you see only parts of the gums turning black, the first thing you need to check is if there are any bumps on those black spots. If there are, it can be a sign of some health problems and, in this case, you need to take your dog to the vet.

If there are no bumps, it just means that the process of aging is slowly beginning. Even though many changes are normal, if you are not sure if everything is okay you can always contact the vet so you can sleep calmly at night.

4. Gingivitis


Gingivitis can be a sign that your dog has bad dental habits. Of course, dogs can not brush their own teeth, which means that the owner did not do the best job at keeping up with dental care which caused some dental health problems.

In this case, the gums won’t completely change in color but the dog will most likely get a black line on the gums right where the teeth end and the gums begin. This is a sign of gum disease.

The easiest way to explain this is that some bacteria found your dog’s mouth to be the perfect place to multiply and live. Besides the dog’s gum becoming black their teeth can turn yellow or even gray with tartar build up, and their breath can be very stinky.

If left untreated for a long time, the bacteria will destroy the roots of the teeth, and your dog may even start to lose its teeth. But there are even worse consequences.

If the bacteria develop both in quantity and ˝quality˝, meaning if they get stronger because the environment has allowed them, they can get to other parts of the body.

It can also cause pain in the gum tissue and your dog will be very uncomfortable. They might even refuse to eat, which by itself can cause many health problems.

A bad diet can also be the cause of Gingivitis. If you give your dog a lot of human food, especially junk food or spicy food, it can cause some dental issues. An interesting thing is that giving your dog a raw diet can help them with this problem, especially with dogs that are more prone to getting Gingivitis.

This all can happen because of bad dental hygiene, so make sure that you are cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly.

5. Periodontal Disease

This may be a bit confusing for some people but Periodontal disease is gum inflammation, and so is Gingivitis. So what is the difference? Periodontal disease usually comes with black spots and not just a black lining around the teeth, aka the gum line.

Periodontal disease happens when the bacteria has not only damaged the gums, but the bones as well. Stage one gum disease is Gingivitis and this stage is usually the one that does not get noticed a lot.

The other stages are tricky and they are in fact called Periodontal disease. Stage 4 is the most severe and tricky one because it can cause a lot of problems in the dog’s health.

A healthy dog will have gums that are a pink color. Dogs can also have red gums (bright red even), white gums, and dark gums (which include black or purple gums). When you have a young dog that has always had healthy gums that are bubble gum pink and you all of a sudden start to notice that the color is changing and getting darker, this is probably a sign that your dog is developing gum disease.

This is why pet owners need to have toothpaste and a toothbrush ready for their dogs every night. You can find both on Amazon, and there are many options to choose from. Oral health is very important. It is better to prevent some things rather than heal them.

6. Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin disease that is not fully researched when it comes to dogs. This skin disease causes the black pigment to appear in places like armpits, gums, and groins.

The armpits and groins that become darker will also become hairless and will have a thicker texture. These spots will be itchy for the dog, which can make them aggravated. The affected parts of the body can also become quite painful and even inflamed.

There can be an underlying cause of this skin disease and some of the causes are obesity, hypothyroidism, mange, bacterial or yeast infection, and allergic dermatitis.

Dachshunds are known to be prone to this skin disease.

7. It Is Their Natural Gum Pigmentation

owner checking out dog's teeth

One of the most common causes of dogs’ black gum is natural pigmentation. It is believed that dogs that are darker will have darker gums as well. But dogs that are lighter can also have naturally darker gums.

The gums can either be completely dark or even black, but they can also have black spots on the gums and even the tongue. This is something that can be noticed when they are puppies. If they have spots when they are young they can be a bit more difficult to notice.

But as they grow the spots will in most cases grow as well.

Here is a list of dogs that naturally have black gums:

– Shar Pei

– Irish Setter

– Mastiff breeds

– Golden Retriever

– Akita

– Australian Shepherd

– German Shepherd

– Doberman

– Labrador Retriever

– Newfoundland

– Rottweiler

– Pumi

– Komondor

– Chow Chow

What Is Capillary Refill Time?

owner checking out dogs teeths

This term might sound a bit scary but it is not, trust us. This is the time needed for the gums to change back to the original color after you pressed on them. There are many small blood vessels that are called capillaries in the gum.

When you apply pressure on a certain part of the gums, you will be able to notice that the color changes after you move your finger. The color will change from pink to white.

The time that the white part should turn pink again is 1.5 seconds or 2 seconds and it should not take longer than that.

This is hard to perform on dogs that have black gums.

To Sum It All Up

Observing your dog’s body language is very important. You can find out many things if you know your dog’s normal behavior. You can also find out a lot if you notice some changes on the dog’s body.

Checking your dog’s mouth may not pop into your mind but trust us – it is very important. Dog black gums can be an indicator of many things. We have listed some of the things that can potentially be dangerous if not caught on time.

If you see that your dog has black gums and has any other symptoms that are unusual for him or her, you should contact the vet immediately.


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