Black Gums in Dogs – Is It a Dangerous Symptom?


Black pigmented gums in dogs is a common occurrence. Sometimes the color change gradually, and in some cases the condition can rapidly evolve in a short period of time. Whether such phenomenon is a pathology or a norm is described in the article.


There may be physiological reasons for the darkening of the gums, which can be sometimes  attributed to the coloring of the pet. If its wool is dark, it is likely that the skin and mucous membranes will also turn a darker shade. Such pigmentation can manifest in black spots on the skin under the coat and even in the mouth cavity, namely, on the gums, in the palate and under the tongue. They may be congenital or develop as the animal matures. This phenomenon is genetically determined and is of no danger to the animal’s health.

Pathological Causes for Dog Gums Going Black

  1. gums are going black in dogsNecrotization This pathology develops gradually and can go unnoticed for a long time. In this case, the necrosis of the tissue is most often caused by a neglected inflammatory process. Other possible causes are thermal injuries, frostbites, prolonged squeezing of blood vessels, and apoplexy. Due to necrosis, the sensitivity in the affected area is completely absent.
  2. Hemorrhage in the mucous membranes. Such a phenomenon occurs due to burns, injuries left by corrosive chemicals, bone cracks or progressive tartar. It is also possible to provoke a hemorrhage if you brush your dog’s teeth with a too stiff brush.
  3. Gingivitis ulcerosa. The disease is caused by bacteria, accompanied by the appearance of poorly healing ulcers on the gums and partial tissue necrosis.
  4. Melanoma. In rare cases, blackening of tissues in the dog’s mouth can indicate cancer.

Concomitant Symptoms

If you observe in a pet the following signs in addition to dog gums turning black:

  • gums pigmented black in dogsExamination of the oral cavity is obviously painful and unpleasant to the dog.
  • Difficulty in eating. The animal can sit for a long time over a bowl of food, without touching it, or all of a sudden take preference to soft types of food.
  • Blood-tinged discharge from the animal’s mouth, which can be found on wool or in drinking bowl.
  • Fever (if the inflammatory process has already developed).
  • Heavy odor coming from the oral cavity, which is constantly present.
  • Behavioral changes, the obvious desire to hide.

These symptoms do not necessarily appear all at once, most often only some of them will manifest themselves. In case of necrotization, the affected blackened area will not cause pain to the animal. With hemorrhage, the gums darken and become burgundy, almost black. The condition is accompanied by swelling, inflammation and pain. When ] the blackened area is touched, the pet resists and whines. This condition may lead to tooth loss, pain when chewing solid foods, weight loss. Particularly susceptible are small ornamental breeds with weak immunity. Concomitant symptoms of gingivitis ulcerosa are putrid odor from the mouth, bleeding and swelling.

What Should Be Done if Your Dog Has Blackened Gums?

To assess the condition of the oral cavity, lift the upper lip while simultaneously pulling the lower jaw down. If the dog’s gums have indeed turned black, it is best to consult a veterinarian, especially if the pet has difficulty chewing food and is showing signs of pain. Treatment is not required when dark spots on the mucous membranes of the mouth are due to the genetic color of the dog, no swelling or ulcers can be observed, and the nutritional habits remain unchanged. If the problem lies with dental pathologies, the animal may need dental treatment, such as removal of tartar. It is performed under local anesthesia.

If a bacterial infection is suspected in the oral cavity, antibiotic drugs are prescribed. Necrosis can only be treated by surgical excision of necrotic areas. An important stage of therapy is to restore blood flow in the surrounding tissues, increase the body’s defenses, as well as eliminate foci of infection. By means of the preventive treatment, we can offer the following recommendations:

  1. gums turning black in dogsregularly and carefully check the mouth cavity of the animal;
  2. keep your pet on a healthy diet alternating hard and soft foods;
  3. avoid mouth cavity injury by eliminating sharp bones from the pet’s meals;
  4. brush the dog’s mouth with a soft brush using special toothpastes;
  5. timely treat dental diseases  (gingivitis, periodontitis), to eliminate possibility of necrosis.

Blackening of the gums is common in domestic animals: cats, dogs, etc.. The main recommendation in this case is to bring the animal for scheduled check-ups to the veterinary and provide timely treatment.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My 9-year old puppy seems very happy and he isn’t experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. However, I have noticed that his gums are turning a little black.

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