Why Does My Dog Have Black Gums?

Your dog’s gums are black because of a build-up of pigment on the surface of the gum tissue.

This can be caused by a number of things, including genetics, certain medications, and infections.

The most common reason for black gums is an infection with periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria from the mouth invade the tissues that support the teeth.

The bacteria can cause inflammation and irritation of the periodontium (gum tissue).

If left untreated, this can lead to loss of bone and tooth structure.

If you notice your dog has black gums, it’s important to have them checked out by a veterinarian.

The following list includes some of the more common causes of black gums in dogs:

  • Cancer
  • Genetic disorders
  • Infections such as bacterial or fungal infections
  • Medications
  • Trauma
  • Dental disease
  • Pregnancy

Black gums may also occur in puppies due to a lack of dental care during teething.

A puppy should receive regular checkups and cleanings throughout its life to prevent the development of these problems.

What Causes Black Gums in Dogs?

In this section we will discuss what causes your dog’s gums to turn black.

We will also cover when it is appropriate to see your vet about black gums if you suspect that one or more of these factors may be causing them.


Black gums are not always genetic.

They can occur as a result of a combination of genetics and other factors.

If you have heard that dogs with black gums are likely to pass down the condition to their offspring, this is true only if they inherit black gums from both parents.

If one parent has black gums and the other does not, the chances of your dog passing on the trait to its progeny drops significantly.

Certain Medications

Some medications can cause your dog to develop darkening of the teeth and gums, which look like black gums.

These include some antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine), antibiotics (such as erythromycin), and anticonvulsants (such as phenobarbital).


A bacterial infection called pyoderma is another possible culprit.

It occurs most often in puppies, but can affect older dogs too.

The bacteria that causes this disease lives in the skin folds of the body, such as around the tail, ears, and under the jaw.

Once the bacteria enter the bloodstream, it spreads throughout the entire body.

This type of infection is usually treated successfully with an antibiotic, but if left untreated, it can lead to serious complications including gangrene and death.

Signs of pyoderma include fever, pain, swelling, redness, and discoloration of the affected area.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.

When to See a Vet

If your dog has been having problems with their gums, you should see the vet as soon as possible.

While many dogs experience some degree of gum bleeding every now and then, it is important to make sure that the problem doesn’t get out of control.

If your dog is experiencing severe pain or discomfort, it is best to take them to the vet right away.

The vet will likely recommend a blood test to ensure that there isn’t an underlying medical condition causing the problem.

While there are a few different ways to treat this issue, most cases will require surgery.

While this may seem like a scary prospect, surgery is usually very successful at removing any buildup, and it can often prevent more serious issues from developing in the future.

There are several different types of surgeries available to remove excess gum tissue.

For example, if the problem is related to a periodontal disease, the veterinarian may recommend a flap surgery.

This type of procedure involves making an incision along the gum line and lifting up the tissue to expose the roots of the teeth.

Once the roots have been exposed, the dentist can carefully clean out the area around the root using special tools.

Afterward, the incision is closed back up, and the patient goes home.

Another option is called a tooth extraction.

In this case, the dentist removes the affected tooth, and then sutures up the gums while they heal.

This is a quick and easy way to address the problem without requiring a lengthy recovery time or surgery.

Treatment for Black Gums

If your dog has black gums and you suspect that this is due to an infection or other medical condition, it’s important to see a vet as soon as possible.

You don’t want to wait until the problem gets worse.

The sooner you get treatment, the better!

Here are some of the most common causes of black gums in dogs and what you should do if you notice them.

Dental disease

If your dog has dental disease, their gums will have discolored teeth and may bleed easily when they brush their teeth.


Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, which may lead to bleeding and gum damage.

It’s usually accompanied by plaque buildup around the teeth, so it’s important to keep your dog brushing regularly.


An infection in the mouth may also cause gums to become discolored.

In addition to cleaning your dog’s teeth frequently, you can use home remedies such as apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon per 10 cups of water) to help treat infected gums.

Liver disease

Liver disease can cause your dog’s liver to produce excess bile acids, which can result in a darkening of the gums.

Bile acids can also accumulate in the gallbladder, causing it to swell and block the flow of bile into the intestines, which can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

Kidney disease

When your dog has kidney disease, their urine can turn black from the accumulation of urea in the blood.

While this isn’t a direct cause of black gums, it does make it harder for your dog to heal any existing infections.

Certain medications

Some prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and even supplements can cause black gums.

However, if your dog is taking these types of medications, you won’t know until you see your vet.


A genetic predisposition for developing black gums could be due to a variety of different factors.

For example, black gums might be inherited from one parent, while another parent might pass along a gene that causes excessive melanin production.

Bleeding disorder

Dogs with bleeding disorders may bleed excessively from their gums, which leads to them having discolored gums.

There are many ways to prevent your dog’s gums from becoming discolored.

Home Remedies for Black Gums

If your dog has black gums, you should consult with your veterinarian about what is causing them.

If they have been there long enough that it is interfering with eating or playing, then it may be time to start treatment.

The following home remedies may help relieve some of the symptoms associated with black gums.

  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt water
  • Baking soda
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Aloe vera juice
  • Cayenne pepper

These may also help prevent further buildup of plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth.

To do this, brush their teeth daily, and use products such as toothpaste containing baking soda, salt, and lemon juice (as well as other ingredients) to fight off any bacteria that may cause tartar buildup.

For more information on how to treat black gums, read on to find out more about home remedies.

Prevention of Black Gums

You should make sure your dog has regular dental care, especially if they have a history of bad teeth or poor hygiene.

Regular brushing is one way to help keep their teeth clean, but you can also use special toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps prevent cavities and strengthen enamel.

You might also consider giving them an oral rinse after brushing to remove any remaining food particles from their teeth.

If your dog is prone to chewing on objects, such as toys, bones, or clothing, you can put some rubber bands around these items to discourage this behavior.

When you do give your dog treats, try cutting them into smaller pieces so they don’t have much room to chew on them before swallowing.

And remember not to leave any tempting snacks out where your dog can see them!

There are a few things you can do to minimize plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth, including making sure they brush their teeth twice daily with a soft bristled brush.

If they seem reluctant to let you brush their teeth, try using a water spray bottle to gently mist their mouth when you brush.

It will help to get rid of any leftover food particles, and it may even reduce their tendency to chew on their own paws.

Another good idea would be to give them a once-a-month bath and brush.

The shampoo will wash away anything stuck in their fur and the brushes will remove any loose dirt or debris.

Finally, you might consider getting your dog used to the feeling of having their teeth examined.

Start by holding a treat just out of reach for them to see.

Then slowly move it closer until they start pushing against it with their tongue.

After that, you can hold a piece of food between your thumb and forefinger while gently moving it back and forth across their teeth.

They may take longer than usual to catch on to this exercise, but over time they will learn to open their mouths wide enough to allow you to examine their teeth without touching them.


The best way to prevent your pet from having black gums is to keep them clean.

Regular brushing will help remove any debris that may have accumulated inside their mouth, as well as any food particles or plaque that has built up.

If you notice that your pet’s teeth aren’t moving properly, this could also be an indication of gum disease.

If there is excess tartar buildup or if the area around your pet’s gums becomes red, swollen, tender, or painful, it’s time to see your veterinarian for a check-up.

In addition to regular dental care, here are some other reasons why your dog might have black gums.

Megan Turner

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