Jessie was alert, but seemed lazy. I checked her gums and they went white and stayed white. I rushed her to the vet, who diagnosed her as having a tumour that was blocking her circulation.
Three-year old Zack was unsteady on his feet and lethargic. I checked his gums and they went brick red. I rushed him to the vet, who said he had suffered a stroke.
Your dog’s gums are a window to their health. If you suspect a medical problem, lift your dog’s lip and press the gums just above their teeth. By doing this the blood is forced out of the small capillaries under the skin, and you’re able to see the “capillary refill time”. If the gums stay white or take two seconds or more to return to their normal pink colour, or if the gums are bright, firey red, your dog could be experiencing a serious medical emergency.
If you suspect your dog is ill, check their gums. If they don’t return to their normal colour quickly, get immediate veterinary care.