Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

In this lesson, we're going to discuss a vital sign that you should be checking regularly, and one that you may not have considered important – gum color. At the end of this lesson, we're going to provide you with a Word about some foot problems common in pets, and more specifically, broken nails.

Gum color is another thing you'll want to be familiar with on your cats and dogs. As we've already said, and will continue to repeat, you have to know what's normal with your pet before you can determine what's abnormal. Being able to distinguish between the two will help you recognize when something isn't right.

Normal Gum Color

Healthy gums in both cats and dogs will have a nice bubble gum pink color. However, don't mistake areas of pigmentation for gum color.

Pro Tip: When assessing your pet's gums, focus on the larger areas of the gums as a whole, rather than those pigmented spots and smaller areas. This pigmentation is normal, so don't be alarmed if your pet has some.

How to Check Your Pet's Gums

The easiest way to assess gum color in your cats or dogs is to gently peel back the upper lip and take a quick peek. It may help if your pet isn't feeling hyperactive and is in a more docile state, say, after chasing the mailman around the block a couple of times.

You might recall from the corresponding video for this lesson, Quinn had some pigmented areas, but overall, his gums were a light bright pink color in general. This is the color you want to see. So, if you don't remember, watch that video again to see exactly the color your looking for in your pet's gums.

Warning: If while checking your pet's gums you notice a different color – white, pale pink, blue, or other colors – this isn't normal. If you do find any abnormalities in your pet's gums, it's time to examine the rest of your cat or dog.

If your pet's gums do look abnormal, you'll want to check the following:

  • Other vital signs
  • How your pet is doing/feeling
  • How your pet is behaving

If you notice more abnormalities, this should be an indication that something could be wrong. It also should warrant a trip to the vet's office.

A Word About Foot Problems and Broken Nails

Foot problems in pets is common, as any professional dog walker will tell you. It's something they encounter regularly. And chief among those problems is broken nails.

Broken nails may not sound serious, but they can be. And they can be very painful for your pet. There are a lot of nerves in that area and also a good amount of blood supply, so you may notice a good deal of bleeding if your pet breaks a nail.

The first sign of trouble will often be a limp. If your dog or cat is suddenly walking differently, you may want to check their nails.

It's also important to note that infection is a possibility, and broken nails tend to vary in severity depending on where they break. If you want to know when you should see a vet, read the entire article by dog expert Cara Armour.

Prevention is Key

How do you prevent broken nails? Well, there's no way to entirely prevent them, as this can happen any time – while digging, playing on snow and ice, chasing a ball over rough terrain, etc.

However, the best way to prevent broken nails is to keep them short, as Cara does with her pets. She makes it a weekly ritual, and she's been doing this since her cats and dogs were kittens and pups. So, they're accustomed to it. (Even though they're used to it, she still rewards them afterward.)

For a great read on how to trim your pet's nails, check out our blog post on the subject – Nails: Tips on Taking Off the Tips.