Why Does My Dog Have Black Spots on His Gums?

By John Martin - May 3, 2021

Dog with black spots on gums

While playing with your excited pet, you happen to notice some unusual black spots in his mouth. Are you concerned about those mysterious black spots present on your pooch’s gums? Is the paw-rent soul in you making you feel worried about something possibly being wrong?

Well, jumping to such negative conclusions is never okay. However, ignoring the same might not be a wise decision too.

Why and How Does the Black Spots Occur?

A pigmented mouth in canines is not something unique or rare. In fact, there are around thirty different breeds of dogs that are born with such pigmentation in their mouths. There is a possibility that they were left unnoticed, or they have suddenly appeared out of the blue.

If genetics are not involved, pay attention to the nature of the spots. Flat black pigments can be purely cosmetic.

In case of inflammation or any other associated symptoms, it is important to consult the vet for relevant advice. It can be a sign of some periodontal disease.

Black spots or not, maintaining oral hygiene is necessary. Your pup is born with a pink, minty fresh mouth. It is your responsibility to help him carry the same by taking the necessary care and precautions.

Are the Black Spots on My Dog’s Gums Normal?

The answer to this question may vary with different dog breeds. The black spots formed inside a dog’s mouth can be a result of heavy pigmentation. The reason for this pigmentation can be either genetics or some oral health problems.

For a few breeds, it is absolutely normal to have some amount of pigmentation in their mouths. The reason for the same is their gene make up, thus making the feature natural in existence.

Some well-known domesticated breeds, which are known to have some amount of pigmentation in their mouths, are as follows:

  • Dalmatians
  • Dobermans
  • German shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiffs
  • Chow Chow
  • Rottweilers
  • Pitbulls
  • Pomeranians
  • Akitas
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Shar Peis
  • Newfoundlands

This list is not exhaustive in nature. However, this does not guarantee the fact that your dog should have pretty pink gums.

In case the dog does not belong to any of the mentioned breeds, one should examine if the black spots on the gums are flat or raised. If these spots are flat, you can sit back and catch the breath you lost in fear.

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Should I Be Worried If the Spots Are Raised?

The appearance of raised black spots on the gums can be a matter of concern. If the spots aren’t old and are puffed up in appearance, it is better to get a consultation and go for the required treatment.

What Are the Possible Reasons for Pigmentation on My Dog’s Gums?

There can be multiple reasons for the occurrence of pigmentation on your dog’s gum. Before beginning to freak out, look for a pen or marker in a chewed condition.

First of all, you need panic or worry about the black spots seen in you doggo. Try to understand the cause and then find the cure!

Your pooch might have gotten a bit playful and got an ink leak in his mouth. If you are unable to locate one, then here are a few possibilities that can lead to spotting on the gums.


The condition of cyanosis is not significantly associated with black spots on the gums. In cyanosis, the dog’s gums will show a bluish discoloration. The primary reason for cyanosis is a restricted supply of oxygen to the gums.

This can be due to some abnormality in the circulatory system, causing the mixing of oxygenated blood with deoxygenated blood. If you observe symptoms similar to this is advisable to consult a vet immediately to determine the underlying problem.


Gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease. It is associated with inflammation in the gums and blackening around the teeth areas. It is a bacterial disease that is caused by plaque and tartar deposits on the teeth.

The disease can be easily prevented by regular as well as professional teeth cleaning of the dog, similar to what is done by humans. In case of advanced symptoms like swollen and blackened gums, loosening of teeth, or bad breath, it is advisable to check with the vet and start the necessary treatment.

Periodontal Tumors

As mentioned earlier, raised black spots on the gums can be a sign of something serious. These black bumps could mean a periodontal tumor is located in the gums.

Epulis is one common periodontal benign tumor found in the gums of canines. These tumors hold the capability of invading the nearby regions of the oral tissue. Thus, in case of raised structure, consult with your vet to be sure.

Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a condition of hyperpigmentation that can occur on the dog’s skin. The condition can also be visible on the gums and tongue.

These spots can be purely cosmetic and require no treatment at all. But in case you observe soft hairless dark spots, consult the vet to be sure it is nothing to worry about.

Acanthomatous Ameloblastoma

Acanthomatous ameloblastoma is one of the most common oral cancers found in canines. If the black spots on the gums are raised, then a possible suspicion of canine Acanthomatous ameloblastoma is possible.

On consultation, the vet first checks the histology of the diagnosis and then stages the tumor based on the classification laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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What Can I Do to Prevent the Occurrence of Any Periodontal Diseases?

To avoid the occurrence of periodontal diseases, it is necessary to know what periodontal diseases are!

Your pet is likely to suffer from periodontal disease when there is an infection in the gums, the tissue that supports the gum. Periodontal diseases commonly occur in the case where the brushing habit is not regular.

Since the mouth is the hub of bacteria, improper cleaning can cause infections. The reason for this infection is the build-up of plaque or tartar layer over the teeth of the canine. It not just deteriorates the teeth but also causes infection in the gums.

An infection can be easily avoided if you are vigilant about your pet’s oral hygiene.

Here are a few things that you can do as a caring paw-rent to prevent any oral medical complications.

  • Brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. Make sure that the brush and the toothpaste that you are using is used for dogs. Products designed for humans might have side effects on the canine. Your dog might also completely dislike the flavor of the paste. As a result, you will struggle a lot more in developing the brushing ritual. It is not worth the risk! Make sure your dog is relaxed and comfortable with the action of brushing. Rushing into it or doing it, forcefully might end up hurting your dog as well as you.
  • Go for professional teeth clean-up as well. Even though you might be very regular and thorough with cleaning your canine’s teeth, a professional cleaning will work as a security net against any dental problem. As per the pet health network’s report, the vet’s annual cleaning procedure is good enough to maintain a healthy mouth. During this procedure, the vet might also take a dental X-ray. An X-ray can give clarity about any underlying problem that can go unnoticed by basic inspection.
  • Proper nutrition is another significant aspect of maintaining oral hygiene and wellness. A balanced meal containing all the required nutrients is essential on a daily basis. Most of the dog foods are formulated by considering oral health. Good quality dog food can help minimize the occurrence of plaque and tartar build-up, which can further reduce the chances of any infection.
  • Dental sticks are another way of maintaining the dog’s oral health and keeping a fresh breath. Chewing on dental sticks can reduce the tartar and plaque build-up by almost 70%. One stick on a daily basis can help in preventing infection due to plaque deposits.
  • Another fun way of maintaining your dog’s oral health is to let him play with chew toys. If a dog chews actively, the chances of plaque accumulation are reduced significantly. There are many chew toy options available that provide hours of joy and keep the mouth healthy and fresh.
  • Inspect the mouth of your pet on a regular basis. Sometimes, certain symptoms can go unnoticed as they were never present in the direct line of sight. Therefore, a routine inspection can help avoid any medical surprises.

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To Sum Up

Black spots on gums are not always a sign of worry. Before jumping to conclusions and stressing yourself about your dog’s health, check out his genetic history. There can be a possibility that their gene line meets with a breed in which pigmentation of gums is common.

With some essential dental habits and regular examination of the mouth, you can protect your pooch from innumerable oral health complications.