Meaning of the coloration of the mucous membranes of dogs

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The color of the dog's mucous membranes It helps us to quickly and easily identify a possible alteration in the animal's vital signs. The mucous membranes are the transitional tissues between the dermis and the internal system, highly vascularized areas, so it is easy to observe the peripheral blood circulation, the blood volume or the degree of hydration.

In this AnimalWised article we will explain the meaning of the coloration of the mucous membranes of dogs, how you can observe them and other relevant details to take into account if they are altered and other symptoms appear.

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  1. How to see the mucous membranes of the dog?
  2. Pale or anemic mucous membranes
  3. Congestive mucosa
  4. Cyanotic mucosa
  5. Icteric mucosa
  6. What to do if our dog has altered mucous membranes?

How to see the mucous membranes of the dog?

exist three zones of the body where we can observe well the mucous membranes of the dog:

  1. Gums: we can observe the gums by lifting the upper lip of the dog, however, some dogs show the gums of a dark color and it prevents us from seeing the real color of the mucous membranes.
  2. Inner side of the eyelids: we will make a certain inversion of the eyelid with the thumb. As with the gums, the inner face of the eyelid can be dark in color, so we will have to resort to the genital area.
  3. Genitals: the glans should be exteriorized or the vulvar fold should be inverted. If you do not have experience, it can be difficult to do.

We will know that the mucous membranes of a dog are normal when we observe them pink, wet and shiny and with a TRC (capillary refill time) not exceeding two seconds. Dry mucous membranes or mucous membranes showing abnormal CRT suggest an abnormality in peripheral circulation and may be caused by shock or dehydration in the dog..

Capillary refill time

Calculating the capillary refill time is very simple, we will only need press with your finger on the mucosa (genital or buccal), which will turn white. After two seconds it should regain its pink color.

In the case of observing a mucosa of an abnormal color, it is always advisable to assess a second mucosa, in this way we can detect a possible local or generalized variation.

Pale or anemic mucous membranes

We will observe the white mucous membranes. Indicates a decrease in blood flow or red blood cells. It is common in dogs that are in shock, dogs that suffer from internal bleeding, or those that have suffered poisoning.


Congestive mucosa

We will observe the mucous membranes of deep red color. They indicate an increase in blood flow and the cause of this color may be related to heat stroke..


Cyanotic mucosa

We will observe the mucous membranes of blue or purple color, indicate a lack of oxygen in the blood. It can be caused by suffocation or poisoning.


Icteric mucosa

We will observe the mucous membranes of yellow color. Indicates an increase in bilirubin values ​​and can be caused by many causes, ranging from intoxication to hemolysis.


What to do if our dog has altered mucous membranes?

If we observe congestive or cyanotic mucous membranes, we must go to the vet immediately, since it is a urgency. However, the other colorations are no less important, we will call our trusted veterinarian to communicate the situation and see what measures to take.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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