What Causes Black Gums in Yorkshire Terrier?

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Looking out for significant changes in Yorkshire terrier’s behavior, body, and appearance makes it easier for people to detect possible health risks and problems. One of the few things to look out for is Yorkshire terrier’s gum color. People often ask, what causes black gums in Yorkshire terriers?

Here’s what you need to find out.

What Causes Black Gums in Yorkshire Terrier?

Yorkshire terriers have naturally black gums due to the black pigment in their mucus membrane within their gums. This black pigment came from Yorkie’s genetics since their coats have black and tan colors.

Yorkshire terrier with cute collar and ribbon

While there are dog breeds other than Yorkshire terriers that have naturally black gums, most breeds usually have their gums in pink color. Black or dark-colored Yorkie gums usually indicate health problems for a lot of dog breeds. With that, it is important to check for additional signs other than gum discoloration. 

Health Risks in Having Unnaturally Black Gum in Yorkshire Terrier

Despite having natural black gum, Yorkie is not immune to gum discoloration. Even though it might be hard to detect if the Yorkshire terriers’ gum has turned into unnaturally black gum, other signs such as losing teeth, bad breath and plaque accumulation can be observed.

Here are some of the possible health risks incorporated with unnaturally black gum in Yorkies:

  • Gum disease – Yorkie can have unusually black gum due to oral problems with the early signs of bad breath and gum bleeding. In most cases, the bad breath results from teeth infections
  • Skin disease – skin disease and discoloration can also affect Yorkie’s gum color which can turn into black over time.
  • Gingivitis – aside from black gum, gingivitis can be characterized with formation of black line on the gum surrounding the Yorkie’s teeth which can also cause inflammation.
  • Periodontal tumors – tumors can grow within Yorkie’s periodontal area which can cause dark discoloration of the gum. These tumors can be cancerous so veterinary supervision needs in these kinds of cases.
  • Melanoma – melanoma is the most common type of oral tumor or cancer in Yorkies. This can also be detected through dark gum discoloration.

Things to Do for Yorkshire Terrier With Unusually Black Gum

Dog’s health can reflect through their gum color and oral condition. Finding out whether or not Yorkies suffer from unnatural black gum or other gum discoloration is the first step towards the process of maintaining their overall health. With that, there are a lot of necessary steps to do so Yorkshire terriers can prevent diseases that come with gum discoloration and poor oral condition.

Being knowledgeable about the possible symptoms characterized by their gum’s change in color can help with detecting early health conditions and diseases that can be fatal for them. Thus, in order for your Yorkie to have a healthy and long lifespan ahead, one should be able to address their needs and maintain their needs, especially in their dental care.

Cute Yorkshire terrier showing her tongue

Check The Gum and Oral Condition

The best and simplest way to detect problems such as black gum discoloration is to always monitor the Yorkshire terrier’s dental health and gum condition. For instance, looking out if your Yorkie has bad breath, plaque accumilation, as well as bleeding gums can prevent gum discoloration especially in its early stages.

Moreover, you can create a better oral condition regime for your Yorkies if oral problems like mentioned are detected early. You can easily address their oral problems particularly though veterinary supervision as black gum is a significant sign of a more serious and dangerous health issue that should be addressed immediately.

A vet can use X-rays to check early signs of gum discoloration and other teeth diseases due to their ability to pass through the flesh and less dense objects. X-rays can also help in finding complex oral problems that might not be discovered with simple oral exams. This checkup can identify a black gum problem during the early stages, which makes its treatment much easier.

Pay Attention to Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is an oral condition that results in a loss of a tooth or teeth and sometimes ends up causing discoloration of the gum. Fortunately, understanding the following common causes of tooth loss can help you prevent it and prevent the discoloration of the gum:

  • Cavities: These are holes that mainly result from bacterial infections, which later turn into tooth decay. If not taken seriously, the pulp on top of the dog’s teeth eventually gets destroyed, resulting in the loss of teeth.
  • Trauma: Trauma is a physical injury that happens due to accidents or fights. For instance, dogs might lose their teeth while playing or when defending themselves from enemies. Trauma should be checked by a dental care specialist.

Give the Dog Regular Dental Treats

Dental treats involve chews and activities that help to keep the Yorkie’s teeth clean and prevent tartar and plaque from building up on the gum line. Plaque is a sticky substance that tends to form on the gum of the Yorkshire terrier’s gum within some hours after taking a meal. 

If the plaque is left unattended for more than 24 hours, the presence of saliva and salts in the mouth of your Yorkie Shire makes it harden, transforming into tartar which turns black in color on the gum. Some of the tips you can use to prevent a build-up of tartar and plague include

  • Use chews approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council as they are specifically designed to keep a good oral condition for your Yorkshire Terriers dog. 
  • To keep the Yorkie gum from turning black, regularly brush the dog’s teeth, possibly after every meal. This will keep the Yorkie’s teeth clean and prevent the plaque and tartar from accumulating on the Yorkie’s gum line.
  • In case you feed the dog while away from home, such as when in the park, and you don’t carry the dog’s brush along with you, use your index finger to remove the plaque from the gum lining of the Yorkie.

Visit a Vet for Dental Checkups

Some foodstuffs that are linked to chemical and toxic substances might lead to the blackening of the gum. In this case, you will need to involve a veterinary dentist because regular dental treats and washing may not be effective enough to remove the black coloring from the gum.

For instance, some bacterial infections like kennel and leptospirosis in dogs are treated using minocycline, a class of medicine that belongs to the tetracycline antibiotics, and it sometimes causes the blackening of the gum. The condition is treated using different medications to remove the effect of minocycline from the gum.

Little Yorkshire terrier playing in garden

That means the Yorkie needs the intervention of a veterinary dentist for a diagnostic test and professional cleaning. The vet might also check for periodontal diseases that might also cause the black gum in dogs, such as gingivitis, Melanoma, and periodontal tumors. 

Use Preventive Measures

Black gum usually occurs because of poor veterinary dental care, particularly in Yorkshire terriers. Maintaining the veterinary dental care routine at its best will prevent problems like gum discoloration and other serious health issues to occur. Here are some of the best ways to maintain a good oral condition in dogs:

  • Brush Yorkshire terrier’s teeth at least twice daily or three times a week minimum to prevent plaque buildup and bad breath. You can brush the Yorkie’s teeth using regular dog teeth brushes you can find in pet shops.
  • If your Yorkie is not fond of toothbrushes, you can use Yorkie’s teeth wipes or your index finger. It is used to wipe off the plaques in the Yorkie’s teeth. This can be a good alternative to Yorkshire terriers who hate having their teeth brushed to maintain their dental hygiene.
  • Offer Yorkie dogs dental healthy treats available in pet shops. These treats are specifically designed to keep plaques away from Yorkie’s teeth and improve their breath.
  • You can get dog chews for your Yorkies to play with as most of them have teeth-cleaning properties which can help maintain their dental hygiene.
  • Make your Yorkies teeth undergo a professional cleaning every once in a while. This to ensure their overall dental care routines as veterinarians are the most capable to detect problems that I cannot observe.
  • Apply oral sealants, possibly on a weekly basis, to the dog’s rinses to reduce tartar and plaque accumulation on the gum. This will help to prevent gum discoloration or bleeding gums. 

Create a Healthier Diet

Yorkshire terrier’s diet is one of the most crucial things to consider especially with regards to their overall wellbeing, particularly their dental health. You can choose a dental diet approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). If you want to focus on taking care of yorkshire terrier’s dental health.

In addition, you can avoid giving your Yorkies foods that are prone to stick to Yorkie’s teeth such as cereals and grains. Instead, you can feed them foods like meat, vegetables, and fruits that are safe from them. It will not only help prevent plaque buildup. Moreover, it will also give them various vitamins and minerals that can boost their health.

Retarding agents, also referred to as food and water additives, can also be used to prevent plaque and tartar accumulation on the gum of your Yorkshire terrier. You can add them in liquid form in drinking water or in powder form in food. This will help in maintaining the natural gum color of your dog. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Dog’s Gum Turning Black?

Gum discoloration characterized by black spots, unusual gum color, or black lines are common signs of oral cancer or other serious oral diseases. Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers among dogs. Which is why it is important to always monitor a dog’s dental health and maintain their oral conditions healthy.

What Color Are Yorkies Gum Supposed to Be?

Yorkshire terrier’s gum is genetically dark in color. In Yorkie’s case, its gum is black because the coat is usually black, if not than or reddish, in color.  Dog’s gum can have different colors depending on their genes. However, black or dark gums in dogs can be a significant indication of health and oral problems.

What Is the Color of a Sick Dog’s Gum?

The gum’s color might change to white or pink due to sudden loss of blood or poor blood circulation. If the gum turns bright red in color, it could be that your Yorkie is overheating or having microorganism infections. Sometimes gingivitis or gum inflammation leads to red color on the gum.


A Yorkie has natural black gum that runs in its genetic breed. However, it can also suffer from health conditions characterized by black gum discoloration if its dental care routine is compromised. Thus, it is necessary to maintain its oral conditions to prevent health problems such as oral cancer and gum disease.