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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15647
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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S gums are pale. They are dry, he won't touch water, no

Customer Question

His gums are pale. They are dry, he won't touch water, no licking (which he usually does a lot). His stomach makes a gurgling sound, but he lets me touch his belly no problem.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long have his gums been pale?

Is he refusing food as well?

Any retching, gagging, lip licking or vomiting?

Any black stool or blood in his stool or vomit?

Any breathing changes?

Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, etc)?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

Hi again,

I have not heard back from you but am concerned about your lad. Therefore, I do want to leave my thoughts for your return.

If his gums are pale, this is a red flag of a serious issue. We can see this in dogs that have heart or lung issues but also those that are anemic or are internally bleeding. And I have to warn you that I am concerned about that last issue for your lad. Especially bleeding associated with the gut (since we have anorexia and gurgling of the stomach).

In regards ***** ***** for upper GI bleeds, the most common causes are stomach ulcers, stomach damage due to foreign body ingestion, adverse reaction to some medications, and stomach or intestinal tumors. And all of these issues could potentially cause nausea, anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, belly discomfort, and black feces.

With all this in mind, we do need to be proactive and aggressive in helping him (especially since we cannot see into his bleeding stomach to tell us if there is an ulcer about to perforate the stomach). Therefore, if possible, it would be ideal to get him to the vet urgently. They can help diagnose what is triggering his signs and get him onto some oral gastroprotectants (ie sucralfate) to coat any open stomach lesions, GI safe pain relief (ie bupenorphine, etc), and anti-vomiting medication to help us get him eating again (since an empty stomach means there is nothing for the stomach acid to digest but the stomach itself). Furthermore, they can fully examine him to ensure there is nothing else afoot putting him off food that could have caused this as a secondary issue.

If you cannot get him to the vet immediately, then I would say to at least consider treating him with an antacid to lower the stomach acid pH. These are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose @ or Zantac (More Info/Dose @ You will want to give these 20 minutes before offering food and under the circumstances you will want to treat every 8 hours. Of course, if he cannot even keep this down then injectable anti-vomiting and ulcer medication would be needed.

Overall, I am quite concerned about the signs you are seeing. Those pale gums a re a major worry and given the stomach signs we’d be most worried about a possible upper GI bleed. Therefore, it would be ideal to get him checked right away. If there is any delay in doing so, then do treat him with an antacid now and keep a close eye on for any emergency signs (ie belly pain or paling of his gums).

In this situation, it would be prudent to get your wee one to the emergency vet. To find your local ER veterinary clinic, you can check @ or

Please take care,

Dr. B.


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