Enlarged Gums in Dogs

PetMD Editorial
Aug 20, 2008
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Gingival Hyperplasia in Dogs

Gingival hyperplasia refers to a medical conditon in which a dog's gum (gingival) tissue becomes inflamed and enlarged. Enlargement is typically caused by irritation due to dental plaque or other bacterial growth along the gum line. In many cases, this can be prevented with good oral hygiene habits. This enlargement is typical in dogs, and while it can occur in any breed, Boxers, Great Danes, Collies, Doberman Pinschers, and Dalmatians appear to be especially prone to developing an inflammation of the gums.

Symptoms and Types

  • Common symptoms of  gingival hyperplasia include:
  • Thickening of the gums
  • Increase in the height of the gums
  • Pockets developing in the gums
  • Areas of inflammation in the gums
  • Growth or tissue mass formation on the gum line


The most common cause of gum enlargement (gingival hyperplasia) is bacteria and plaque along the gum line. If left untreated this disease can also affect the bones and structures supporting the teeth (periodontal disease).


This medical condition is often diagnosed during a routine inspection of the dog's mouth. If there is a mass present, a biopsy of tissue taken from the mass will likely be performed to rule out or confirm the presence of cancer (neoplasia). X-ray images may also be taken to rule out the presence of other potentially serious underlying medical conditions.

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