Why are we talking about dog tongues? It may seem odd, but you would be shocked at how much your dog's tongue can tell you. Your dog’s tongue isn’t just for eating, drinking, and licking. What their tongue looks like and how they use it can provide valuable insight into their health, behavior, and hygiene.
Dog tongue colors can be especially indicative of various health concerns. Here are three facts about dog tongues and what they may be telling you.
For the most part, a healthy dog’s tongue should be colored pink. However, there are a few dog breeds who are an exception to this rule. Some dog breeds have tongues of a different color, naturally.
If your dog isn’t a breed that has a naturally differently-colored tongue and their tongue isn’t a healthy pink, it could be an indication of cancer, diabetes, or another disease. Here are what some of those other dog tongue colors might indicate:1
Chow chows and shar-peis have completely blue-black tongues. The Eurasier and the Thai ridgeback breeds may also have solid or spotted blue tongues. If your dog’s tongue is blue, is spotted,or you see a single black spot on dog tongues, it’s typically not a cause for concern. These pigmented skin cells on the tongue are completely normal and are comparable to a birthmark.1
If your dog has a purple tongue, that may be a sign of low oxygen in their blood called hypoxia, typically caused by a heart condition or a circulation problem.1
If your dog has a red tongue, it can mean a variety of different things. They may be overheating, dehydrated, or experiencing hypertension. They could also have an infection of some sort.
It could also be stomatitis, which just means inflammation of the tongue. Stomatitis can point to underlying health conditions like diabetes, cancer, or bladder stones.1
If your dog has a yellow tongue, that’s often a sign of liver or gallbladder problems. Similar to how humans with liver problems can turn yellow. This is called jaundice, and it’s similar to how humans with liver problems could have a more yellow hue in their skin.1
If your dog has a pale or white tongue, this generally points to something blood-related. They may be anemic or have internal bleeding. It can also be a sign of leukemia, which is a cancer in the blood and bone marrow.1