3 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Dog’s Tongue

3 min read Jan 12, 2022

Why are we talking about our dog’s tongue? It may seem odd, but you would be shocked at how much you may not know about your it. There’s always more to learn, and always more for our dogs to teach us.   

As you clearly know, your dog uses his or her tongue every day to drink water, eat food, and maybe even get into things they are not supposed to. Continue reading as we look into 3 facts you might not know about your pup’s tongue.

Fact 1: Dog’s Pant for Survival  

As humans, we have sweat glands all over our bodies to help us regulate our body temperature. Guess what? Our dogs don’t have that luxury. Dogs pant following strenuous activity, or even when experiencing anxiety, because it’s their way of cooling down. It’s their way of regulating their body temperature.  

There’s science to that ‘pant.’ When he or she pants, they draw cool air through their mouth and into the upper respiratory lining- resulting in the evaporation of moisture (AKA thermoregulation).  

Fact 2: Tongue Color Indicates Good or Bad Health  

For the most part, our dog’s tongues are the color pink. Pink is a normal color. But, there are a few dog breeds who have abnormally colored tongues. 

The Chow Chow, for example, has a purple tongue or purple-spotted tongue. Don’t panic when you see this, it’s completely normal and can be compared to a birthmark.  

If at any time you notice your pet's tongue changing color, you might want to consider taking your pet to get checked out at your vet. If your dog has a pale tongue, she or her may be anemic (blood-related condition) or be malnourished.  

If a dog has a yellow tongue, that’s is often a sign of liver or gallbladder problems (just like when humans turn yellow – commonly known as jaundice).   

If your dog isn’t one of those ‘colored tongue breeds,’ and their tongue is ranging from red to purple/blue, this may be an indication of cancer, diabetes, ingestion of toxins, or GI issues.1

Fact 3: Tongues are for More than just Doggy Kisses  

Some dogs just want to attack you with their kisses. You walk in the door and they’re sitting right there- staring you down ready to show you some love. However, that’s not all your dog’s tongue is used for.  

Although our dogs don’t groom themselves as often as a cat does, their tongue does serve to clean. If you watch closely, you may notice your dog cleaning themselves (lightly) throughout the day. Please note this does not mean you shouldn’t give your dog a bath. Your pup still needs a bath given by humans as their cleaning job isn’t exactly the best.  

Body Language and your Dog's Health

Canine professionals often emphasize the importance of communicating via body language with your dog. Understanding what to watch for health-wise is equally as important. Your dog’s tongue alone may be able to help you determine if your dog needs to see the veterinarian.  

As a general rule, if there is any concern, always talk to your vet immediately.  

Dog Health Insurance to the Rescue

Here at MetLife Pet Insurance,1 we know accidents and illnesses can happen to all pets. Cat or dog insurance may be able to help.

Does your pet need coverage? You can get a free quote todayt.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

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