All you can learn about a dog’s health by their tongue color chart

Tongue Color Chart

Have you ever wondered what you can do to have a quick check for your dog’s health? Have you ever given thought to the fact that a dog’s tongue color chart can help you in predicting a lot about the health of your dog?

Well, here is an attempt to help you in maintaining your dog’s health. This is a simple task of just observing their tongue. For that, you need to look at the dog’s tongue color chart.

Sometimes, the color of your dog’s tongue color chart can depict a lot about their health. In the mouth of the dog, there exist tongues, teeth, gums. Just like humans and all can be an indicator of good health and growing diseases. So, it is advisable to always keep a check on the same.

In this article, we are going to give you a detailed description of everything about the dog’s tongue color chart.

Have one thing in mind, the tongue’s health does not signify overall health however the change in the color definitely signifies something.

The Dog Tongue Color Chart-

The Dog Tongue Color Chart-

There is the presence of mucus membranes on the tongue of dogs which shows the color of the dog’s tongue. Usually, the dogs have a natural blue or purple-colored tongue. In and out it is somewhere to any shade closer to pink. If in case your dog’s tongue is of different color, it might be a sign of something wrong within their body, it is advisable to take them to the Vet immediately. The tongue color might change because of eating toxic foods.

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However, sometimes, the change in the color of a dog’s tongue can be because of foods like beetroot, orange, and the foods that leave color behind. In that case, don’t worry, it happens with us humans as well. It is not a sign of color change. The color change can be depicted when you see the same color for more than one day even after multiple meals. It proves that the Tongue Color Chart that you are observing on your dog’s tongue is not some temporary food residue. It can be a permanent color change that might be a signal of some upcoming disease or some problem that your dog might be facing.

The chart below can help you in case you are looking for the dog’s health through their tongue-

All you can learn about a dog's health by their tongue color chart
  • Pink– A pink tongue signifies good health. In this case, you need not do anything as your dog’s tongue is perfectly fine. The pink tongue might even have black and blue spots which are no sign of worry. The black and blue spots signify that the dog might be crossbreed and the original parents might have a different colored tongue.
  • Yellow- In case the tongue of your dog looks yellow in color, it signifies that your little furry pet might be dealing with some problems. The diseases might include something related to the liver or gall bladder. It shows the presence of jaundice in your dog. In this case, it is advisable to go see a vet.
  • Red– If the color of your dog’s tongue is red and it looks swollen with black spots, it might be a signal of diseases like diabetes, kidney problems, bacteria, melanoma, etc. See a vet if you notice this color. Melanoma is a type of cancer, if your dog has a red-colored tongue, it might be a situation of melanoma. The tongue will grow in size as the disease will advance. Immediately see a vet in this situation before it advances further.
  • Purple/Blue– If you see the purple and blue-colored tongue of your dog, it shows that they have a lack of oxygen in their body. It can end up giving rise to further diseases like hypoxia, liver diseases, cyanosis, etc. But keep in mind that a few breeds of dogs originally have a blue/purple tongue. If they originally have a blue/purple tongue then don’t look for this color as this is their healthy tongue.
  • White/Pale- If the tongue of your dog is discolored and looks pale and dull with too many white spots or white in color altogether, it shows the lack of red blood cells in your dog. It signifies that your dog might be suffering from Leukemia, anemia, internal bleeding, and things. A medical checkup is recommended in such cases to see if actually, the red blood cells are decreasing in your dog.

The dogs with Purple/Blue colored tongues originally.

The dogs with Purple/Blue colored tongues originally.

As mentioned above, there are a few breeds that have originally purple/blue-colored tongues. In these dogs, the color of their tongue is not a signal of lack of oxygen and things as their original color is purple/blue. The breeds like Chow Chow and Shar-pei have blue/purple tongues.

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Their tongues appear in shades of blue and sometimes even black because of very dark blue. Chow Chow has this purple/blue tongue because of their genetics. It is because of mutation in their ancestors that have been passed from generation to generation. That is why sometimes, mix-breed dogs have blue/purple tongues too because of the mutations.

But in case your dog’s tongue is not purple/blue originally, you need to check and keep an eye on this colored tongue of your dog. This color can signify a lack of oxygen and other things as explained above in nonblue/purpled tongue dogs.

Sometimes, the reason behind the bluish-purple tongue can be some sort of physical trauma and bruising. It might even lead to bruising. A black-colored tongue that appears black but is usually dark blue. It can be caused because of heatstroke while there is an increase in the dog’s body temperature. It might even lead to bruising. A black-coloured tongue color chart that appears black but is usually dark blue. It can be caused because of heatstroke while there is an increase in the dog’s body temperature.

Reasons behind a purpleblue Tongue Color Chart

Reasons behind a purple/blue Tongue Color Chart

Usually, in dogs who do not have naturally blue/purple tongues, tongues might turn blue/purple because of the lack of oxygen. But this is not the only reason. There are other reasons as well behind this color of the tongue. In some cases, a vet is needed as the situation can be serious.

Major reasons behind blue/purple tongue in dogs are-

  1. Shortness of breath– It can be because of swimming and fatigue. Even dogs who love to swim can face shortness of breath and fatigue. Sometimes, even trapping in extremely cold regions for a long time can cause shortness of breath which in turn give rise to blue/purple tongue.
  2. Foreign body attack- Sometimes, your dog can suffer from a foreign body attack. In this case, some foreign bodies can accumulate in the throat of your dog. It can lead to choking which in turn leads to a lack of oxygen. The dog suffers in this case as dogs struggle to breathe in foreign body attacks. They sometimes even become unconscious.
  3. Exposure to smoke– If your dog gets exposed to fire smoke, it might lead to asphyxiation which creates a lack of oxygen in the body. In this situation of smoke exposure, if your dog doesn’t get exposure to fresh air immediately after that, their tongue might turn purple/blue.
  4. Poisoning- Sometimes, your dog might ingest some sort of poison which might mess with their system and they may face a lack of oxygen in their bodies. This might be because of toxic plants, toxic foods, or toxic chemicals. Anything which is not meant to be edible for dogs. Lack of oxygen like always gives rise to a purple/blue tongue.
  5. Pleural Effusion- This is a situation in which liquids and blood accumulate in the chest of dogs. It can be because of several reasons like pneumonia, liver disease, heart disease, kidney problems, etc. It can make the dog face difficulty in breathing, in turn, blue/purple tongue.
  6. Pneumothorax– This is a very rare situation yet possible. In this situation, air might accumulate in the chest of a dog more than usual. It will create difficulty in breathing which turns the tongue purple/blue.
  7. Nutritional Disorder– The absence of proper nutrition which might lead to fluctuations in the essential nutrition required by a dog’s body can also give rise to a different colored tongue sometimes. It is very important to feed your dog a well-balanced nutritional diet. 

Complete anatomy of a Dog Tongue Color Chart

Dog Mouth

The tongue of a dog just like humans is a muscle with multiple veins, arteries, etc. The tongue of a dog has 5 types of tiny mushroom-shaped papillae. These papillae contain pores that lead to taste buds. The rest of the tongue is made up of muscle, connective tissues, and fatty tissue. It also contains a lot of blood vessels which is why it bleeds like crazy when the accidentally gets a cut on the tongue.

All around the tongue, there are openings to the salivary glands and together the tongue, teeth, and mouth comprise the oral cavity. The canine tongue has many distinct complex functions it must perform, that is probably why it is fed by five separate sets of nerves that come directly from the brain through small openings in the skull. These are cranial nerves and they originate directly from the base of the brain rather than the spinal cord. The main purpose of the tongue is to bring food and water into the mouth and allow your dogs to taste what they are eating or drinking.

The tongue assists your dog with chewing and swallowing. A dog’s Tongue Color Chart helps to regulate the body temperature as well. As air passes back and forth when a dog pants, it cools down the body. The cooling of the body is also enhanced as saliva evaporates from the mouth of your dog.

Dog’s use their tongue to clean themselves by licking their wounds and irritating skin. They use their tongue as a wound healing tool. The female dogs even use their tongues to groom their puppies. Dogs also stimulate the urination and defecation of their puppies by licking the puppies’ urogenital area.

A problem with your dog’s tongue can be a primary condition or a condition secondary to another problem in the mouth.

dog’s tongue can be a primary condition

 The anatomy of a dog’s tongue will help you in understanding a lot of things about dogs. Below is the anatomy of a dog’s tongue-

  • The group of tissues that are beneath the tongue is called as Frenulum. These tissues help in holding the tongue down.
  • A total of four salivary glands are present in a dog’s tongue which transports saliva to the mouth. These glands’ purpose is to produce thick and thin saliva in the mouth. The glands present on the surface of the tongue produce both the mucoid and serious fluids.
  • Unlike humans, the dog’s tongue does not have as many taste buds as us. While on the one hand, humans have around 9000 taste buds, dogs, on the other hand, have only around 1700 taste buds.
  • On the tongue of the dogs, the taste buds differ from humans. The salty taste can be felt on the rear sides and side edges of the tongue. The sweet taste can be felt at the beginning of the tongue and a little on the sides as well. The sour test can be felt evenly on the top of the tongue.
  • Dogs prefer to choose foods that are meat-oriented. But one weird yet the surprising fact is that dogs can not actually differentiate when it comes to fish, chicken, pork, etc. basically, all meats taste the same to them.

Signs of problems with your dog’s tongue-

Signs of problems with your dog’s tongue

There can be a lot but majorly they include-

  • Your dog’s reluctance to eat- You will notice that even when hungry, your dog won’t be able to eat because of pain and uneasiness and they will avoid food. This is your sign to take a look at their tongues.
  • Abnormal chewing motion- You will observe that your dog is chewing their food abnormally, not the way they usually do to avoid pain and things. Even sometimes without any food in their mouth, you can notice them doing the chewing motion to avoid the uneasiness they are facing in their mouth.
  • Excessive drooling- when they drool excessively, normally all dogs drool, but in case of some tongue problem, it is more than usual. Keep an eye on their usual habits always so that you can notice something weird whenever there is something wrong with them.
  • Bloody discharge from the mouth- The moment you notice blood in their spit and drool, this is your signal to take them to the vet immediately. The blood from the mouth can not come in normal situations except it may be a cut situation on the tongue. Whatever the case, it is advisable to take them to the vet in case you notice blood discharge.
  • Bad smell coming from the dog’s mouth- You can notice a foul smell from your dog’s mouth. The smell is not usual. This might be a signal of some bacterias growing on the tongue. If you can smell foul from their mouth, the vet is the solution for your little furry pet.

Hygienic practices for your dog’s tongue-

Just like humans, the dog’s tongue is also filled with a lot of bacterias. It’s because they eat foods and over time they give rise to bacteria. Just like it is necessary for humans to brush their teeth and tongue every day, It is important for dogs too. Advice is to rinse their mouth with plain water after food. It is very important for dogs to have a healthy mouth.

Hygienic practices for your dog’s tongue

The necessity to brush the tongue of your dog can not be overlooked. It helps primarily in oral health but impacts the overall health of the dogs too.

To brush the tongue of your dog, you can use a small-sized human brush with soft bristles. There are special dog tongue brushes available in the market too. They can be actually fun to use and make the process easy. So try and find one either online or in the pet shop close to you. These brushes make your dogs lick the brush’s rough surface. This makes brushing so easy as now you don’t need to force your dog to open their mouth and brush the tongue all by yourself. 

Please make sure you are not using human toothpaste for your dogs in any case. It can be really dangerous for dogs as the toothpaste available in the market for humans are not at all fit for dogs.

One trick you can use is to apply some food on the dog’s tongue brush. It will attract the dog to lick the brush and ultimately rub their tongues on the rough surface of the brush which will clean their tongues.

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Besides, giving them plenty of water is always the solution as water takes the food residue in the stomach which can be digested in the body or maybe excreted from the body whatever the situation is. It really helps in maintaining overall health. Ensure that your dog drinks clean water. Make sure that there is enough water in your dog’s bowl 24*7. They need to have access to clean water always to deal with their thirst.

Health conditions of the dog’s tongue-

There are a few health problems that can impact the tongue of your dog. These diseases can show their symptoms on the tongue of your dog which might help you a little in taking care of your dog’s health.

Health conditions of the dog’s tongue-
  • Oral Papillomatosis– It is a kind of infection that leads to the formation of lesions all over the tongue of the dog.
  • Ulceration- This is a symptom in case of serious health problems like cancer. But in some cases, it can be because of some non-serious issues too like some sort of poison, bacteria, heatstroke, etc.
  • Stomatitis- This situation causes inflammation in the mouth. It impacts the whole mouth including the tongue and all other tissues.
  • Glossitis- This is also a kind of inflammation of the tongue but the reasons differ here. It can be because of burns or some sort of insect stings or autoimmune diseases etc.
  • Soft tissue trauma- Because of dogs’ habit of chewing everything they see, they might sometimes chew inappropriate things which causes inflammation in their mouth, it might even burn the tongue or irritate the skin and make some cuts on the tongue.
  • Tumor growth- Unfortunately all the tumors that grow on the tongue of a dog are malignant or cancerous. They might create serious health complications.

Dogs’ way of showing love includes their tongue. They lick or pants to show their loyalty and love to the people they care about the most. The large tongues are great for expressing their love, they give us those wet, sloppy, slobbering kisses that we all desire from them. To ensure they live a healthy and happy life, free of diseases, observe their overall health specifically tongue. The moment you have doubts or you notice some change or something weird which is not usual, it is advisable to see a vet. 

Their Tongue is extremely sensitive to their degraded health. Most of the time, the tongue shows if there is something wrong with their body. Early care and awareness can save you and your little furry friend from a lot of problems in the future. If you ensure regular full body checkups, there is a very less probability of any serious disease. Even if your dog suffers from anything, early diagnosis can help in the cure of that particular disease. All it requires is you to be aware of your furry friends’ health.

Tongue observance

Tongue observance can play a very important role in maintaining oral health along with full-body health. Their tongue color chart is a very important health indicator. Just like humans, their mouth is the doorway to their body. It is very important for you to take care of the things mentioned above as a responsible dog parent. And it’s not even hard as dogs have a habit of licking and panting because of which their tongue is out of their mouths most of the time. All you need is a quick observance and voila, you can play an important part in their healthy lives.

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