Monday, February 16, 2015

Does your Dog have a Healthy Tongue?

Of all the reasons I might bring my dog to the vet's, I never thought I'd bring him because of the color of his tongue. But it turns out that tongue color may indicate some other health issues going on in your dog, and can be a good indicator of when to bring your dog to the vet's.


















Ike seemed a little off this morning and didn't want to eat his breakfast, a highly unusual event no matter how he feels. I looked in his mouth to see if I saw anything that might account for it, and while I didn't notice anything particularly wrong with his teeth or gums, I did notice that his tongue was pale white. I remembered that the vet mentioned before that this could be a sign of anemia. So I made an appointment to have a check up and blood work.  Hopefully whatever is going on will be mild and treatable.

In the meantime, I looked up more information, and discovered that a white tongue is not the only color tongue to be concerned about. If you take note of any, consider discussing it with your vet. These colors MAY indicate the possibility of some of these conditions. *Please note that I am not a veterinarian, and this list is not a diagnosis of your dog, just a tool to help evaluate your dog.


  • WHITE-weakened body condition, anemia, leukemia, blood pressure problems, loss of blood,  malnutrition .
  • DEEP RED--bacterial or viral infection, hyperthyroidism, or an accumulation of toxins somewhere in the body.
  • BLUE-- pain, heart disease, circulatory problems, liver disease, hepatitis, or autoimmune issues.
  • YELLOW-- gastritis, gall bladder or liver malfunction.*
It is also helpful to take note of any coating on your dog's tongue, any bumps and sores, and be sure to look under his tongue as well.

*Information gathered from Healthy Pets article by Dr. Karen Becker.

16 comments:

  1. Awww...hope your doggy feels better soon! Great tips re: tongue color.

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  2. I knew about paleness, but not the others. Great tips!

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  3. THIS is an EXCELLENT post for Dental Health month... it isn't JUST about the Teefs... it is the entire MOUTH and that INCLUDES the Tongue.

    EXCELLENT....

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  4. I hope he feels better soon - it's always tough having to wait on blood work. Makes me realize how impatient I really am. I had to idea about the different discolorations of the tongue, excellent information.

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  5. mom always looks in our mouths for some reason, thats probably why
    Snorts,
    Lily & Edward

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  6. This is great information! Interestingly enough, I always keep an eye on the color of Wynston's tongue since he has intrathoracic tracheal collapse. I looks for changes in color, particularly to make sure it's not blue. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Thanks for the informative post! I also didn't know about the color changes that can be caused by illness. Good to know! :)

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  8. I hope your pup feels better soon! Great write up - we know this about humans, but never made the connection to doggies!

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  9. I hope your pup feels better soon. I had never considered tongue color!

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  10. We hope that Ike is feeling better soon and its nothing serious. Thanks for the great tip, we learned something! Love Dolly

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  11. This is such an excellent reminder, especially in Dental Health Month where we're so focused on teeth. The entire mouth can give us so many clues on health.

    Paws crossed for Ike that it's nothing serious and he's feeling better in no time <3

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  12. Hope it's nothing serious! I didn't realize dog's tongues could be such an indicator.

    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

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  13. I hope that Ike feels better and they he gets a clean bill of health. These are excellent reminders. The whole mouth is such a good indicator of overall health!

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  14. Very interesting! I bet that those colors would have similar meanings in cats too. That would be something to keep an eye on for sure. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. Hope Ike is feeling better, Peggy! I know my acupuncturist checks my tongue, too, for tell tale signs of alkalinity or health issues. Great info.

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  16. I'd never thought about 'tongue colour' in our pets, although its often looked at in alternative medicine when diagnosing humans, so why not indeed!

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Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!

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