5 Fun Facts About Dog Tongue

5 Fun Facts About Dog Tongue

Author WDF Staff


Your dog’s tongue is one of their most important body parts. Not only do they use it for eating and drinking, but they also use it to cool their entire body with it. As a responsible dog owner, there are a few things you should know about the dog tongue. If you know how a healthy tongue is supposed to look like, you will easily spot any potential issues your dog might be experiencing. Here is what you should know about your dog’s tongue.

What exactly is a dog tongue?

We all know what a dog tongue is, right? But did you know that the tongue is actually a muscle? Like any other muscle in your dog’s body, it is controlled by nerves. However, unlike other muscles, the nerves that control the tongue come directly from the dog’s brain. Plus, dogs use tongues to give their owners sloppy kisses, so it is crucial your dog’s tongue remains healthy.

black dog tongue out

Fun facts about dog tongue

All dogs are amazing; most of us, dog owners, are very well aware of that. They are full of interesting facts and things that make them unique and special. Their tongues are no different, and there are various things the dog’s tongue can tell you about your dog. Here are some of the most interesting things about the dog tongue;

1. Color indicates health

A healthy dog tongue should have a nice pink color. It shouldn’t smell weird (if your dog hasn’t eaten anything questionable), and discoloration can be a sign of health issues you should look out for. If your dog has a pale, whiteish tongue, it can mean they are anemic. You should take them to the vet and get some blood tests done. If your dog has liver or gallbladder issues, chances are their tongue will turn yellow. If your dog has a red, purple, or blue tongue, that can indicate diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, cancer, or toxicity.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Some dog breeds have naturally purple/blue tongues. Chow Chow is one of those breeds, and this color doesn’t indicate any health issue.

2. Cooling mechanism

When humans get too hot, we sweat. Unfortunately (or fortunately), dogs cannot sweat. The water on top of our skin evaporates and cools us. Dogs use their tongues for cooling off, so don’t be surprised your dog’s tongue is always out during hot days or after intense physical activity. They can regulate their entire body temperature by panting. Dogs draw cool air over their elongated, full of blood tongues. The water on top of it evaporates, and the blood within cools. The faster the dog pants, the more cooling effect they will achieve.

german-wirehaired pointer tongue

3. Grooming tool

Cats aren’t the only pets that groom themselves; dogs do it too. Some dogs are more anal about their grooming, like Basenjis. Some Basenji enthusiasts described them as having cat-like grooming routines. And how do dogs groom themselves? - By using their tongues. Unlike cats, dogs have smooth tongues, and their grooming technique is not as effective as cats’ is. Nevertheless, they still do it and can clear quite a bit of dirt and hair. You will still have to brush your dog regularly, though.

4. Communication

Although it would be very cool if dogs could talk, we will have to patiently wait for that to happen. However, dogs will use their tongue to communicate with other dogs. Licking or “giving kisses” to other dogs and people means the dog is very comfortable with the kiss receiver. They will express their happiness and excitement by licking other dog’s faces. You might have noticed that your dog tries to give you kisses when you come home from work, or you left them alone for a couple of hours.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Getting dog kisses is cute, but you shouldn’t let your dog constantly lick you, especially not on the face. Periodontal disease-causing bacteria can be transferred from dogs to humans so that behavior should be controlled.

golden retriever tongue

5. Not cleaner than the human tongue

Many dog owners heard that dog tongues are a lot cleaner than human tongues. There was even a widespread belief that wounded soldiers let dogs lick their wounds to help them heal faster. We are not entirely sure where those beliefs come from, but they are not true. Human and dog tongues have more than 600 types of bacteria on them. Mind you, they are not dangerous, but you shouldn’t deliberately put bacteria on a wound. Licking a wound will help a dog clean the area of debris, but their saliva will not help the wound heal, nor does it have any special properties. If you have a cut, it would be best to disinfect it with something like Chlorhexidine. Plus, you can use it on your dog as well.

In conclusion

Dog tongues are very important. Dogs use it for all sorts of things like eating, drinking, grooming, expressing emotion, and cleaning their wounds. As dog owners, we should keep an eye on our dog’s tongues and make sure they are in perfect shape.

World Dog Finder team

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