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My dog ​​has a blue tongue: Why? What to do ?

My dog ​​has a blue tongue

Besides being a physical trait of some breeds, the blue color on the tongue of dogs can reveal a lot about their health.

This is why it is essential to know how to distinguish a healthy dog’s tongue from an abnormal tongue, which may be the sign of a disease.

Is your dog’s tongue blue?

Find out the possible causes, as well as what action to take if necessary.

Blue tongue in dogs: a physical trait of some breeds

Did you just realize that your dog’s tongue is blue?

Don’t panic, maybe this is a common trait of the breed.

If your dog is one of the breeds below, your dog’s blue tongue is quite normal:

  1. Chow chow :

The chow chow is renowned for its characteristic blue tongue.

One of the legends has it that the Chow-chow was originally a dragon dog who loved the day but hated the night.

Of course, besides the legends, there are scientific explanations behind the blue tongue of the Chow Chow.

Watch this video to better understand this phenomenon :

  1. Shar pei:

The Shar Pei is renowned for its wrinkles but also its dark tongue, ranging from bluish-black to purple.

Some scientists believe that Shar Peis and Chow Chows are both descended from Tibetan wolves, which could explain the color of their tongue.

Scientists, however, do not agree on the exact origin of this blue tongue.

The Chow Chow and Shar Pei also share their blue-black tongue with polar bears, giraffes, and several breeds of cattle.

What about blue spots? Meanings

The Rottweiler, Akita, German Shepherd, Tibetan Mastiff, and Pomeranian (among others) can all be born with blue tongues, although pink tongues with blue or black spots are more common.

More than 30 different races have indeed presented this phenomenon.

If your dog has a blue tongue or spots, then It may have links with the Chow Chow or Shar-Pei, but it may also be related to Australian Shepherds, Dalmatians, Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, Earth -New or even Pitbulls.

Usually, these dark spots,  are caused by a concentration of pigments.

These pigments are not a sign of any health problem if the dog is born with them.

However, if you see blue spots appearing on your dog’s tongue, see your vet immediately, as this could be a sign of illness.

Blue tongue in dogs: possible health problems

My dog ​​has a blue tongue

The blood circulates actively in the tongue of dogs.

Its appearance can therefore reflect the health state of your dog.

The colorization of the tongue can be divided into several colors including White / Pale, Dark Red, Blue-Violet, White, and Yellow / Orange.

The rose is the natural color of the tongue, except for dogs with naturally dark tongues.

But if your dog’s tongue turns blue, it could be a malfunction of the respiratory system or even a heart problem.

In any case, the blue tongue in dogs usually indicates that the blood is poorly oxygenated.

Here are the possible health problems in a dog with a blue tongue.

  1. Heart disease & blood circulation problem

Besides blue tongue, dogs with heart disease may exhibit exercise intolerance, weakness, cough, difficulty breathing, increased breathing rate, abdominal swelling (caused by fluid buildup in the abdomen), loss of consciousness due to lack of blood flow to the brain (fainting), a bluish tinge to the skin and membranes due to lack of oxygen in the blood, or loss of appetite and weight.

According to the Pethealth Network, the most common form of heart disease in dogs is valve disease, which primarily affects small breed dogs over the age of 5 and accounts for 70-75% of heart disease in dogs.

The heartworms are the cause of 13% of heart disease, even if they can be avoided.

The myocardial diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy, finally represent 8% of heart disease, affecting mainly large breed dogs of all ages.

  1. Respiratory problems

A blue tongue with labored breathing, rapid breathing, or panting can be a sign of respiratory distress and result from illness, injury, trauma, strangulation ( eg: collar too tight), or blockage by a foreign body (eg: obstruction of the trachea by an object or food).

Lung problems in dogs can be caused by heartworm, enlarged heart, infection, heart failure, fluid in the lungs, tumors, trauma to the lungs, including bruising or electrocution.

The respiratory tract can also be affected by allergies.

  1. Liver disease

Besides blue / black tongue, symptoms of liver disease in dogs may include loss of appetite or weight, vomiting or diarrhea, yellow eyes, increased thirst, or even seizures.

Several causes can cause a liver problem or hepatitis such as diabetes, eating too much fat, pancreatic problems, the use of certain medications, a bacterial disease, trauma, immune system disorder, or even poisoning.

My dog’s tongue turns blue: what to do?

If your dog’s tongue turns blue and/or is accompanied by symptoms and/or abnormal behaviors ( vomiting, tremors, blue gums…), consult a veterinarian immediately.

If your dog’s tongue turns blue because your dog is choking, do the following:

  • Take off Its collar
  • Examine its face
  • Pull the tongue forward and remove any foreign body if there is a blockage
  • Install your dog in a cooler environment
  • Don’t give It any drink
  • Call a vet

Other abnormal appearances of tongue in dogs

My dog ​​has a blue tongue

Regardless of the color, a tongue that changes in appearance and appearance can be a sign of a serious dog health problem.

Besides blue, here is what a tongue color can mean:

  • Yellow / Orange tongue

A tongue of this color can indicate gastritis, a gallbladder problem, or liver dysfunction.

  • Red tongue

A red tongue in dogs can indicate a bacterial infection, fever, gallbladder, kidney problem, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, cancer, toxin buildup, dehydration, or possible deficiency. in vitamins.

  • White/pale tongue

White/pale tongue may involve leukemia, anemia, severe illness, blood loss, edema, deterioration of immune function, or malnutrition.

  • Black tongue

Common in some breeds, it can also be linked to antibiotic use, kidney problems, organ problems, and inflammatory infections.

  • Stiff tongue

Loss of flexibility may be related to the spleen or kidney. A dog with a stiff tongue may also have developed sarcoma.

  • White pasty tongue

The tongue coated with a white film can be a sign of fever, poor oral hygiene, gastric system dysfunction, or lung weakness.

  • Yellow pasty tongue

A yellow mushy tongue can reveal a system that does not produce enzymatic and probiotic activity, a poor diet, and a lack of essential nutrients. It can also be a sign of a buildup of toxins that can cause other intestinal problems such as pancreatitis.

Written by Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, canine behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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