RED. A red tongue can occur in a dog that is hot and panting, and is due to the body cooling off through the respiratory system – so in this situation, panting with a red tongue is normal. If this isn’t the case, a red tongue can mean there is an increase of heat in the body.
What does a white tongue on a dog mean?
A white coating on the tongue is distinct from the actual tissue of the tongue turning pale or white. Such coatings usually are caused by Candida yeast, and are called thrush or yeast stomatitis. This infection is very rare in dogs and is usually a sign of a severely compromised immune system.
A dogs tongue is a muscular organ that is normally kept moist by saliva and is richly supplied by lots of nerves and blood vessels.
A tongue that is purple or assumes a bluish tint may be indicative of poor oxygenation due to underlying heart problems and requires immediate vet attention. Affected dogs may be breathing fast or hard and the lungs may be filling with fluid. A purple tongue is alarming because it can lead to cardiac arrest if the dogs oxygen levels happen to drop too low, explains veterinarian Dr. Drew.
Treatment of a red tongue in dogs varies based on the underlying cause. The vet may have to run several diagnostic tests to rule out or confirm the trigger. Tests may include bloodwork specifically a CBC (complete blood count), chest x-rays and other tests the vet may deem necessary based on the dogs medical history and presentation of symptoms.
Emergency situations such as heat stroke require the dog to be stabilized and monitored. Dogs affected by heatstroke will receive intensive care and blood tests for evaluating clotting parameters. This is to monitor for a serious complication of heat stroke known as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.
Another worrisome scenario is a dog with a red tongue who is suffering from sepsis. Sepsis is an overwhelming, life threatening infection. Affected dogs may develop hyperdynamic signs associated with an abnormally increased circulatory volume. The affected dogs heart would be racing, there would be a fever and the gums and tongue may turn red during this phase. Obviously septic dogs are very ill and require immediate attention.
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 pets 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
Why is my dog’s tongue getting darker?
Why does a dog’s tongue change color?
What does it mean when a dog’s tongue is purple?