Why Do Dogs Have Spotted tongues?
Are you wondering about why your dog has black or bluish spots on his tongue? Do you believe he could part Chow Chow? It could be possible, but there’s a more probable answer!
In this article, we’ll take a look at why some dogs have black or bluish spots on their tongues. We’ll talk about what color and type of spots are normal, and then take a look at spots that could indicate your dog could have a health problem. Let’s get started!
Dog Spotted Tongue Breeds
If your dog has had black or bluish spots of color on his tongue since he was a puppy, chances are they’re just normal. The fact is that this is a characteristic that’s seen in many dogs, and in many dog breeds. Many people believe that this trait is only carried by Chow Chows, those beautiful dogs that look like lions. There are dogs that have some Chow Chow heritage, but blue or black spots on the tongue are found in many breeds.
Here is a list of dog breeds that are known to have black/bluish spots on their tongues:
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Australian Shepherd
- Belgian Sheepdog
- Belgian Terveren
- Belgian Malinois
- Bichon Frise
- Bouvier de Flandres
- Bull Mastiff
- Cairn Terrier
- Chines Shar Pei
- Cocker Spaniel
- Doberman Pinscher
- English Setter
- Fila Brasileiro
- Flat-coated Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Gordon Setter
- Great Pyrenees
- Irish Setter
- Kain Ken
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Korean Jindo
- Labrador Retriever
- Mountain Cur
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Shiba Inu
- Siberian Husky
- Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
- Tibetan Mastiff
This is not an exhaustive list of dogs that can have spots on their dogs, but at least you get the idea that this a more common trait than many of us were aware of! And what’s more, a dog may not belong to one of these breeds but could still have black spots on his tongue. This is completely normal, but why?
What Causes the Black Spots on a Dog’s Tongue?
If this can be normal, what causes these spots on a dog’s tongue? Just like us, some dogs can have areas of darker pigmentation anywhere on their body, including their tone. These are very similar to freckles or birthmarks on us.
These darker areas of pigmentation are caused by cells that contain more pigment than others. That’s all! And some dogs that have darker “points” (dark pigmentation around eyes, nose, mouth, etc.) are more prone to having darker spots of pigmentation on their tongues, too. Some dogs even have darker gums, too.
Can Black Spots Be a Problem?
Most of the time, the black spots are normal. If they’re flat and have the same texture as the rest of the tongue, then these are normal spots. They’re not anything to worry about.
However, sudden black spot on dogs tongue can be a problem. If your dog doesn’t normally have black spots on his tongue, and develops them all of a sudden, then you’ll want to take him to the vet to be checked.
Black spots on a dog’s tongue that are different than the rest of the tongue, raised, have a different texture, are shiny or smooth, or have a bad odor could indicate melanoma, a type of aggressive type of skin cancer which can be deadly.
And if you notice brown spot tongue dog, this can also be an indication of oral cancer or another type of health issue.
In addition, if your dog’s tongue happens to turn blue, along with his gums, then this could be an indication he has cyanosis. This is a condition that develops when your dog isn’t getting enough oxygen. This can be caused by many medical problems including heart disease, exposure to a toxin, and more.
Dog Tongue White Spots
What about if your dog has white spots on his tongue? This can also be another indication of another type of medical problem. The white spots could be a condition called oral papilloma, which is a health issue caused by a viral infection.
The white spots are actually warts in the mouth. Some dogs with this condition may have only one or two white spots on their tongue. However, the condition can develop into a larger problem and infect the tongue, lips, the roof of the mouth, inside the checks and more. In serious infections, the dog may develop hundreds of thousands of these white spots inside their mouths.
The virus is similar to the one that causes human warts; however, don’t worry, your dog’s oral papilloma is not contagious to humans. This condition is contagious to other dogs, though.
Oral papilloma contain the virus within them. The infection is spread by direct contact between dogs, and there’s an incubation period of 1-2 months. These are fairly common, especially in puppies and young adult dogs.
The treatment will depend on the severity of the dog’s infection. If the warts are not distressing the dog, then a vet may choose to allow the infection to proceed naturally. This means the condition will be monitored, and the vet will allow the dog’s immune system to finally overtake the infection. When this happens, the papilloma will eventually fall out and the dog’s mouth will heal. The dog also becomes immune to future infections.
On the other hand, if the papilloma is causing the dog a lot of trouble, then the vet may choose to do surgery. Here, the oral warts will be removed; however, the vet may choose to crush some of the warts. This is done to release the virus and allow the dog to become immune to further infection.
In some cases, a vet may also choose to treat a dog with interferon-alpha, if the dog has a severe case of oral papilloma. The medication is given three times a week for two weeks, until all the lesions in the mouth heal. The treatment works but can be quite expensive—up to $50 or more per treatment.
If your dog has this condition, then it will be imperative to keep him away from all other dogs. This means no trips to the dog park, the groomer, doggie daycare and more. Oral papilloma is extremely contagious to other dogs.
You’ll need to keep your dog away from other dogs for about four months altogether. This is because it can take 1-2 months for the condition to heal; however, it will take another 2 months to make sure the oral warts are completely gone and that your dog has fully recovered and is no longer contagious. So, if the infection is gone, and doesn’t return after another 2 months, then it will be safe to take your dog out with other dogs. But not until that time has passed with no further signs of infection.
What are the Red Spots on my Dog’s Tongue?
Does your canine companion have red spots on his tongue, and other places in his mouth? Then this could mean it’s time to visit the vet. Those spots, along with sores, lumps, lesions could be caused by other types of oral medical problems.
This is why it’s always a good reason to check your dog on a regular basis for anything that’s not normal. This means not only checking his body, but also his mouth. If you find that your dog’s got a sore in his mouth, you might monitor it for a couple of days. Watch to see if your fur baby’s suffering from pain or distress. If so, then a visit to the vet is in order. You may also notice that he’s started drooling, seems to sleep all the time, have no energy and that he has a loss of appetite.
Red spots and oral sores in your dog’s mouth can be caused by several issues including:
- Facial skin folds: some dogs have excess skin around their faces that can lead to irritation of the skin and the development of sores.
- Oral papilloma virus: as we learned in the pervious section, can cause lesions in a dog’s mouth, along with pain.
- Oral tumors: can affect the lips, tongue, gums and lymph nodes. These may be either benign or cancerous; for this reason, they should be checked by a vet as soon as possible.
- Gingival hyperplasia: is a condition that causes overgrowth of the gums. They can cause growths that look similar to tumors and they’re usually benign. Even so, these must be checked by the vet to make sure they’re not cancerous.
- Kidney disease: mouth sores can be a sign of renal failure in dogs that have kidney disease.
- Autoimmune disorders: are another type of health problem that can cause tongue and mouth sores in dogs. These conditions can also cause other issues, along with the mouth and tongue sores. The sores can eventually become infected with bacteria, and lead to additional health issues. This is yet another reason why it’s imperative to have your dog checked if a mouth sore doesn’t get better after a couple of days.
Treatment of mouth sores will depend on what the vet finds after examining your dog. The exam may include a biopsy of any tissue that’s been affected, along with lab work such as blood tests, etc. When your vet has made a diagnosis, your fur baby may need:
- Dental work: to take care of any dental issues that could be causing the problem. These can include oral tumors, broken and infected teeth, and more.
- Prescription medicines: treatment can also include prescription medications such as antibiotics, antifungals, etc. to treat any secondary infections.
- Skin folds: are usually treated with a combination of hydrocortisone cream, ketoconazole shampoo, or antibacterial ointments. If the condition is severe, the vet may recommend surgery to remove part of the fold.
As you can see, some dark spots on your fur baby’s tongue can be completely normal and nothing to worry about. However, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, then be sure to take your canine companion to the vet for a checkup.