How To Identify Black Spot On A Dog’s Tongue

black spot on dog tongue

Pups come in all shapes, sizes, and furs. Some dogs have one blue and one brown eye. Some dogs have two noses. And there are some dogs out there sporting purple, dark blue, or almost black tongues! Honestly, we think it makes them all the more adorable.

When you look at your pup’s tongue, it may look normal to you – but what if you notice something different? One common worry pawrents have for their dogs is a black spot on the tongue. It does usually not cause any major alarm, but it does need to be looked at by a veterinarian to ensure health and comfort. So, should you be worried if you see a black spot on a dog’s tongue? Find out what they mean, when they’re normal, and when to be concerned.



Dog’s Tongue: How does a black spot look like?

Recognizing a black spot on your dog’s tongue helps to know what color and texture should normally be present. A healthy dog’s tongue should typically be pink and slightly wet, with small bumps or creases on the surface known as papillae. Depending on the breed, older dogs may have some gray fur growing in patches on their tongues.

Like humans, some dogs can have extra pigmentation that results in freckles or birthmarks, which extend to their tongues! Some will develop spots, and some will have tongues that appear completely black. These are completely benign, but if any other type of discoloration appears, seek professional advice right away.

Black Spots On A Dog’s Tongue: What Does It Mean?

spots on dog tongueIn most instances, a dog’s spotted tongue is no more a cause for concern than a human child born with a birthmark. Because most dogs are covered in fur, the idea of varied skin colorations seems odd: humans expect different fur colors, even in the same dog, but don’t often think about the skin underneath.

Discolorations like freckles and birthmarks are just as common in dogs as in people and may appear on paw pads hidden beneath fur, lips, gums, and the tongue.

These spots are easy to see because of their contrast against a pink tongue and tend to be irregular and asymmetrical if several spots appear. There’s no hard and fast rule for when the spots first become visible, but they are more common in puppyhood and young adulthood rather than later in a dog’s life. There is a strong correlation between the Finnish Spitz, Pointer, and Spaniel families of dog breeds and the appearance of tongue spots, though more than 40 breeds overall have been recorded as having spots on their tongues. Some of them include the following:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Chow Chows
  • Collie
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Setter
  • Flat-coated Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Gordon Setter
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Irish Setter
  • Keeshond
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Mountain Cur
  • Newfoundlandblack spot on siberian husky
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Shiba Inu
  • Siberian Husky

Most of these breeds naturally have dark-spotted tongues, while others have full-on black tongues!

A dark spot on my dog’s tongue: When should I be worried?

The most common sign that something is wrong is when a black spot emerges suddenly. This can indicate an infection or growth somewhere underneath the surface of the skin. If you notice any inconsistency in your dog’s mouth, whether a large patch of discoloration or just one suspicious spot, immediately take them to the vet.

A sudden appearance or change in a tongue spot, how dark that spot is, and especially the surface’s texture should always be considered. If a spot is new, dark, spreading, not of the same texture, or has a raised/broken surface, a vet should be consulted, as a biopsy of the spot may need to be taken. Likewise, if a dog is chewing oddly or avoiding his food due to what appears to be mouth pain, it’s a good idea to consult a vet for diagnosis and treatment.

‘My dog has it. What should I do?’

If caught early enough, most cases of black spots are not serious and do not require medical intervention. For example, certain breeds, like bulldogs, often develop extra melanin (a dark pigment) throughout their bodies due to hereditary factors. In these cases, no treatment is necessary because the spot will typically disappear after several months once new cells replace them in the skin layer beneath.

However, some black spots can signal more severe issues, such as an autoimmune disorder or other internal health conditions. To properly identify the source of this discoloration and determine whether medical treatment should be pursued, there are various tests that your veterinarian can perform, such as biopsies and tissue samples (cytology). In severe cases such as canine cancer, these tests can also help detect metastatic tumors that may have spread into additional tissue layers throughout the body since early detection is essential for successful treatment outcomes in these cases.

Preventative Care: Keeping An Eye Out For Canine Tongue Spots

black spot on dog tongue normalMost pet parents don’t see their dog’s tongue unless he’s drinking water or enthusiastically greeting them when they get home. Watching tongue spots for the potential trouble signs mentioned above means spending quality time with some doggie dental care. While experts recommend that owners brush their dog’s teeth every day, even managing to do so once or twice a week will help you spot any changes or growth in tongue spots. If you need tips on how to brush your dog’s teeth, talk to your vet for further instructions. Follow these helpful oral care tips for your pooch:

  • Use a soft finger-mounted brush: Dogs are less likely to balk and fight at something new if it comes, quite literally, from the hand of their pet parent. It’s also less likely to chew or bite if it knows its parent is administering the brushing. For canines with anxiety, speak with a trusted vet to see if supplements for dogs might be helpful.
  • Opt for tasty toothpaste: A variety of doggie toothpastes are available that taste like beef, chicken, and other delectable flavors. It’ll think it’s getting a treat, even though its owner is getting peace of mind.
  • Don’t force a dog to “like” it: Dental care for dogs can be a little touch-and-go, but that’s okay! Let your dog set his own pace for comfort and stay on task with a dental routine. Eventually, it’ll come to expect it and even look forward to quality time with its human companion/dentist.
  • Examine teeth, gums, lips, and tongue: Even if you’re confident his tongue spots haven’t moved, chipped teeth, a cut lip, and swollen gums could point to other health problems. If you notice anything that looks wrong or your dog’s breath is particularly offensive, make an appointment with a veterinary dental specialist to examine it.

Tongue spots are simply another part of a dog to love – a unique expression of his heritage, breed, and background, as well as a lucky charm for the superstitious pet owner. Now that the blue-black tongue spot myths have been dispelled, it’s easier than ever to appreciate a few extra points of “bonus” color on a dog that’s already perfectly lovable!

Ultimately, it is important to remember that any sudden change in your pup’s dark spots and appearance should always be monitored closely by your vet, so get their advice whenever something looks out of the ordinary! Your pet simply cannot tell us when something might be wrong, so we must always pay close attention to its overall health status!


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