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A dog with a blue tongue

Can a dog have a blue tongue? Yes, it’s possible! There are several reasons for this. It could be because your dog's breed can have a blue tongue. However, there could also be another reason your dog has a blue tongue. Then there is a problem with his health. We will discuss the different causes of a blue tongue in this blog article.

dog with owner

Dog breeds with a blue tongue

There are breeds of dogs that genetically can have a blue tongue. Well-known varieties are for example:

  • The Chow Chow
  • The Shar Pei
  • The Eurasian

These are all Asian dog breeds that are largely genetically related to each other. Thus, a full blue tongue can be quite common.

There are also breeds where we regularly see a pink tongue with blue spots. These are, for example, the Rottweiler and Golden Retriever. The discolouration can also develop at a later age.

In dogs that are born with a blue tongue or blue spots on the tongue, it is discolouration due to increased production of pigment (melanin) due to a genetic mutation. In most cases, the mutation is not dominant, so the blue tongue colour is an exception. In the Shar Pei and the Chow Chow, however, the mutation is dominant, which means that these dogs always have a blue tongue.

With a congenital blue tongue or blue spots on the tongue, or the development of pigment spots at a later age, there is actually no risk to health and you do not have to worry.

A blue tongue in your dog due to illness

It’s a different story if your dog develops a blue discolouration of the tongue from another cause. Discolouration is always caused by a lack of oxygen or poor blood circulation. This can have several causes.

Reduced heart function

The main cause is a reduced function of the heart. In the initial stage, dogs can only get a blue tongue during exercise, but as the heart gets worse, the tongue can also be a bit bluer in colour continuously. This is a dangerous situation for your dog and it is important to contact your vet as soon as possible.

Exercise that is too intense

Extreme exercise can also ensure that the body is no longer able to provide all tissues with sufficient oxygen. This can also cause your dog to get a blue discolouration of the tongue, or even lose consciousness. You should contact your vet immediately and discuss what to do.

Blue tongue due to overheating

Even animals that are overheated can get a dry, blue tongue. By panting, they lose moisture and animals become dehydrated. This makes the blood more viscous and therefore the circulation worse. If you suspect overheating, contact your vet immediately and start cooling down your pet!

Read our article Dogs and warm weather: 8 tips to prevent your dog from overheating.

If your dog gets a blue tongue due to one of the above causes, the blue discolouration is caused by a lack of oxygen. Oxygen binds to haemoglobin in the blood and is thus distributed throughout the body. Oxygenated haemoglobin has a red colour. When oxygenated to the tissues, the colour of haemoglobin darkens and appears blue through the skin and mucous membranes.

Check the colour of the mucous membranes and tongue of your dog regularly. This way you can see if there are deviations in the color. Are you unsure about the colour? Always contact your vet.


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