Of all the reasons I might bring my dog to the vet’s, I never thought I’d bring him because of the color of his tongue. But it turns out that tongue color may indicate some other health issues going on in your dog, and can be a good indicator of when to bring your dog to the vet’s.

Ike seemed a little off this morning and didn’t want to eat his breakfast, a highly unusual event no matter how he feels. I looked in his mouth to see if I saw anything that might account for it, and while I didn’t notice anything particularly wrong with his teeth or gums, I did notice that his tongue was pale white. I remembered that the vet mentioned before that this could be a sign of anemia. So I made an appointment to have a check up and blood work.  Hopefully whatever is going on will be mild and treatable.

In the meantime, I looked up more information, and discovered that a white tongue is not the only color tongue to be concerned about. If you take note of any, consider discussing it with your vet. These colors MAY indicate the possibility of some of these conditions. *Please note that I am not a veterinarian, and this list is not a diagnosis of your dog, just a tool to help evaluate your dog.

  • WHITE-weakened body
    condition, anemia, leukemia,
    blood pressure problems, loss of blood,  malnutrition .
  • DEEP RED–bacterial or viral infection, hyperthyroidism, or an accumulation of toxins somewhere in the body.
  • BLUE– pain, heart disease, circulatory problems, liver
    disease, hepatitis, or autoimmune issues.
  • YELLOW– gastritis, gall bladder or liver malfunction.*

It is also helpful to take note of any coating on your dog’s tongue, any bumps and sores, and be sure to look under his tongue as well.

*Information gathered from Healthy Pets article by Dr. Karen Becker.