Last Updated on December 11, 2021 by Marco C.
It’s normal to be afraid if you’ve noticed a dark spot on your dog’s tongue, but there’s usually very little reason to worry. A black spot on a dog’s tongue is a completely normal occurrence in the canine world and you shouldn’t be worried about it. Almost every single breed of dog can develop these spots, while there are even breeds with a completely dark tongue!
What Is The Dark Spot On My Dog’s Tongue?
The largest number of these spots are usually just areas of hyper-pigmentation – these are essentially beauty marks. Just like with human beauty marks, you shouldn’t be worried about it – your dog doesn’t mind.
It’s also possible that these spots aren’t even black. There are many instances where the spot is blue. They can also be very irregular in size – some spots perfectly resemble freckles. Then there are spots which can cover a large portion of the dog’s tongue. There is no need to worry about either, as the size of the spot usually isn’t an indicator of anything dangerous.
It’s not uncommon for these spots to have a certain texture. For example, some spots can be rough to touch, while others completely blend in with the tongue. It’s also common for dogs to develop these spots on their gums.
The opposite can occur as well – your dog can develop a bright, pale spot on their snout, which is usually dark. The discoloration is completely normal with dogs, just the way it is with humans.
Interestingly enough, your dog can develop these spots throughout the years, but some dogs are born with them. Melanin is the most likely cause for these spots, scientists agree. It’s still undetermined how exactly the spots are developed and why, but there’s usually a genetic predisposition to these spots.
You should only worry about these spots if they start changing their shape, color, or texture!
If that happens, then you should take your dog to the vet urgently.
Dogs With Black Spots On Their Tongue
Black spots are completely normal for most dog breeds, with the most common breeds to develop black spots listed below.
Chow-Chows, however, is the most famous dog species to have a dark tongue. In their case, it’s completely normal to have a fully dark tongue. The Chinese Shar-Pei is another breed of dog with a black tongue.
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Dogs that often develop black spots on their tongue, alphabetically: Airedale, Akita, Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Malinois, Bichon Frise, Bouvier de Flandres, Bull Mastiff, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar-Pei, Collie, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, Doberman, English Setter, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Great Pyrenees, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier, Korean Jindo, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Mountain Cur, Newfoundland, Pomeranian, Pug, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Shiba Inu, Siberian Husky, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, and the Tibetan Mastiff.
There are many misconceptions surrounding this, with the most popular one being “My dog has a black spot on his tongue, he’s probably a cross-breed”. This is completely false, as breed purity has nothing to do with pigmentation – many cross-breed and pure breed dogs will develop spots on their tongues.
Another misconception is believing that your dog is ill in some way because of this. Even though illnesses can manifest through dogs’ tongues, this isn’t always the case. Thinking that your dog is ill only because it grew a dark spot on its tongue is incorrect and paranoid.
Some also believe that this is an indicator of an injury – maybe the dog cut their tongue. This is also usually incorrect.
There are instances, however, when the spot is more than simple pigmentation and you should take your dog to see the vet.
When Should I Be Concerned About The Dark Spot On My Dog’s Tongue?
Dogs with black spots on their tongue are usually completely healthy animals and this is rarely a symptom of something dangerous. However, in some instances, these black spots can be just that – an early symptom.
It’s also recommended to take your dog to the vet if the spot appears suddenly, seemingly overnight. A foul odor that can’t be freshened up can also accompany these spots. If that is the case, then you should definitely take your pet to the veterinarian.
However, you shouldn’t take this in with fear. Melanoma is rare with dogs, but the tongue could be the first place to spot one. Many vets use the dog’s tongue as an indicator of your dog’s overall health. If your dog is so unlucky to suffer from melanoma, the tongue will be the first place for you to spot it!
This disease is dangerous and can be fatal if not treated. However, if you spot it and take your dog to the vet on time, it will most likely be just fine, as it’s basically just a niacin deficiency.
Lastly, we’d like to mention the color blue. If your dog’s tongue changes its color to blue, it could mean that your pet is choking or is having trouble breathing in some other way. It’s best to take your dog to the vet if this happens, as it could be suffering from lung disease.
In summation, a dark spot on your dog’s tongue is most likely nothing to worry about. In most cases, it’s simple pigmentation, similar to the pigmentation we develop. These spots can range from dark blue to black, they can be tiny or they can cover the entire tongue. They’re rarely something to worry about, but you should visit the vet if your dog develops bad breath or other symptoms. Know that the tongue is an indicator of health among dogs and you should inspect it every now and again. Your dog, however, is most likely completely fine and the spot is just pigmentation!
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