When we talk about dogs, their tongue is probably one of the last things you think of. You might think it’s cute when they put their head out of the car window with their tongue out or when they lick your face after a long day without seeing you.
But did you know that dog tongues can tell you a lot about them, not only as a species but also about their behavior, helping you understand them better!
So, let’s talk about some interesting facts about your dog’s tongue!
1. Dog emotions are often expressed by their own tongue!
In case you’ve been living under a rock, animals do have emotions, and dogs are a man’s best friend! So, of course, they have emotions!
A lick of a dog can either be a way of him exploring what’s around him or it can also mean happiness and excitement.
When you arrive from work, your dog will probably run towards you while licking your face! This usually means he is happy to see you. Think of a lick as a kiss.
However, be careful about bacteria on the tongue that might cause periodontal disease and it can be transferred to humans.
Just make sure you don’t let your dog lick any dirt or other dangerous items and you’ll be safe.
2. Some dogs might have blue tongues
Did you know dogs could have blue tongues? I know it might seem difficult to believe but some breeds like Shar-Peis and Chow Chows have tongues with blue or dark undertones, sometimes, even vivid blue colors!
It’s totally normal when it comes to these types of dogs but any other race, a blue tongue can mean a possible heart or lung disease, so you should visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.
3. Dog tongues do not possess healing properties
A current myth is that not only dog tongues are cleaner than human tongues but also that dog saliva is able to cure or help with wounds, his own or human wounds.
Notice this is totally false, and even though we can’t prevent our dog from licking himself we can be rational human beings and disinfect their wounds properly and our own too!
Do not rely on the common phrase “licking your wounds” which is totally false. Our tongues and dog tongues have more than 500 types of bacteria, so why would you put bacteria in a wound? Makes no sense right?
4. Dogs must use their tongues to cool themselves
Think about it, dogs do not possess sweat glands as we do. We have them basically everywhere on our bodies, that’s why we sweat a lot, everywhere.
Dogs, however, only have sweat glands on their noses and paws. So, if they can’t sweat from their skin to cool off, and their paws and nose won’t do much difference, they use their own tongues, and that’s why they pant.
Panting makes the air move quickly, through their mouth and tongue, which allows moisture to evaporate. So if your dog starts painting let him be! Even if you’re annoyed by its noise, remember it’s natural, and your dog is not choosing to do this, it’s just how the body of a healthy dog works.
5. Some dogs have huge tongues naturally
A dog with a big tongue isn’t that hard to imagine. To us, most dog tongues are huge. And they are, compared to ours.
But depending on the dog breed, some dogs might have bigger tongues than the others. They are born like this and normally they don’t cause much harm, but they do make it slightly difficult for them to drink milk directly from their mother, for example, that’s why sometimes puppies need to be fed like a baby, through a bottle.
This is a super rare condition and it’s current amongst Boxers. The size of the tongue can be diminished through surgery, but hopefully, that won’t be necessary.
6. A dog bark can be Influenced by its tongue
Does a dog’s tongue affect the way they bark? Heck yes! If our own tongue affects the way we do speak, our dog’s tongue will also influence how he barks!
Of course, our tongues aren’t equal, but that’s because they can’t talk. Otherwise, their tongue couldn’t be as long or narrower.
Our tongue doesn’t change our voice, but modifies it, or makes it sound a certain way. That’s why some people can’t say some letters correctly, their tongue is different, they were born different. The same goes for dogs.
7. Dogs and Cats don’t drink water the same way
Even though they both collect water using their tongues, they do it in a different way. Cat’s use their tongue to pull water, almost like a chameleon would grab something with his tongue and then eat it. So it’s more like a pulling movement.
While a dog forms a spoon shape with his tongue, making him collect more water than the cat, which is normal since dogs drink and need way more water.
If your dog isn’t drinking a lot of water you should check it out since it can be a sign of an unhealthy dog.
8. Dogs groom themselves, just like cats do
Another fun fact that links these two animals is that they both groom themselves.
The only problem is that dog tongues aren’t as effective as cat tongues. A cat’s tongue is specially made for self-grooming, their tongue is covered in tiny barbs that’s why it feels like sandpaper. And being independent animals, most of them wouldn’t even let you come near them with a brush!
When it comes to dog grooming however, it’s best we do it ourselves with the help of a brush. They can get the dirt out but when it comes to tangles and shed fur, he will need your help!
9. Dogs’ tongues have fewer taste buds than we do
Humans have more taste buds than dogs, and dogs have more taste buds than cats. But what even are taste buds? It’s basically your tongue’s capacity to taste a certain amount of flavors.
For example, cats can’t taste sweet food, dogs can taste sweet, bitter, sour and salty. We, of course, can taste all of this and more.
However, for a dog, the smell is way more important than the taste. That’s why you need to be careful with the food you have laying around your house. If he goes straight to the sweets, keep them locked up to prevent future gum disease or other dental problems.
Oral hygiene and dental health should be prioritized when it comes to food options. And if you do end up giving them unhealthy food make sure you’re brushing their teeth daily!
In the end, dog health should always come in the first place, that’s why regular check-ups and dog vaccines are important.
We hope you learned something new after reading this article, make sure to share all this information with your friends who have a dog or are considering adopting one. And always remember that an educated dog owner is the best type of owner!