A dog’s tongue may sometimes become cold due to a variety of reasons. You may encounter this situation occasionally and wonder why my dog’s tongue is cold. Well, some of the reasons are quite obvious; others may need extra care and a trip to the vet to address them.
It is essential to identify the underlying cause of cold tongue in dogs to get the right solution. So, how to tell if your dog’s cold tongue is normal or a health concern? Read this article to find out the various reasons for cold tongues in dogs.
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What Causes Cold Tongue in Dogs?
As a dog parent, I need to take care of my furry friends around the clock and take note of any changes that may appear in my dog’s behavior or body. So, when you realize that your dog has a cold tongue, you may feel concerned as to whether it is due to an illness or an underlying condition.
Most often, you won’t have to worry as it could be because of some obvious reason. However, it is essential to know and learn all the possible causes. So, what are the common causes of a dog’s cold tongue? Check out below!
Eating or Drinking Cold Things
Like humans, your furry friend’s tongue may also become cold when they eat or drink anything cold. I know how excited my dogs get when they see ice cream or learn that they are going to get a cold treat.
These cool goodies may often leave a dog’s tongue cold. It is one of the top answers to your “why is my dog’s tongue cold” question. It will go back to normal after a while and is not a cause for any concern.
Panting with Tongue Out
An increase in body temperature can make them pant to cool down when they become overheated. And occasionally, evaporative cooling from panting can make a dog’s tongue seem cool.
Dogs lose more heat when they pant than they would via regular breathing because their saliva evaporates pretty fast. The surface of their tongues and the area around their lips may get cooler as a result. So, there’s no need to worry in the case of a natural dog panting with its tongue out.
Licking Cold Things
Your dog may have just licked something cold if that’s the reason for his strangely cool tongue. It’s a constant behavior with my dogs because they like cold surfaces and can’t resist licking them.
A dog with a cool tongue, for instance, would be prone to licking interesting objects like chilly windows in the morning. There’s no need to freak out if it happens periodically because normally this only lasts until his tongue naturally warms back up again.
My dog’s frequent belly-up and back sleeping position has often given me the jibes. However, it’s normal and may be the cause of its sporadic cold tongue.
This is merely a result of gravity and the tongue’s inability to effectively receive blood when it is raised and inverted over the ground. The tongue will become considerably cooler as blood rushes out and circulates into the lower parts of the body.
Dogs that sleep with their tongues out may be doing so to cool off or just because it’s a comfortable position for them. When they finally wake up, their tongue will do the same and return to their usual warmth.
Your Dog Feels Cold
A cold nose and tongue in a dog are normal, as long as they are not caused by the dog feeling cold. The tongue of your dog may turn chilly if its body temperature has decreased and it feels cold. Small, young, and old dogs are more likely to be vulnerable to the cold.
My dogs mostly feel cold due to exposure to cold weather or moist settings. They usually display a stooped posture with their tail tucked, whine, search for cover, lift their paws off the ground, or shake or shiver when it feels cold. It gives it right away, and I take the necessary measures to make them feel warm again.
Your Dog Has Vasoconstriction
Vasoconstriction happens when blood vessels in certain places narrow, allowing less blood to pass through them. As a result, those locations may feel colder than usual since less heat is transferred from the body’s center to them. The body will, however, tighten these blood arteries when your dog feels cold, preventing blood from reaching the region.
Instead, the blood is rerouted to the center to maintain the temperature of the heart, kidneys, and other critical organs. Since several microscopic blood veins on a dog’s tongue supply the muscle with blood and keep it warm, vasoconstriction may make it cold. It can lead to hypothermia in dogs.
Medications are Causing It
Your dog might experience a negative effect from taking medicine that causes colder tongue temps as well. Your veterinarian likely informed you of the adverse effects if your dog started on a new medicine or had his dose altered. In addition, certain treatments like anesthesia can make it difficult for dogs to regulate body heat.
Internal changes occur in dogs that are taking medicine. It can also lead to changes in dog behavior along with a shift in body temperature. You can contact your veterinarian and inquire whether this may be the reason for his chilly tongue if you don’t recall any adverse effects being mentioned.
Underlying Health Condition
An excellent indicator of a dog’s general health is the condition of its tongue. The wrong color or temperature is one of the common signs of sickness in dogs.
This is a result of the tongue’s extensive network of arteries, veins, and capillaries. These vessels are extremely sensitive to change, so when something is wrong, they will exhibit a change in color or condition that will indicate how sick they are.
It may be an indication of an illness or other problem impacting your dog’s capacity to circulate blood if its tongue has turned chilly and clammy. The tongue changes color and texture in addition to temperature. It may indicate illness if your dog’s tongue is white, chilly, and damp. Poor posture, irritability, and self-grooming are further symptoms of illness.
Is a dog’s cold tongue a reliable indicator of its body temperature?
Since dogs utilize their tongues to control their body temperature, a cold tongue won’t tell you much about canine body temperature. To determine it accurately, I usually use a rectal thermometer to take the temperature reading of my dog.
You may not find it easy to do this as you need to have the proper tool and know-how; it’s better to stick with a professional to get it done right. However, if you have done it and feel comfortable taking your dog’s temperature this way, you don’t have to worry about it.
What does it mean if my dog’s tongue is always cold?
If your dog’s tongue is always cold, it could be because of excessive panting, as in the case of my dog. The average normal temperature of a dog’s tongue is between 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. However, excessive panting can cause it to drop below this range.
Some dog breeds naturally pant more than others, so excessive panting may not necessarily be a cause for concern. However, if your dog is not one of them, then you should check the temperature and look out for other signs of sickness.
Dog first aid kit must have a rectal thermometer that can help you measure their temperature accurately. For accurate temperature readings, I always lubricate the rectal thermometers before invading my dog’s space (it’s for their benefit, of course!).
You should carefully put it into the rectum of smaller dogs—around an inch—or the rectum of bigger dogs—about 2 to 3 inches.
Your dog is likely feeling cooler than it should if the temperature is below 101 but above 99 degrees F. Shivering, weakness, lethargy, and despair are just a few other symptoms of cold exposure that you could see in your dog.
What to Do When Your Dog Has a Cold Tongue?
Trying to figure out why your dog’s tongue feels chilly can help you find the right solution. If it isn’t caused by anything like your dog drinking cold water or consuming ice cubes, it might be an indication of an underlying medical condition.
Are you wondering how to warm up a dog’s cold tongue and prevent it from happening again? The answer is simple and easy to implement. You can use a humidifier, help your dog to rest, provide lots of fluids, keep their environment neat, avoid putting them in stressful situations, and keep them well fed. All these can ensure dog wellness.
Can a dog’s cold tongue be a symptom of dehydration or heat exhaustion?
A cold tongue may not directly indicate dehydration or heat exhaustion. However, dog heatstroke can cause excessive panting, which may be the result of hyperthermia.
Dehydration in dogs can also make them excessively thirsty. You will often find them seeking water, and they never seem to quench their thirst.
Make sure your dog is not overheating if your senior dog is panting excessively. When my dog shows such behavior, I get him out of the sun right away and give him enough water to rehydrate him. Dog hydration is essential to keep them away from heat exhaustion and consequent panting that will make their tongue cold.
What are the other signs of illness to look for if my dog’s tongue is cold?
Along with a cold tongue, you must look out for additional signs of illness to know whether your dog is sick. Your dog may feel irritated, become clingy, show signs of fear, and seem to have lost interest in their favorite activities when they are sick.
In addition, changes in dog anatomy can further prove your suspicion of an underlying disease. Swelling and pigmentation of the tongue, discolored gums, bad breath, hair loss, skin problems, lumps under the skin, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are some of the symptoms of medical conditions.
My dog’s tongue is cold, and he’s not eating, what should I do?
If your dog is not eating and has a cold tongue, it can be an indication of an eating disorder or sickness. Changes in eating patterns are one of the first signs of illness in dogs. If it is accompanied by a cold tongue, you should get the help of a veterinarian immediately, as your dog is losing blood circulation.
Anorexia in dogs can make them lose their appetite or be unable to eat due to chewing and swallowing difficulties. Liver disease, pyometra, diabetes, and dental diseases are among the conditions that can cause a loss of appetite in dogs.
There are several reasons why your dog’s tongue may feel cold, most of which are not a cause for concern. However, if you see additional signs along with a cold tongue, you may have to get your dog to the nearest vet to get a thorough diagnosis. Keeping your furry little companions healthy can help you build better bonds with them and make them love you more!
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1. Is it normal for a dog’s tongue to be cold?
A: If your dog just had a cold treat like an ice cream or an ice cube, licked something cold, or was panting, it is normal to have the tongue cold. However, if these are not the reasons, then you should get the help of a professional veterinarian to get to the root cause.
2. Can a dog’s cold tongue be a sign of illness or disease?
A: Most often, a dog’s cold tongue does indicate any illness or disease. However, a pale pink or white tongue, along with a cold temperature, may indicate severe anemia brought on by an immune-mediated illness or internal hemorrhage. It can also be canine flu or vasoconstriction.
3. How can I tell if my dog’s cold tongue is a cause for concern?
A: A dog’s cold tongue is a cause for concern when it becomes a medical condition. It may be indicated by symptoms including loss of consciousness, lethargy, or unusual behavior, as well as an increased body temperature, discolored, darker, or pale tongue or gums, or any of these. Your dog may be anemic or malnourished if its tongue is pale and has a chilly temperature.
4. Is a dog’s tongue temperature a reliable indicator of its overall health?
A: Checking the tongue temperature may not be a reliable indicator of dog health. It is so because your dog may have eaten or licked something cold or was panting, which made its tongue cold. You need to look for additional signs and measure the rectal temperature to be sure of the overall health. Another way to check their nose. Another way to check if your dog has a fever is to feel their nose. A wet and cold nose is considered normal, while a hot and dry nose may indicate a fever.