Black Spots on Dogs Tongue, Dark Marks, Dots, Causes

Black spots on dogs tongue is a strange affair but not necessarily life-threatening or harmful to their health. Majority of dog breeds have pink tongues naturally.

We shall discuss the difference between harmful spots on your dog’s tongue and those that are not harmful. What to look out for and when to take your dog for a checkup by a professional veterinarian.

A breed of dog known as Chow Chow originally from Northern China is the only dog breed that has a natural black tongue. The entire tongue is black not spotted.

Therefore, most dogs with black patches or spots on theory tongues are assumed to be a hybrid of the Chow Chow. Another breed of dog known as Chinese Shar-Pei is also naturally born with a black tongue.

Are Black Spots on Dogs Tongue Unusual?

Black spots being rare do not render them unusual. There are approximately 30 breeds of dogs that get black spots on their pink tongue.

The most common include Labrador breed, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.  Black spots on the tongue may appear in clusters or spread all over the tongue.

The spots may form on the same place so close together that they look like in another case it just a tiny spot on one section of the tongue. The dogs are born with these spots or develop them when they are still a puppy.

Black spots on dogs’ tongue that develop at an older age are likely to be a health hazard. The black color is attributed to melanin pigment.

How do Harmful Spots on the Tongue Look Like?         

Some dogs are born with black spots on their tongues while others develop the black spots in old age.  Black spots on dog’s tongue at old age are likely to be harmful to the health of your dog.

Normal spots on the tongue are usually black, dark blue or dark grey in color. Others colors should be diagnosed by a vet. Red, White or grey leathery spots should be checked by a vet.

Cause of Black Spots on Dogs Tongue

Dark spots on the tongue of your dog are influenced by different factors. Most spots are caused by melanin however there are other factors and we shall discuss them in details.

1. Melanin

Melanin refers to skin pigmentation that is produced by cells known as melanocytes. It determines whether the skin will have a darker shade or a lighter shade. The more the concentration of melanocytes that produce melanin on a specific part of the skin the darker the skin will appear.

Light skin indicates less production of melanin. This applies to the dog’s tongue as well. Black spots on a dog’s tongue can be caused by the concentration of melanin on tiny sections of the tongue.

If they are spread out they will appear as dark spots on the tongue. If the melanin is concentrated on only one spot it will appear as a dark patch on the tongue.

The production of melanin is a natural phenomenon and cannot be controlled. It is inborn. Some dogs are born with black spots on the tongue whilst their parents do not exhibit any of those features. Other dogs acquire these traits from their parents.

You need to take your dog to check up and let the vet diagnose the spots. If they are simply made of melanin, then you have nothing to worry about. Melanin is natural hence your dog’s health is not at risk. You will just have to learn to embrace the nature of your dog’s tongue.

After all the spots can be so cute when they are evenly distributed in a regular pattern.

2. Underlying Health Concern

As discussed earlier, natural black spots on Dogs Tongue tend to develop at birth and remain the same throughout the dog’s lifetime. You need to be alarmed about black spots on a dog’s tongue that develop at an older age.

It is even worse when the spots keep increasing in size over time. Any other type of spots on the tongue of your dog is a health concern. You need to watch out for the following kind of spots on the tongue of your dog;

  1. Spots that have a different color apart from dark blue or black
  2. Spots whose texture does not blend with the natural texture of the tongue
  3. Spots that are slightly raised above the surface of the tongue
  4. Spots that change in size and shape over time
  5. Spots that appear suddenly at old age
  6. Spots that spread to other parts of the mouth such as gums and jaws
  7. Spots on the tongue that ooze and produce a foul smell
  8. Dark spots with white boundaries

Get your dog examined by a professional vet to diagnose the cause of these abnormal black spots on the tongue of your dog.

The best way to notice changes in the details of your dog is by regular examining the oral cavity of your dog as well as routine brushing of teeth and tongue.  A vet is likely to diagnose your dog with the following health issues.

3. Cyanosis

This is a type of disease that causes discoloration of the tongue. It may extend to other parts of the skin apart from the tongue.

Cyanosis is caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen in the body. Oxygen supply to the body can be hindered by heart diseases lung diseases or allergies to certain chemical toxins.

Asthma attack on dogs will interfere with the dog’s ability to take in enough air for its lung capacity. A damaged heart is not able to pump oxygen throughout the body.

A weak lung will not be able to perform its duties. Circulation of oxygen in the body can also be caused by a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the body.

Remember it is the red blood cells that carry oxygen into the blood. Red blood cells can be lost during severe internal or external bleeding, by leukemia or the tick bone disease. Generally, any factor that causes the loss of blood from the body will interfere with the red blood cells.

 Avoid exposing your dog to chemicals or any other air-bone toxins that may damage their respiratory system. People who smoke cigarettes are advised to do it away from their dogs.

If you have to, then preferably have your cigarettes in an open space where the smoke will not be concentrated in one place.

A cigarette is generally harmful to the health of both animals and humans. Passive smokers are more affected than active smokers. If you have been looking for a reason to quit smoking, then you have found a valid one that is a gesture of true love. Quit the habit for the sake of your beloved dog.

4. Uremic Syndrome

In reference to the symptoms that have been stated above. Black spots on dogs tongue that is sunken like ulcers are caused by the uremic syndrome. This syndrome is associated with accumulation of water products such as urea and other toxins in the body.

Toxins accumulate in the body when the kidney is dysfunctional or the urinary tract is blocked. You should also keep your dog well hydrated so that toxins can be washed away from the body as regular as possible via urine and poop.

Others include;

  1. Lung Disease
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Oral Ulcers
  4. Canine melanoma
  5. Squamous cell carcinoma
  6. Niacin Defiance
  7. Oral Cancer

If detected early enough most of these complications can be contained. Give your dog the attention it deserves in order to notice any of these small but risky symptoms.

On those easy evening when you are bonding or cuddling either your dog on the couch or on the patio, you can examine their entire body in order to be familiar with their body features.

This helps you spot any abnormalities with ease. You should also observe your dog while feeding.

Lesions on the tongue can make eating quietly uncomfortable. These tips may sound like work but if you love something you got to put the work in. Remember a stitch in time saves nine.

5. Cancer

Most of the black spots on dogs tongue are benign. Cancerous spots will exhibit extraordinary features such as being on the raised level as compared to the surface of the tongue. These spots will not match the texture of the tongue.

Their texture is not in harmony with the nature of the entire tongue. Cancerous spots can occur in both breeds that are born with natural black spots on dogs tongue or those are born without. They appear suddenly at old age.

They may grow rapidly or gradually. These spots will keep changing in shape. If you observe the tongue of your dog, you will easily notice that they stand out as abnormal. The two major types of cancer that affect dogs are known as melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

 Ensure that you get your dog checked by a professional vet as soon as possible. Cancerous cells can be contained at the early stages. Otherwise, cancer is fatal.

Ignoring these spots or discovering them when it is too late is quite unfortunate. You will regret while burying your dog. It is important to take good care of a dog once you chose to be its master or once you adopt it as your best friend in your home.

List of Breeds That Are Born with Black Spots on Dogs Tongue Naturally

As we mentioned, in the beginning, there are approximately 30 to 42 breeds of dogs that have blacks spots on their tongue at a tender age. The list is quite long. If your dog’s breed appears in this list, then you rest your worries;

  1. Belgian Sheepdog
  2. Belgian Tervuren
  3. Airedale
  4. German Shepherd
  5. Akita,
  6. Cocker Spaniel
  7. Dalmatian
  8. Australian Cattle Dog
  9. Australian Shepherd
  10. Belgian Malinois
  11. Bichon Frise
  12. Rottweiler
  13. Siberian Husky,
  14. Soft-Coated Wheaten
  15. Bouvier des Flandres
  16. Bull Mastiff
  17. English Setter
  18. Cairn Terrier
  19. Collie
  20. Pug
  21. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  22. Doberman Pinscher
  23. Eurasier
  24. Fila Brasileiro
  25. Flat-Coated Retriever
  26. Golden Retriever
  27. Irish Setter
  28. Kai Ken
  29. Shiba Inu
  30. Korean Jindo
  31. Labrador Retriever
  32.  Mastiff
  33. Mountain Cur,
  34. Newfoundland
  35. Pomeranian
  36. Tibetan Mastiff
  37. Keeshond
  38. Gordon Setter
  39. The great Pyrenees
  40. Kerry Blue Terrier

Black Spots on Dogs Tongue, When to See a Doctor

Ideally, you need to subject your dog to regular check-ups by a professional veterinarian. Most of the diseases that attack your dog can be treated when detected at an early stage. Black spots on the tongue of the dog that appear at old age are cause for alarm.

Especially when these spots are raised and produce a foul smell plus they do not look like the rest of the tongue surface. Spots that are any other color apart from black or dark blue should also get checked.

The black spots on the tongue of your dog are likely to normal if your dog’s breed is listed above. However professional still insist that a vet has to verify if the spots are healthy or harmful to the health of your pet.

Last but not least, you should note that natural healthy spots appear gradually as e dog grows while harmful spots will appear suddenly and spread rapidly.

They are likely to be cancerous. Do not diagnose the dog at home, neither should you make assumptions. Local herbs cannot treat cancer so kindly get appropriate and professional treatment and medication.


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