Dog Tongue Color Chart: Tongue Color Meaning

Dog showing his tongue

Your dog’s tongue probably catches your attention numerous times a day. You may notice it when he licks your face to show his love. A dog also licks his paws and coat and grooms himself with his tongue. But have you ever observed the color of his tongue? If so, have you ever wondered what color a dog’s tongue normally is? Interestingly, a dog’s tongue color can indicate its health. You can find out how by going through our dog tongue color chart.


Dog Tongue Color Meaning


The simplest way to assess a dog’s health is to observe the color of his tongue. His tongue can be used as a first-line diagnostic tool to keep him healthy. Actually, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body that is rich in blood vessels. Therefore, any change in its appearance gives us cues that can point to a health problem.


If you notice a bad color, take him to the vet immediately. Sometimes a dog’s tongue color is naturally unique. Or it may have turned into a different color due to a colored diet. In these cases, you don’t have to worry about it. Our dog tongue color chart will help you learn more about your dog’s tongue color. 


There’s a whole branch of traditional Chinese medicine that deals with tongue diagnosis. Dog tongue diagnosis involves an examination of its color, shape, texture, width, and coating. Of all these categories, we’ll be focusing on color in this article. Here are some colors of a dog’s tongue, which will let you learn about his health condition. 


Fresh Pink

Puppy dog with purple tongue color


If your dog’s tongue color is fresh pink, it means he’s all healthy. Pink is the normal tongue color for most dogs. There may be some exceptions when the tongue is all pink with spots of a different color. Don’t worry, it’s because the dog has inherited its tongue color from parents with different tongue colors.


The color of a healthy dog’s tongue will be a fresh pink if he’s at rest. After exercise or running, his temperature goes up. The blood vessels in the tongue undergo vasodilation to normalize the temperature. Due to surfaced or dilated vessels, the tongue color appears red. 


Pale Pink

Dog sitting outside with pale purple tongue


Usually, when a dog gets older, the fresh pink color of his tongue turns pale. Another reason for a pale pink tongue is the deficiency of blood. It may be due to some internal bleeding as a result of injury. The red blood count of your dog may have fallen. It may be because of a health condition like anemia or leukemia. 


Rarely, a pale pink tongue is an indication of poisoning or infection. Whatever the cause, maybe a pale tongue color is not a good sign. You should have your pooch diagnosed as a matter of prevention.



German shepherd with red tongue


A red tongue is normal when you see your dog panting after a workout. He’s just trying to cool himself down, and his tongue is helping him in the process. But in other cases, it can be a sign of pain or inflammation. Fever, inflammation, and pain also increase the body’s heat, resulting in a red tongue. 


A red dog tongue, especially around the edges, can also be caused by diabetes or elevated levels of liver enzymes. Renal problems, toxicity, or bacterial infections may also result in a red tongue in your dog. So, if you notice a red tongue when he’s at rest, consider taking him to the veterinarian. 


Purple or Lavender

brown dog with purple color tongue


A purple or lavender tongue indicates GI stasis. In this condition, the digestive system of the dog gets slowed down. His pancreas, intestines, and liver do not receive enough blood to work properly. As a result, the dog ends up with severe diarrhea, constipation, and pancreatitis.


A dog suffering from cancer may also develop a purple tongue due to the use of chemotherapy drugs. Some dogs showing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome also have purple tongues. In short, a tongue that is lavender in color means you need a visit to the vet. 



Dog showing his blue tongue color


Blue is the most concerning tongue color for your pooch. Although a dog like Chow Chow is born with a blue tongue. But a blue tongue in other dogs indicates life-threatening conditions. It is, in most cases, a sign of severe poisoning.


The cyanosis (blueness) of the tongue is due to hypoxia, or the lack of oxygen. It may be due to cardiac arrest, breathing difficulty, or other heart or respiratory conditions. If not treated immediately, it can lead to the death of a dog. 




A yellow tongue indicates a liver malfunction or gallbladder disease. Either your dog’s gastrointestinal system is not working properly or he has developed jaundice. In any case, you must take your pooch to the vet for a proper diagnosis. 


Dog Tongue Color Chart


Tongue Color 

Health Status

Fresh Pink


Pale Pink 

Blood deficiency, internal bleeding, hemolytic anemia, poisoning, or infection


High temperature, pain, inflammation, renal problems, diabetes, toxicity, or bacterial infections 

Purple or Lavender 

GI stasis, irritable bowel syndrome, effects of chemotherapy 


Hypoxia, poisoning, cardiac dysfunction, or respiratory disease 


Liver or gallbladder malfunction, and jaundice 


Final Thoughts on Dog Tongue Color


A normal tongue color in dogs is pink. Any other color can be a sign of health issues. Using our dog tongue color chart, you can get a clue about your dog’s health condition. But remember! This chart is merely for suggestion purposes. You must not rely on it completely for diagnosis. If you notice any change in your dog’s tongue color, take him to the vet as soon as you can. 

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