Purple Tongue Dog

Purple Tongue Dog

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There are several reasons a dog can have a purple tongue. Some dog breeds naturally have purple tongues, while in others purple tongue is a sign of certain health issues. 

Purple Tongue Dog: A Reson For Concern?

What can the color of a dog’s tongue tell us about his health?

The color of the dog’s tongue can tell us a lot about his overall health. Just by looking at the dog’s tongue, we can draw some conclusions about his current state and health.

For example, a dog’s tongue can be pink, pale, purple, or red. Each of these colors is a signal of certain processes or issues inside the dog’s body. 

So, let’s analyze them:

Pink tongue

We will start with the pink tongue because this is the natural color of the dog’s tongue. The pink color of the tongue is a strong indication that your dog is healthy.

Red tongue

Red tongue in dogs is commonly accompanied by black spots and swelling. These are the symptoms of extremely aggressive and malignant cancer – melanoma

Purple tongue

As we have already said, the purple tongue is a normal occurrence in some dog breeds. However, if your dog doesn’t belong to these breeds and has a purple tongue, this signals the dog lacks oxygen. The lack of oxygen can point to several health issues. However, the two most common ones are respiratory and heart disease. Therefore, it is crucial that you take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice its tongue turning purple.

White, Pale tongue

Pale tongue signals that the dog is suffering from serious health issues. Pale gums in combination with the pale tongue can be a sign of leukemia, internal bleeding, parasitic infection, poisoning, anemia, etc. 

What Causes Purple Tongue In Dog?

The main reason why a dog’s tongue changes color to purple is the lack of oxygen. However, the reasons that provoke the lack of oxygen may differ.

These are the most common causes of purple tongue in dogs:


Dogs love to eat everything they come across. Often, the dog will eat a foreign body that will get lodged in his throat. This foreign object will cause blockage of the airways thus preventing oxygen to get inside the dog’s blood thus changing the color of his tongue.


Some poisons will cause a dog to suffer from the lack of oxygen thus causing the occurrence of the black tongue.

Pleural effusion

Pleural effusion is a condition in which blood and fluids accumulate in the dog’s chest. This leads to multiple health issues such as heart problems, pneumonia, liver problems, tumors, kidney problems, etc.


Pneumothorax is a rare but serious condition in dogs that is caused by an abnormal collection of air in the dog’s chest. One of the signs of pneumothorax is a purple tongue. Therefore, as soon as your dog’s tongue starts turning blue, visit the vet immediately.

What dog breeds have purple tongues?

The Shar-Pei and the Chow Chow require dark blue-purple tongues in the breed standard. 

Other dogs that can have purple tongues are:

  • Shiba Inu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Akita
  • Pomeranian
  • Samoyed
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Keeshond


If your dog is among the above-mentioned dog breeds then the purple tongue is a normal occurrence. On the other hand, if the dog doesn’t belong to these breeds and has a purple tongue, take him to the vet immediately.

Dogs With Spotted Tongues

Dogs With Spotted Tongues

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