Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Most dogs have tongues, which is a good thing because tongues are extremely useful!  Here are some of the things that tongues can help a dog do:

1.  Cool off
2.  Lap water
3.  Eat food
4.  Taste food
5.  Clean one's butt
6.  Clean another dog's butt
7.  Kiss a human

First of all, let's talk about panting, since that is what you most often see dogs doing with their tongues.  Why do dogs pant?  Well, it's because dogs don't have lots of sweat glands like people and horses do.  Dogs only have sweat glands in their feet and in their ears.  So the way that dogs get cool is they open their mouths and let their tongues hang out.

Tongues are usually all wet with saliva, so when the tongue is out in the air, this thing called "evaporative cooling" happens, and the hot, wet saliva gets evaporated, which cools the tongue off.  And inside the tongue, there are a bunch of blood vessels, and so the blood gets cooled off and then it goes back to other parts of the body to cool them off, too.  But the part of the dog that especially gets cooled off is the brain, and this is important because if your brain gets too hot, you can die.

Okay, so that's one thing a tongue does, and another thing it does is laps water.  A lot of people used to think that when a dog lapped water, the tongue curled up like a little spoon to bring the water to the mouth. But then someone filmed a dog lapping in slow motion, and found out that the tongue curls under instead of up.  I could have told them this, if they had just asked me, but they didn't.  If you don't believe me and want to watch a little video of this, you can go here:

Dogs have taste buds on their tongues, just like people do, but a dog only has one-sixth as many taste buds as a human does.  Of course, this is no big deal, since we dogs are so much better in other ways, such as having superior senses of smell and hearing.  Anyway, we can definitely taste stuff that's bitter, sweet, salty and sour, which is enough to make eating a very fun thing to do.

Licking is another important use for tongues.  A mama dog will lick her puppies to get them started breathing and to make them pee and poop.  Then when they get older, they lick her mouth to ask her to puke up a little soft food for them.  Licking is also a way that one dog can show it is being submissive to another dog.

Some dogs like to lick their humans because they like the salty taste of their skin, or just to show their love.  Licking is something that makes a dog feel happy and less stressed.  But of course if a dog licks himself too much, that can cause a lick granuloma, which is something I already told you about before.

Chow Chow dogs have black tongues, but nobody knows why.  Chinese Shar-Peis also have black tongues, and so do some other types of animals such as giraffes, polar bears, and several breeds of cattle.  Some people think that if a dog has black spots on its tongue, that dog is part Chow, but this is not true.  Lots of dogs of other breeds sometimes have black spots on their tongues, and these just happen because of some extra pigment, the same as freckles or birthmarks happen.

Another thing some people believe is that dogs have fewer germs in their mouths than people do, but this isn't true either.  If you get bit by a dog or by a human, either one, you still have a good chance of getting an infection, so you should go to the doctor and get some antibiotics right away.  At least that's my advice!


  1. I must say I would rather be licked by a dog than a cat. Dodi & Di both have rough did my other cats. My cat, Di, has a purple is the pads on her feet/paws and even her nose is in the purple family. From what I've read that's normal for a Russian Blue. The pictures you posted are great!
    Love, AP

  2. Dear Aunt Patty,

    I agree that dog tongues are much nicer and softer than cat tongues. That's one reason why I am glad to be a dog instead of a cat, no offense to Dodi and Di!

    Hey, guess what! I changed the design of my blog to autumn leaves. Also I added a "Daily Puppy" thing at the bottom of the page.

    Love, Piper

  3. It is worth mentioning that dogs can get black marks in their tongues as a result of a dietary deficiency in tryptophan, which causes a deficiency in niacin. This causes a condition known as pallegra characterised by black marks on the tongue, ulceration of mucus membranes, and puritic dermatitis of the hind legs and abdomen.

  4. Ok so dogs have soft tounges but i have a lap/pit mix and she has a rougher tounge then my other two dogs and i was wounder why she has such a rougher tounge almost like sandpaper but not quite

    1. That's really odd. I wish I had an answer for you, but I don't!