Examining Your Dog for Tongue Infections

Of all of the possible dog oral problems, dog tongue infections are one of the least common, but most unpleasant Learning how to recognize dog tongue problems early on will save you a lot of stress (and maybe money) later.

A Healthy Dog Tongue

A healthy dog tongue will be pink and moist. Dogs salivate more than humans, so it is normal for them to have wet tongues and even for some breeds to slobber regularly. Some dogs may also have patches of black on their tongues; as long as the patches are flat they are most likely caused by the melanin pigmentation passed down through certain breeds. Unlike humans, dogs do not have uniform taste buds but instead have varying textures on their tongues which register different tastes. It is normal for the center of the tongue to look shredded and for the back of the tongue to display larger bumps.

Symptoms of Oral Infections

It's good for you to check your dog's mouth often so you'll recognize any changes in his breath or the color and texture of his teeth and tongue. A raised, irregular patch of black may indicate an oral tumor, while any inflamed red areas could indicate a burn or abrasion. Dog teeth are prone to plaque build-up which may cause them to appear yellow or even orangish at the edges, but gray or brown teeth (or inflammation of the gums around the teeth) may indicate any number of dog oral problems. Discharge or especially foul breath is a clear indication of infection, as is the formation of an abscess on, above, or below the jaw. An abscess is basically a pustule, and while it is good to drain abscesses this action alone will not cure an infection.

How to Prevent Dog Oral Problems

A good dog mouth cleaning routine is the best way to prevent infections and other oral problems. You can clean your dog's teeth yourself using special dog toothpaste or have your veterinarian do it as part of regular check-ups. Even minor abrasions in the mouth should be cleaned to prevent them from becoming infected. If your dog lacerates his tongue or mouth frequently, then consider investing in a mild over-the-counter antibiotic to ward off infections while their mouth heals.