Should You Be Worried About Black Spots On Your Dog’s Tongue?

So, your dog has black spots on its tongue. Does it mean they’ve got some chow chow in them or that perhaps there’s a problem? The answer is very likely no on both counts. There are actually a number of breeds where this is not at all uncommon. The list includes but is not limited to Dobermans, Labradors, German shepherds, Airedales, a few hounds, collies, and even little guys such as Pomeranians, pugs, and bichon frisés. It can be one small spot or many.

dog with spotted tongue
Photo: Pixabay/RonaldPlett

Spotted Tongues in Dogs

The culprit here is not a long-hidden chow on the family tree or even a disease making its presence known but merely a difference in pigmentation. That’s not to say that a dog isn’t more apt to end up with a spotted tongue if one or both of its parents have spotted tongues. But think of them as more of a birthmark, if you will. According to Dr. Brian Evans, DVM and medical director at Dutch, an online veterinary service, “Black spots on a dog’s tongue are typically nothing more than pigmentation and are completely harmless.” Furthermore, puppies that weren’t born with any can still develop them later in life.

Pigmentation Change or Cancer

While the vast majority of the time there is absolutely nothing to worry about, even if black spots crop up later in life, there is still a slim chance something else is going on. Just like moles or sunspots, it’s important to note any changes in the spots and to monitor them. “While spots on the tongue are typically harmless,” Evans says, “if the spots are raised or have a different texture than the rest of the tongue, this could be a sign that there is something else happening and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.” The same can be said if a black or discolored spot appears and develops quickly.

collie
Photo: Pixabay/Kanashi

Animal Health

One of the possible issues you could be encountering is a serious niacin deficiency. Another is that it could be a sign of melanoma or a tumor. Both are extremely rare, but if they present with other symptoms, such as foul breath, difficulty eating, excessive drooling, redness or ulcerations in the mouth, or weight loss, it’s definitely time to take action. On the other hand, if a black spot or spots appear with no other signs or symptoms, your dog is likely fine. Having said that, you should still check with your vet just to be on the safe side. Good oral health is important to people and animals, so check your pets regularly and advise your veterinarian when changes occur.

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