Why Is My Dog’s Tongue White? (8 Reasons You Should Call The Vet ASAP)

Dogs are, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable pets to have. Not only are they loyal and kind, and they can be very protective too. And for those of us with kids, a dog can be a great addition to the family. They can teach kids responsibility, and help keep them active.

With dogs enriching our lives with all of this and more, it’s only right that we reciprocate that same level of love and care to them. Of course, dogs need exercise, a balanced diet, proper training, social interaction, and plenty of love and attention.

But what about when your dog starts showing signs that something might not be quite right? This can come in many forms and it’s important to know if your dog is being goofy or if something more serious is afoot.

Maybe your dog is suddenly obsessed with your legs, or perhaps she doesn’t like flies, or possibly your dog swallowed something dangerous. Needing to know how to approach odd situations is something all dog owners will likely face.

So, what about when your dog’s tongue looks weird? Why is my dog’s tongue white? Unfortunately, there isn’t one quick and easy answer to why your dog’s tongue is white. Even worse, nearly everything that could cause your dog’s tongue to be white is a good reason to call your vet.

Your dog’s tongue could be white due to anemia, allergic reaction, infection, injury, shock, poison, respiratory issues, chronic conditions, or thrush.


Anemia is a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body and can lead to your dog’s tongue appearing pale or white. If your dog is exhibiting any other symptoms, such as weakness, lethargy, or breathing difficulties, it is important to take him or her to the vet as soon as possible.

An Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction could also cause your tongue to appear pale or white. If you’ve recently introduced something new into your dog’s life, such as new food, shampoo, or medication, and their tongue turns white, it could be an allergic reaction.

Don’t forget, most dogs also like to get into things they shouldn’t. If you saw your good girl chewing on something in the yard when all her toys were inside, you should probably investigate!

Allergic reactions can range from mild to life-threatening, so if you think your dog is having one, call your veterinarian immediately.


Infection is another possible reason for your dog’s tongue to appear pale or white. If your dog also has other signs of infection then this is a cause for concern and you should call your vet right away.


Loss of blood can cause tongues (and other body parts) to lose their natural color. Remember, not all bleeding will be immediately apparent too. Obviously, if your dog has a wound that is causing her to lose a lot of blood, you’ll likely already know why your dog’s tongue is white.

However, some injuries that cause bleeding can be internal and won’t be so obvious. If your dog’s tongue is white and she’s acting pained, it might be worth a trip to the vet just to be sure.


Shock can result from many medical problems, such as blood loss, an allergic reaction, or heart failure. And depending on the type of shock it could cause your dog’s tongue to appear pale or white. If your dog is in shock, there’s a chance her body isn’t getting enough oxygen.

In addition to whatever made your dog go into shock, shock alone is a reason to contact your emergency vet as soon as possible.


Poisoning is another dangerous problem that can cause your dog’s tongue to appear pale or white. If you think your dog has been poisoned, call your vet or local animal poison control right away and follow their instructions.

Many different things can be poisonous to dogs, from plants and food to chemicals and medications. Before you introduce anything new into your dog’s life, make sure to do your research first!

Respiratory Issues

Respiratory issues might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a dog’s tongue, but it’s worth mentioning. If your dog is having difficulty breathing, her tongue might turn pale or white due to a lack of oxygen.

If this is the case, then it’s an emergency and you should call your vet or local animal hospital right away.

Chronic Conditions

Many chronic conditions can cause a dog’s tongue to appear pale or white, such as liver disease, kidney disease, or cancer. If your dog has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, make sure to follow your vet’s instructions and take them in for regularly scheduled check-ups.


Thrush is a common fungal infection that can occur in the mouth of both dogs and humans. Thrush can cause your dog’s tongue to turn white or yellow and might also make it look fuzzy.

Usually, thrush isn’t a medical emergency, but it’s still important to get it treated. If your dog has thrush, be sure to mention it to her vet so they can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.

Are Dogs’ Tongues Supposed To Be White?

No, dogs’ tongues are not supposed to be white.

What Color Should My Dog’s Tongue Be?

A healthy dog’s tongue is usually a kind of pink color. Though each breed may have a slightly different ‘normal’ colored tongue, a healthy dog’s tongue is usually light, bright, or dark pink.

What To Do If My Dog’s Tongue Is White?

With almost every reason for your dog’s tongue being white that I covered ended with ‘call your vet’ (or poison control). That’s because most of the time a dog’s tongue only turns white when there’s something very wrong.

So, if your dog’s tongue is white, and you can’t think of any good reasons why then it’s probably best to give your vet a call just in case.

They may want you and your pooch to come in for an examination or they might just give you some instructions over the phone.

In any case, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health!

Summary: Why Is My Dog’s Tongue White?

There are many potential causes for a dog’s tongue to turn white, from allergies and infections to anemia, poisoning, and respiratory issues. If you’re unsure why your dog’s tongue is white, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and contact your veterinarian. In most cases, a white tongue can be a sign of a serious medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

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