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You should never ignore a dog’s tongue turning white, as this is a pretty clear sign that there is something not quite right. You should take this very seriously because this will usually happen due to either an injury or an infection. Below you will find a list of the most common reasons why the tongue of your dog might turn white, why you shouldn’t ignore this symptom, and what you can do when you notice it.
Anemia is one of the more common reasons
Although anemia might not seem all that bad when affecting people, it is very serious in the case of dogs and can even become life-threatening if it isn’t taken care of as soon as it is spotted. Anemia can be caused by diseases such as cancer, infections, tick-borne disease, immune-system disorders, gastrointestinal bleeding, or trauma, but it can also be caused by other issues as well.
Along with a white tong, the dog suffering from anemia will also have other symptoms, like pale gums for example. Normally, the gums of the dog shouldn’t be pale in color, but pink. An anemic dog, on the other hand, will often have pale or pink-ish white gums. You will also notice that your dog is all of the sudden becoming more lethargic than usual when having to deal with anemia.
He might spend more time sleeping than he used to and will run and play a lot less as well. Another very common indicator of anemia is finding blood in vomit, stools, or urine. The blood will also be in amounts that will be seen with your naked eye, even though it might pass unnoticed at first.
A possible injury or infection
An injury or infection is not only a common cause for the tongue to change its color to white, but it will often be one of the first signs that your dog is trying to fight an infection or suffering from an injury. The tongue will also turn white due to severe allergic reactions, shock, anemia, and some other factors as well.
Usually, if your dog is going through an injury or infection affecting the heart or lungs, among the first noticeable symptoms will be the tongue changing color. In fact, most injuries affecting the respiratory or circulatory system of the pet will make his tongue become whiter in color.
It can also be a sign of shock
White tongue can also be caused by shock, something I have already mentioned above. Considering that a state of shock could cause the blood pressure to drop, it will lead to the tongue changing color to white. There are quite a few reasons for shock, among them being the heart and respiratory issues. For example, septic shock could be one of the reasons, due to an underlying acute or chronic bacterial infection.
Endocarditis, as well as other recurring bacterial infections, could also represent causes for shock. Endocarditis is the condition in which the lining of the heart is inflamed, this being a pretty serious medical issue.
Other common conditions that could affect your dog are infections after surgery, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. Some other issues could be adrenal disease, gastrointestinal tract issues, cancer, or diabetes
Other common symptoms of anemia in dogs
There are quite a few symptoms to look for if you suspect your dog might be anemic. The first signs are, of course, a white tongue and very pale gums. You will also notice that your dog has very low energy levels while suffering from anemia. He will require a lot more sleep, while also asking for less exercise and playtime.
The pet will also have issues breathing and will get tired a lot easier than he used to. You should also look for symptoms like a loss of appetite and a quicker heart rate as the anemia becomes more severe. The dog will soon start to lose weight due to his inability to eat properly.