What is the purpose of a dog tongue? Why does a dog stick out his tongue when he pants? Why worry about canine tongue injuries? Get the answers to these questions and more.
I'll start by saying that many people have come to Pet Comfort Products looking for dog tongue. At first, I couldn't figure this out. Then I realized that people were using image search tools, such as Google image search, to find dog tongue pictures.
As it turns out, I have a nice picture of a dog on the dishes and bowls page on Pet Comfort Products. So, the mystery was solved. I now know why people are comgin here to find dong tongue.
In light of this, I starting doing a bunch of research on dog tongues. This is really an amazing topic and I think if you stick with me, you'll really appreciate the nuances and complexities of the dog tongue.
A dog tongue is a large mass of muscle that is found at the base of the dog's mouth. Primarily, it organizes and manipulates food for chewing and swallowing. Like a human tongue, it is the primary organ of taste and it is somewhat neurolgically associated with smell. The surface of the tongue is covered with taste buds and it's kept loose and moist by saliva. It is well supplied with nerves and blood vessels, making it one of the most important muscles of the dog's body.
In addition to lapping up water and food, a dog's tongue is a heat regulator. That is, when a dog runs around and gets hot, the tongue hangs out to cool them down. Most people don't know this, but a dog's tongue actually gets larger during exercise due to increased blood flow. In turn, when a dog pants, the dog's entire body is cooled off through evaporation.
How does this work exactly? The tongue gets larger and the dog will pant. These quick and shallow breaths will cause the wet dog tongue to evaporate moisture which in turn cools the dog's tongue. As blood flows through the tongue, the blood is cooled off. It is then transported to the rest of the body, which helps decreases the dog's body temperature.
By the way, this is why leaving your dog in the car is so dangerous. If your dog cannot cool off their tongue, they cannot cool off their entire body. This can translate to heat exhaustion or or other heat trauma. Provide your dog with cool air please!
Here's a quick list of other functions of a dog tongue:
Dog tongue injuries are not too common but accidents do occur. Commonly, a dog's tongue will injured during exercise or other realted exertion. Farm dogs, police dogs, and other work dogs are obviously most prone to tongue injuries. If your dog goes to doggie day care, be certain that there is good ventilation with cool air provided, especially if exercise is part of the routine.
If a dog's tongue is injured when hot, remember that blood flow is increased. This means that you need to watch for excessive bleeding. Be especially careful if the middle or back of the tongue is damaged. Be sure to help your dog cool down by providing a cool environment as quickly as possible.
Some dogs chew wood, glass or other breakable material. If their tongue gets stuck with a splinter or glass shard, it is important to seek help from a veterinary. Don't let this kind of injury go too long or your dog's tongue could become seriously infected.
Dog tongues are really amazing. They are much more rich and complex than most people realize. Keep in mind that large dogs with large tongues have a need for different bowls and dishes. Obviously large dogs need larger bowls.
If you pay attention to your dog's tongue, you will learn a lot. You'll also be able to better understand the health of you good friend. Give your dog a hug for us!