Why Is My Dog’s Tongue Hot?

It’s a familiar scenario for many pet owners: As you lean down for a slobbery smooch or perhaps just a gentle pat, you notice the unusual warmth of your dog’s tongue.

In a world where a cool, wet nose often equates to a healthy pup, a hot tongue can prompt concern and curiosity alike.

This raises the immediate question, “Why is my dog’s tongue hot?”

Is it merely a reflection of recent activity, an indication of their internal temperature, or perhaps a sign of something more concerning?

Journey with us as we explore the intricacies of canine biology and health to decode this thermal mystery.

The Anatomy of a Dog’s Tongue

Role of a Tongue in Canines

First off, dogs have more taste buds than most people think – around 1,700 in total!

However, that’s still way fewer than our 9,000.

But dogs do more with their tongues than just tasting.

Have you ever seen your dog pant after a fun game of fetch?

They aren’t just catching their breath; they’re cooling down.

A dog’s tongue works like an air conditioner.

As they pant, they release heat through their tongue, keeping them cool.

This natural cooling system is especially active after they’ve been playing or exercising.

Natural Heat: It’s Not Always a Problem

It might be surprising to learn that your dog’s body runs hotter than yours.

While our average temperature is around 98.6°F, dogs run warmer at about 101°F.

So, if you touch their tongue and it feels warm, it’s often just their natural state.

It’s similar to how we might feel warm if we touch someone with a fever, even if they feel normal to themselves.

Reasons For A Hotter-Than-Usual Tongue

Overexertion And Overheating

Dogs love to play, and sometimes they don’t know when to stop, especially the energetic breeds.

A super warm tongue might be a hint they’ve been playing too hard, especially in the heat.

This can lead to overheating.

If your dog’s tongue feels extra warm, and they are drooling more than usual, or their gums look dark, they might be too hot.

Here’s a cool tip: If they’ve been out in the sun, find a shady spot and offer them some cool (not cold) water.

It helps to lower their body temperature gently.

Illness Or Fever

Just like us, dogs can get sick.

An unusually hot tongue, paired with other symptoms like not eating, being extra sleepy, or even throwing up, can mean they have a fever.

Here’s something many dog owners don’t know: a dog’s nose being wet or dry doesn’t always tell if they’re sick.

The best way to know?

A dog thermometer.

It’s a handy tool every dog owner should have.


Water is super important for dogs, just like it’s for us.

Without enough of it, their body can’t cool down properly, making their tongue feel hotter.

One sneaky sign of a thirsty dog is if their pee is dark yellow.

Always make sure they have fresh water, especially on sunny days.

Mouth And Dental Issues

Doggie breath is one thing, but did you know that a very hot tongue can sometimes hint at dental problems?

Just like we can get cavities and gum issues, so can dogs.

If they’re not eating their favorite treat or toy, or you notice they’re drooling way more than usual, it might be time for a dental check.

Regular brushing (with dog-safe toothpaste) can prevent many mouth problems.

To sum it all up, a dog’s tongue is a window into their health.

It’s more than just a cute part of them; it tells us stories about how they feel.

By knowing these stories, you’re one step closer to ensuring your furry pal stays as happy and healthy as can be!

What To Do If You’re Concerned

Cool Down Methods

One of the first things you can do if you notice your dog might be too hot is to find a shady spot.

Move them out of the direct sun and into a cooler area, preferably indoors with a fan or air conditioning.

Offer them cool (but not icy cold) water to drink.

Another handy trick many dog owners don’t know: wetting your dog’s paws with cool water.

Dog’s paws are a bit like our wrists; cooling them can help lower the overall body temperature.

However, be cautious and watch for severe signs like excessive drooling, rapid heartbeat, or even collapsing.

These are warning signs that your dog needs urgent cooling and possibly even a vet’s attention.

Veterinary Check-Ups

The phrase “better safe than sorry” couldn’t be truer when it comes to our pets.

Regular vet visits ensure that you catch any potential problems early.

Even if you’re just concerned about your dog’s tongue feeling unusually hot, it doesn’t hurt to consult a professional.

Veterinarians can provide insights based on thorough examinations and answer any queries related to specific tongue temperatures or other concerns.

Daily Care Tips

Ensuring your dog drinks enough water throughout the day is crucial.

Dogs, especially active ones, need a constant supply of fresh water to stay hydrated.

Keep their water bowl full and consider having multiple bowls if you have a larger home or yard.

During scorching weather, limit their outdoor activities to the cooler parts of the day – early morning or late evening.

It’s also essential to keep an eye on them during play.

Even if they seem eager to fetch the ball again, they might need a break.

Myths and Misconceptions

Common Myths About Dog’s Tongues

There’s plenty of folklore and misconceptions about our furry friends.

One popular myth is, “A hot tongue always means a sick dog.”

As we’ve learned, a warm tongue can be entirely natural for dogs.

Another misconception is about the color changes in the tongue.

While color changes can indicate health issues, a slightly redder tongue after play or on a warm day is normal.

However, if the tongue turns blue or white, that can be a cause for concern and needs immediate attention.

A dog’s tongue is more than just a cute feature; it’s a vital indicator of their overall health and well-being.

By understanding the reasons behind its temperature, recognizing signs of potential problems, and debunking myths, you ensure your dog remains healthy and happy.

Remember, regular vet check-ups and attentive daily care are the keystones for a long, joyful life with your furry companion.

Before You Go…

You now know why your dog’s tongue is hot.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.