Why is My Dog’s Tongue Cold?

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Dogs make us feel warm every time we cuddle with them. But why is it cold when they lick us? 

Don’t worry if your dog’s tongue is cold. It’s probably because of the water they drank or their cool saliva. 

Find out why your dog’s tongue is cold and what you should do about it. We’ll also discuss the normal temperature of your dog’s tongue and when it becomes a cause of concern.

dog with cold tongue

Is It Normal For My Dog’s Tongue to be Cold?

Most of the time, your dog’s cold tongue is not a big deal. It’s either they just drank some fresh water or the room is cold.

But if you notice signs of discomfort in their body, your dog’s cold tongue may be abnormal. If your dog is also shivering or panting excessively, they might be experiencing hypothermia.

Some dogs also have cold tongues when they have hypothyroidism and cancer. 

One way to check if your dog’s cold tongue is normal is by checking their gum color. Healthy gums are colored pink, while unhealthy gums are white or pale. 

Why Your Dog’s Tongue is Cold

There are many possible reasons your dog’s tongue feels cold. Here are some of them.

Your Dog Drank Water or Ate Ice

It’s normal for dogs’ tongues to be colder than usual if they recently ate ice or drank water. Humans also experience cold tongues when eating and drinking cold food and beverages.

In Scientific terms, this scenario is called heat conduction. Instead of transferring the cool temperature of the ice on your dog’s tongue, the heat of your dog’s tongue transfers to the ice, causing their tongue to cool down.

That’s because cold does not exist. It is simply the reduction or absence of heat. 

Heat conduction becomes more common during the wintertime or if you live in a cold climate. 

Remember that your dog’s tongue only gets cold for a while when they drink or eat something cold. After a few minutes, the temperature should return to normal. 

Your Dog Feels Cold

Another possible reason your dog has a cold tongue is that they feel cold. Some signs that your dog is cold include:

  • hunched posture with tucked tail
  • whining
  • looking for shelter
  • lifting paws off the ground
  • shaking or shivering.

Check out our guide on how to tell if your dog is cold for more on this.

Note that some dogs also have cold tongues because they feel hot. It’s a natural way for dogs to cool down when the rest of their body is hot.

But if their whole body is cold, their tongue may be much colder. Their cold tongue could be because of their blood circulation since this body part has several blood vessels that bring blood to the muscle.

If your dog feels cold, their body will stop the blood vessels from flowing blood to these areas. 

Some reasons your dog might feel cold include:

  • Certain medications like anesthesia.
  • Your dog is still too young to regulate its body heat.
  • Your dog is sick.
  • Exposure to cold and dry environments.

Find out how cold is too cold for your puppy.

Saliva Cooling on Your Dog’s Tongue

Another possible reason your dog’s tongue is cooling is that their saliva is cool. This is common among dogs who produce a large amount of saliva.

Active dogs can also have cold saliva after panting from a long run or walk. This naturally happens as their body’s way of cooling them.

Your dog’s saliva is like an alternative to sweat. Since they don’t sweat, their saliva tries to keep them cool through drooling or panting. 

Then, the moisture on your dog’s tongue evaporates into the air, which then wraps around their tongue to help them stay cool. 

A basic rule in physics is that water molecules move at different kinetic rates. But if the kinetic speed is lower, so is the temperature. 

But that doesn’t mean all water molecules in your dog’s tongue have low kinetic speed. It only means that those with low kinetic rates stay on your dog’s tongue, keeping your dog cool.

Meanwhile, the hotter molecules stay in the air.

Your Dog has Medical Issues

The last and most concerning reason your dog’s tongue is cold is that they are sick. 

Vets agree that a dog’s tongue is a good indicator of illness. It serves as a good barometer of its overall state of health. 

Your dog’s tongue contains many veins, blood vessels, and arteries. When something’s wrong with their body, their vessels become sensitive.

Aside from changing temperature, the tongue also changes color and texture.

If your dog’s tongue is cold and moist, it could be because they are sick. Other signs of sickness include poor posture, agitation, and self-grooming. 

Check out the signs that your dog is in pain or discomfort so you can take them to the vet immediately. 

What is the Right Temperature for my Dog’s Tongue?

The average body temperature of dogs is around 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. But there is no information on the ideal temperature of your dog’s tongue. 

Most of the time, your dog’s tongue temperature is the same as their whole body temperature. That means their tongue should stay within that range.

Dogs are also supposed to be more warm-blooded than humans, so do not compare your body temperature with theirs.

If your dog’s temperature is below the range, look for signs of coldness. Is the environment freezing? Do they look cold or sick?

If your dog has been panting because they are tired, a cold tongue is normal. 

But if you notice signs of sickness, consult your vet right away. 

What to Do When Your Dog’s Tongue is Cold

As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to investigate changes in your dog’s body. If your dog has a cold tongue, you should first look for other signs of sickness.

Check if your dog’s gums are blue-ish. You can also check if they are experiencing difficulty breathing, grooming themselves, and feeling less active.

If your dog seems fine, check the environment. Take them inside the house and turn off the air conditioner so that they can feel warm.

It also helps to give them fresh water if your dog is tired from exercise. They usually experience cold tongues from panting and drooling. 

If you’ve done everything and their tongue is still cold, it may be time to take your dog to the vet. 

Why is My Dog’s Tongue Out in the Car?

Your dog might put their tongue out while riding a car because they are panting. They do this when they feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or hot.

Other signs that your dog experiences motion sickness include excessive drooling and vomiting. Some puppies grow out of it once they get used to frequent car rides.

Ensure your dog has water inside the car to quench their thirst. And don’t leave them alone in the vehicle. 

Learn the other reasons your dog pants in the car so you know what is normal and what isn’t. 

What is the Best Dog Breed for Cold Weather?

Picking a dog to adopt means considering which one fits your environment. If it’s cold in your area, it’s best to adopt a Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, or a Saint Bernard.

These dogs have thick fur that allows them to withstand lower temperatures. Their size also makes them regulate their body temperatures well. 

Some dogs do well in both hot and cold weather. These include the Labrador Retriever and Jack Russell Terrier.

Find out which dog to adopt for both hot and cold weather.

Check Your Dog’s Tongue Temp

The temperature of your dog’s tongue can be influenced by their recent activity, environment, and health condition.

Most of the time, it’s only caused by your dog panting because they’re tired from running or playing with you. When it gets cold in your room, your dog’s circulation also makes their tongue cooler.

Take your dog to the vet immediately after noticing signs of pain and discomfort. These may include pale gums, poor posture, and self-grooming. Learn how to comfort a dog in distress.