Dog Tongues are not just for Licking.

Our doggies are just the best things on earth.  Every dog lover would agree and we can't wait to see our little furry buddies when we get home. And even though it is slightly gross, we can't help but enjoy a few doggy kisses and the occasional (or frequent) lick. But other than for saying hello with a cheeky lick, your dog's tongue does a whole heap of other interesting things that you may never have known about.

Dog's use their tongue in a whole range of ways.  Even when they are not licking, eating or drinking, a dog can use his tongue to create a different sound of bark, quite like the way our own tongues can change the way that we speak and how our words sound.  You've all see the awesome Youtube video's of the slow motion dog drinking water, and the interesting way the tongue can scoop up at the end.  And a dog also uses their tongue for eating, cooling their body and helping to swallow.  So a dog's tongue is a pretty cool thing. Just one cute wet muscle that is controlled by nerve fibres. 

So what are all the cool things that a dog's tongue can do?

  • It is an indicator of whether they are nervous or anxious
Have you ever seen your dog repetitively licking their lips or looking like they are trying to lick the air?  That is how your dog is saying, whoa, I'm a bit freaked out right now.
  • Tongues are like a trip to the dentist
We all know how important it is to look after your dog's dental hygiene so that they have healthy teeth right into old age.  Keeping your dog's teeth healthy is so essential because tooth decay can lead to other more life-threatening diseases.  Cleaning your dogs' teeth can be quite tricky, particularly if they are averse to the toothbrush, so, fortunately, you don't need to brush the inside of the teeth.  Your dog's sandpapery tongue works wonders on the inside of the teeth and removes the plaque build-up. Cleaning your dog's teeth can be a pain, so one of the best ways is to try and make it fun and give him lots of things he likes and treats.  But whatever you do, make sure you brush those pearly whites.
  • Using a tongue to get noticed
If you have a doggy pal, you have definitely had your dog try to get your attention. It is very difficult to try to ignore a dog that wants to be noticed, particularly when they are using that slobbery tongue to let you know they are around. Maybe you are in the mood for a little doggy patting or you would rather be left alone, but either way, your dog will have made you notice him. Problem solved.
  • When your dog needs to sweat

When it gets hot and you are a skin covered human, you break into a sweat so that the breeze on your skin can keep your body cool.  Not so for the canines.  The only place you will find a lot of sweat glands on a dog is on their paws. Kinda weird.  And also not very helpful for keeping the whole furry body cool in the heat.  So because dogs don't have sweat glands, they use their tongues to release the heat and keep their bodies at a steady temperature.  If your doggy has just been for a big walk, or a run or spent some time playing fetch, the panting is just them having a good sweat to cool down. 

So as you can see, a dogs tongue is a pretty important organ in the life of your dog.  When you take your dog to the vet, they will do an examination of your dog's tongue to judge how healthy and fit your dog is. If your dog has white gums, different textures and colors, a really bad case of doggy breath, these can all be signs that your dog has some more serious health issues.  So even if your dog seems like they are the picture of health, never forget the regular vet check-ups to make sure your dog is in tip-top condition. 



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