Why Is My Dog’s Tongue Hot? Understanding Canine Health

When you discover your dog’s hot tongue, it can be worrisome. Typically, this situation means that your canine friend is trying to regulate its body temperature, especially after engaging in a lot of exercise or simply due to hot weather. However, it could also be as a result of health problems that need attention. In this article, we are going to discuss the causes behind warm tongues on dogs including some normal physiological responses and potential medical concerns. Just keep reading keep reading as we give you more insights about your pet’s well-being and better ways to look after them.

What makes a dog’s tongue hot

Physiology of a Dog’s Tongue

Unlike humans who sweat through their skin, dogs primarily, regulate their body temperature through panting. As they pant, moisture evaporates away from their tongues hence cooling them down. In consequence, their tongues are moistened and the process of evaporation makes them cool for us. However, at times when a dog gets too hot or has been overactive then his panting might not be enough to keep him cool even if their tongue feels hotter than usual.

Normal Body Temperature for Dogs

However, before rushing into quick conclusions about your pet’s health condition, you should learn what temperatures are within the limits of normal range in dogs. A healthy canine body temperature varies between 101°F and 102.5°F (38.3°C to 39.2°C). The range is much higher than humans because of which a warm tongue does not always mean trouble with your pet. The elevated body temperature in dogs helps them well handle internal systems and ward off any possible infections. Also, note any changes in its blood temperature regularly.

Why Dogs’ Tongues Feel Hot

There are several common physiological and environmental causes of the feeling of a hot tongue in dogs.

Natural Cooling Mechanism: As mentioned before, dogs cool themselves by panting. However, increased panting can also be a sign of an underlying condition such as respiratory problems. You should monitor your dog’s panting behavior and consult a veterinarian when you notice any major changes.

Increased Blood Flow to the Tongue: Once a dog gets active or excited its heart beats faster meaning that more blood will be pumped throughout its whole body including up to its tongue. Increased blood flow helps shift heat away from the core of the body to the tongue where it can be released via panting. As such, under such physiological conditions, sometimes we may feel warmer tongues.

Environmental factors: A dog’s tongue may also feel hotter than usual due to direct exposure to high environmental temperatures as well. Dogs absorb heat from their surroundings during sunny days, which can increase their body temperature. In addition, lying down on hot surfaces or being in an area without ventilation could raise both a dog’s body temperature and his/her tongue mirroring such conditions in Mother Nature.

Genetics and Breed: Some canines especially those with short heads like Bulldogs and Pugs are prone to overheating due to their brachycephalic nature. Dogs that have long-haired or thick undercoats as well may be at risk of overheating as the fur acts as insulation thereby preventing body heat from escaping.

For more detailed guidance on maintaining your dog’s dental health and effectively removing tartar without a visit to the dentist, check out this comprehensive article on how to remove tartar from dog teeth without a dentist.

Potential Health Issues Associated with Hot Tongues

Normally, a hot tongue is a harmless indication that your dog is cooling down but some conditions call for closer observation. This means that understanding these possible health concerns is important in keeping your pet healthy and happy.


Dogs can develop fevers too just like human beings do when they fall ill or get infected by a germ. A hot dry tongue may be one way that shows the rise in temperature above normal limits in dogs during infections. This can result from various causes including infections, inflammation or immune system malfunctions. Common symptoms include lack of appetite, lethargy, shivering and increased temperature will be observed.


The feeling of an excessively heated tongue may also be a sign of dehydration, which is a serious problem in dogs. In summer months or when they engage in physical activities, dogs tend to lose more fluids through panting and sweating respectively. Lack of enough water intake after this will lead to dehydration among such animals. Dehydration manifests itself through other signs like lethargy, and sunken eyes together with excessive panting and loss of appetite while the animal’s tongue becomes dry as well as extremely hot to touch. In fact, if not taken care of promptly then this could end up having fatal implications on its life side effects. To avoid dehydration make sure your pet has access to fresh and clean drinking water all the time and limit its exercise during hot weather.


Heat stroke is a deadly state that results from the inability of a dog to cool itself adequately and consequently an abnormal rise in its body temperature. Usually, when dogs become affected by heat stroke they pant a lot and find it hard to breathe as their bodies try to get rid of the excess heat. At this point, their tongues may become unbearably hot. Other symptoms associated with heat stroke include vomiting, diarrhea, raised heart rate, collapsing and having fits. Should one suspect that his or her pet has got heat stroke then immediate removal of it from the hot environment is necessary besides applying cool but not cold water on its body; the services of veterinary doctor must be sought urgently. Heatstroke is an animal emergency that needs urgent medical help at a clinic to prevent long-term complications or even death.

Anxiety or Stress

In some rare cases, your dog may have a hot tongue, which could indicate hidden anxiety or stress levels. Dogs also feel anxiety and stress just like humans. When they undergo tension and anxious moments, the temperature of their body rises up high. When dogs are stressed out or anxious they release chemicals into their system that speed up the heart rate while causing heavy breathing at the same time. Some symptoms that show dogs are anxious about something include heavy panting for no reason and excessive saliva formation such as drooling all over the place and shivering among others. However, if you notice your dog is stressed out talking about what really stresses it brings down its tension thus making it easy for them to relax more without any strain in their life anymore.

Infection or Inflammation

Sometimes, a hot tongue can suggest an underlying infection or inflammation in the mouth or throat. Bacteria and viruses are some of the causative agents for the same. It may be as a result of bacteria, viruses, allergies, and irritants such as foreign objects or chemicals. Apart from hot and dry tongue, other signs of oral infections or inflammations can include foul breath, excessive salivation, difficulties in eating, redness and swelling around the mouth. Without treatment, these situations could get worse quickly leading to more serious health problems for your dog.

Thyroid Issues

Lastly, if a dog’s has an overactive thyroid gland, its tongue may feel hot. As a result of this condition called hyperthyroidism, there is an increase in metabolism causes a rise in body temperature as well. The above conditions occur when the thyroid gland secrets too little or too much hormone respectively. Other symptoms may also be weight loss and gain as well as increased thirst for water accompanied by frequent urination among others. It may change their behavior like becoming restless and lazy; there might be changes in appetite and coat texture.

Other Health Concerns Related to a Hot Tongue

In addition to the potential health, issues previously mentioned here are some other things that pet owners should know about if their dog has a hot tongue.

Dental Issues and Infections

Cases of oral health problems are common among dogs with various manifestations including having hot tongues. Dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal disease (gum disease), and dental abscesses lead to infections thereby causing fever hence a hot tongue too. Regular oral check-ups by vets are very important as you take good care of your dog’s teeth to avoid these diseases.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory conditions such as kennel cough, influenza or pneumonia create inflammations in the respiratory system, which might result to fever and hot tongue. These infections may present additional symptoms, including coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy and difficulty breathing. Therefore immediate veterinary care is fundamental for effective management of these infections.

Underlying Health Conditions

A dog’s hot tongue may be seen as a symptom of various other diseases that raise their body temperature. Examples include autoimmune disorders, some cancers, and certain hormonal imbalances not specified such as those involving adrenal glands. These situations might have systemic inflammation or metabolic dysregulation which changes the normal body temperature.

Steps to Check Your Dog’s Temperature at Home

Knowing how to check your dog’s temperature at home is very important so that you can always monitor his health and pick out any issues on time. This guide takes you through measuring the temperature of your dog step by step:

  • Prepare Your Equipment: You will need a digital thermometer designed for pets specifically, which is safe for animal use.
  • Lubricate the Thermometer: Ensure it can easily be inserted into the rectum by lubing it with petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant before use.
  • Position Your Dog: Keeping your dog calm throughout the process is paramount. Have someone help you hold your canine friend gently but firmly. If it is small you may consider placing it on your lap.
  • Insert the thermometer: Carefully bring up the dog’s tail and gently insert a lubricated thermometer into its rectum about an inch. Make sure you don’t force it in.
  • Wait for the reading: Continue to hold the thermometer until it beeps or indicates that the reading is over. This usually takes 60 seconds.
  • Remove and clean: Remove the thermometer after taking your readings, then clean them as per manufacturer guidelines.
  • Interpret the Results: Dogs’ body temperatures are usually between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit as normal. Higher or lower temperature might mean something risky.

When to consult a Veterinarian for Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment

Some symptoms may require immediate medical attention, while others may not be so urgent. Here are some instances when you should refer to a veterinarian

  1. Persistent Hot Tongue: If your dog’s hot tongue persists for too long it could be indicating another matter that needs medical attention.
  2. Other Symptoms Present: If your dog shows other signs such as being sluggish, loss of appetite or difficulty breathing then talk to a veterinary care provider immediately.
  3. High Temperature: In dogs, fever is considered a temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, which requires checking with a vet.
  4. Behavior Changes: It could suggest disease when there is a sudden change in behavior like aggression increase or social withdrawal in dogs.
  5. When You’re Unsure: If you’re unsure about how to accurately measure your dog’s temperature or interpret the results, always consider consulting a veterinarian for guidance and assurance. They can guide the next steps.


In conclusion, even though sometimes having a hot tongue is normal for dog’s, make sure to regularly monitor their temperature as well as overall health. If you see any continuing abnormal signs, contact a veterinary for proper diagnosis and treatment.  Additionally, practicing good oral hygiene and regular veterinary check-ups may prevent some health issues arising from a hot tongue. Remember that being proactive about one’s dogs’ health could mean they will live longer as well as happier lives. Thus, always monitor any changes in their behavior or physical appearance and seek professional help when necessary; your pet will be grateful for that.


  1. “Fever in Dogs,” PetMD.
  2. “How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature at Home,” American Kennel Club.
  3. “12 Dog Tongue Facts, PetMD.”

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