Black Spot on Your Dog’s Tongue?

Black spots on your dog’s tongue may be a normal feature of your dog’s pigmentation. But it can also signal a more serious underlying problem.


Most dogs have pink tongues. Chow Chows and Shar Peis are the exception; these dogs may have purple or black tongues. But some dogs have pink tongues with black spots.

Normal, healthy dogs can have pink tongues with black spots. This is part of their natural pigmentation, like freckles in people. These dogs may also have black spots on their gums, lips, nose, eyelids, and paw pads. The black spots have been present at birth or developed when they were young puppies.

More than 30 breeds of dogs are known to have black spots on their tongues. This does not mean that they are mixed with Chow Chow or Shar Pei breeds. It is merely just part of their genetics to develop these spots.

Black spots on the tongue that are part of the normal pigmentation will be flat. They will also have the same texture as the rest of the tongue.

When to worry about black spots on your dog’s tongue

Black spots that are raised, ulcerated, or have a foul odor are not normal pigmentation. These abnormal black spots can be a sign of certain types of cancer in the mouth, like melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma. They can also be the result of oral ulcers, such as those found in dogs with kidney failure.

If you have any concerns about the black spots you are finding on your dog’s tongue (or anywhere in his mouth), have your dog examined by his veterinarian.