Dogs explore the world through their mouths, so it’s not surprising that their tongues would get lacerated. Such injury will make it hard for them to lap food, drink water, and regulate their internal temperature. This is why you should know how to stop a dog’s tongue from bleeding before it contracts infections.
Overall, a small nip on the tongue isn’t a serious point of concern. However, if the wound is bleeding profusely, that’s the time you have to perform first aid at home. In some cases, you may need to bring the dog to the vet.
Why is my dog’s tongue bleeding?
A bleeding canine tongue can be due to a lot of things. This is much so if you let your dog alone in the yard or your home for long periods. To give you an idea, here are the most common causes of tongue bleeding among pets:
Oral trauma is the most common cause of tongue bleeding among canines. It could happen after a dog fight, falling from an elevated surface, or being hit by a high-speed object.
Unfortunately, most cases of oral trauma aren’t isolated on the tongue. It could also affect the gums, teeth, and other mouthparts of the dog.
If the bleeding in the tongue is excessive, you may also want to check your pet’s entire mouth for other injuries.
🐶Laceration due to a foreign object
Another possible scenario is that your dog bit into a sharp object that caused a laceration on its tongue. It can be a toy, a household item, or other objects in your yard.
Beware because spike fences can also damage your dog’s tongue. It can happen if your pet tries to escape and gets caught in one of the sharp points.
Canine gingivitis can also lead to tongue injuries and bleeding. Contrary to what other pet owners know, gingivitis can also affect the tongue. This can be the reason why your dog’s tongue is bleeding and swelling.
Take note that dental problems like this won’t go away on their own. Over time, gingivitis can turn into a full-fledged case of periodontal disease. In short, failure to treat gingivitis will make the tongue injury much worse for your dog.
A fractured tooth can also lead to tongue bleeding. It’s possible that the sharp edge of the fractured tooth lacerated the tongue and caused it to bleed.
Also, the bleeding might be coming from the tooth itself and just gets into the tongue. It’s best to tongue your pet’s mouth to know where the blood is really coming from.
Glossitis is a condition that causes tongue inflammation in dogs. It’s usually associated with a secondary dental infection as well as ulcers in the mouth. In some cases, it can also cause the tongue to bleed.
Take note that glossitis itself isn’t a standalone disease. Instead, it’s typically a symptom of a bigger underlying problem. So if you notice that your dog’s tongue is swollen and bleeding, you should get it checked at the vet’s clinic.
How to stop a dog’s tongue from bleeding
The challenging part with this kind of injury is that the canine won’t cooperate if you try to pull its tongue out. Also, no dog will let you bandage its tongue without trying to take it off.
So if you discover that your dog has a bleeding cut on its tongue, here are the things you can do:
✔️ Consider sedating the dog
I haven’t known a dog that will let you hold its tongue for long. In this case, you can try giving your dog a few calming treats so it will mellow down a bit.
However, if you’re worried that your dog may bite, you can ask the vet about a stronger yet safe sedative. And while you’re at it, you can also ask the veterinarian about what you can do with your canine’s bleeding tongue.
✔️ Apply pressure on the laceration
Once your dog is calm, you can try applying pressure on the laceration. Do this for 3 to 10 minutes with the hope that blood clotting will do its job.
However, if the bleeding continues, try removing the pressure and applying it again. Do this three times and see if the bleeding will abate.
Take note that this method only works for calm dogs that will let you hold their tongue. If you have a notorious biter, you need a much faster solution.
✔️ Let your dog chew on ice.
If applying pressure on the tongue isn’t possible, you can simply give your dog a few ice cubes. The cold temperature will help stop the bleeding temporarily. This is the same concept as to why dentists tell you to eat ice cream after tooth extraction.
If your dog can’t chew, you can place the ice cubes on its water bowl. As the canine drinks, the cold water will help ease the bleeding tongue.
✔️ Use a styptic pencil.
For minor cuts on the tongue, you can use a styptic pencil. However, applying this cauterizing solution will sting, and your dog may not like it. Nonetheless, styptic pencils are very effective and can stop the bleeding while you call the vet.
✔️ Bring the dog to the vet.
In cases when the bleeding is excessive, and the tongue is severely lacerated, the best move is to bring your dog to the vet. Your pet likely needs stitches to restore the tongue. Also, the vet will provide medication to prevent infection and reduce the pain of your dog.
Never try to self-stitch your dog’s tongue because it will likely end up with a huge infection. Also, you may inflict more injury to your dog’s mouth in the process. It’s best to let the vet do its job in these serious cases.
How to prevent tongue injuries in dogs
When it comes to tongue injuries, it can be tricky to protect your dog. After all, canines use their mouths for drinking, eating, playing, and exploring the environment. It will likely sustain minor cuts from time to time.
But to help reduce the risk, here are a few precautions you can take:
- Always check your dog’s mouth. A quick check on your dog’s mouth will let you detect small injuries that could become worse later on. Also, this will let you identify signs of gingivitis and tongue infections.
- Keep sharp objects away. It’s important to free your yard from any sharp objects like shards of glass, sharp sticks, and unsecured blades. All of these can injure your dog’s tongue.
- Fence up. Attacks from stray animals can also lead to tongue injuries on your dog. Aside from that, feral animals are potential carriers of various diseases, including rabies.
- Choose toys wisely. Avoid giving your dog any toys with pointed parts, stiff edges, and other components that can lacerate the tongue. Overall, chew toys are safe, and puzzles are fair game.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take for a dog’s mouth to stop bleeding?
A: If you use a styptic pencil, minor bleeding on your dog’s tongue can stop within 10 minutes. However, some tongue wounds may not be manageable with a styptic pencil alone. In this case, a stitch may be necessary at the vet clinic.
Q: Do dogs’ tongues heal quickly?
A: Unfortunately, dogs’ tongues don’t heal quickly. In fact, the bacteria in their mouths are only designed to prevent an infection. And if the wound is big, the saliva may not be strong enough to fight off other infections. Aside from that, the wound will bleed profusely.
Q: Why would someone cut a dog’s tongue?
A: During the dogfighting years, people will cut canine’s tongues because it’s something that the enemy can latch on to. However, cutting a dog’s tongue make it hard for the canine to eat, drink, and regulate its internal temperature. Just imagine having your own tongue cut out. It’s excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable.
Q: Can dogs bite their tongue?
A: Like humans, dogs can accidentally bite their tongues. This can happen when a dog suddenly closes its mouth with the tongue still hanging out. And since a dog’s tongue is much longer than that of humans, the incident of tongue-biting is quite common.
Q: Why does my dog have a hole in this tongue?
A: A hole in your dog’s tongue usually indicates an injury. It’s possible that your dog bit its tongue intensely that the tooth buried into the flesh. Also, your pet probably bit on a sharp object that inflicted the hole. It could be bleeding or not, but it’s still best to check and clean the wound to avoid infections.
Knowing how to stop a dog’s tongue from bleeding will save your pet from the pain. It will also prevent further injuries and infection in your canine’s mouth. But if the bleeding isn’t stopping despite your efforts, it’s best to bring your pet to the vet’s clinic. A stitch or two might be needed to fix the problem.