You walk into your home after a long day of work and are greeted by sloppery kisses from your best friend. But have you ever wonder why dogs lick so much?
Not everyone knows this, but a dog‘s tongue is an organ. Like human tongues, a dog‘s tongue contains taste buds on different parts or regions that allow them to taste and react to bitter, salty and sweet flavors. The reaction to these different regions to food continue to make food taste as it does. And like humans, dogs use their tongue to move food around in their mouth as they chew. By moving the food around in their mouth, this allows them to grind the food into smaller pieces which are easier to swallow. The tongue also forms into a scoop when drinking liquids.
Beside eating, the dog‘s tongue is used to regulate body temperature. People sweat because water on the skin evaporates, thereby cooling the surface of the skin. Since dog‘s do not have sweet glands and because their skin is covered by fur, they must sweat using other methods. By panting, dogs are able to lower their body temperature.
When a dog‘s temperature rises, the tongue will hang out of the mouth. In fact, a dog‘s tongue will increase in size. As the tongue gets larger, the dog will pant. These quick breaths cause the dog‘s wet tongue to evaporate moisture, thereby cooling the tongue. As the tongue is cooled, so is the rest of the body.
Here is a list of some other functions the dog‘s tongue performs:
- cleaning away debris
- keeping puppies clean
- stimulating puppies by licking them
- cleaning wounds
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