United's run of three straight victories came to an end at Pride Park and the on-loan Stoke man admitted it was a timely reminder of just how competitive the division can be.
"It's a wake up," he told the club's official website.
"It's a little reminder that you can't take anything for granted in this league.
"Before we played Crystal Palace we would have taken nine points from 12 but after taking nine from nine you are still disappointed.
"That's what the Championship is like though. It was a little bit of a reminder of what can happen if you are not at the races from the first whistle."
Tonge was also quick to point out that Neil Warnock's side were focused solely on the visit of the Tractor Boys before they entertain Premier League giants Chelsea in next week's Capital One Cup quarter-final.
He added: "Everybody has got to play as well as they possibly can to try and make sure they stay in the team. There is competition for places in the team.
"We will definitely be looking at the league game first and foremost before anybody thinks about anything to do with the cup."