Do you notice your dog sticking their tongue out sometimes as if they’re smiling wide? If you have, your initial reaction is probably one of warmth and delight. Meanwhile, you also can’t help but wonder, "Why is my dog sticking their tongue out?"
Sometimes, it’s just the tip of a dog’s tongue that’s sticking out, while other times, it extends to the sides of the mouth. This phenomenon, which is also known by the slang term ‘bleeping’, is quite common. While it can be harmless and just a manifestation of how relaxed and content your dog is, it may also be a sign of an underlying health condition. Let us get to know the possible reasons why dogs stick their tongues out.
- Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out
- Dog Sticking Tongue Out and Panting
- Why Does My Dog Stick His Tongue Out While Sleeping
Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out
There are several possible reasons why a dog sticks their tongue out. Among these reasons are:
They feel utterly relaxed
Sometimes, you just swear that your dog is smiling wide while their tongue is hanging out. According to this NCBI study, facial expressions in animals (including canines) are a form of communicating either positive or negative emotions. So do dogs express their happiness when their mouth is curved upward while their tongue hangs out?
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The good news is that sometimes a dog with their tongue sticking out is harmless and is a sign that they are just so relaxed and happy, say after treats, a fun walk at the park, or while they are hanging out beside you. Similarly, wild animals also tend to exhibit tongues hanging out when they’re feeling relaxed.
They’re cooling down
If we humans sweat when it’s hot, dogs pant when they are feeling warm. Panting helps dogs cool down as they release saliva from their tongues. If you notice your dog panting a lot, ensure that they’re in a cool place.
Allow them to rest from physical activity and make sure that they have access to plenty of clean water for drinking. If, however, your dog continues to pant even after they have cooled down, it might be best to have them checked by their vet to be sure.
Hanging Tongue Syndrome
Why do dogs’ tongues hang out? Another possible reason why a dog’s tongue is hanging out is a condition called Hanging Tongue Syndrome, which can either be congenital or acquired.
In congenital cases, brachycephalic dog breeds are more prone to the condition because their tongues may be too large for their oral cavities or they may have an abnormal jaw bone due to breeding causes.
Apart from genetic causes, the condition may also be due to something acquired, such as dental disease. For instance, when rotten lower teeth are extracted or fall out, the tongue won’t be supported, causing it to hang out at the side or in front of their mouths.
In addition, neurological damage due to dental disease may also cause the tongue to loosely hang out. So does inflammation of the tongue, mouth, gums, and lips.
Tonguing or tasting the air
A dog with their tongue out may be tonguing, or "tasting the air". Associated with the Flehmen response, it is usually exhibited by some mammals to try to taste the scent of a female in heat or to smell the yummy dish that’s being cooked in the kitchen, perhaps.
When dogs "taste the air", they usually curl their lips, raise their heads, and sometimes stick out the tip of their tongues to try to taste the scent. Note that dogs can also taste the air even without their tongues sticking out.
When your dog is introduced to new medications, they may experience side effects, one of which may be sticking their tongue out. This symptom may just be transient and can be resolved in a few days. However, if your dog is showing signs of discomfort, consult with your vet, as you may need an alternative.
Oral cancers and masses
The tongue is unfortunately prone to oral tumors, which are most of the time malignant. On the other hand, the tongue may also develop tiny bumps called papillomatosis. Such bumps are due to the papillomavirus and are usually benign. In both cases, the growths may take up much space in the mouth, causing a dog to stick their tongue out.
Dog Sticking Tongue Out and Panting
As was mentioned earlier, if a dog is panting while sticking their tongue out, it may be their way of cooling down their body. If this is the case, your dog will naturally take short breaths as the water evaporates from their tongue.
If, however, your dog continues to pant and exhibits heavy breathing and discomfort, it might be time to bring him to the vet. Note that stress may also provoke panting in dogs. In emergency cases, such as when your dog is experiencing severe panting and breathing difficulties, you want to be assured of the veterinary bills while taking care of your pet.
Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund makes it possible by offering friendly terms for both pets and pet owners. Not to mention, a subscription also gives you access to their online vet service, where you can consult with certified vets whenever and wherever you may be.
Why Does My Dog Stick His Tongue Out While Sleeping
If your dog is sticking his tongue out while sleeping, it’s probably because he feels so comfortable and relaxed, especially as he falls into a deep sleep. If, however, your dog exhibits signs of discomfort and other accompanying symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
Having a pet camera comes in handy if you want to keep tabs on your dog at any time of the day. That way, if something goes wrong or if your dog is behaving differently, you will be able to detect the signs early on.
A good pet camera, such as the Petcube Cam, has the features that we pet parents need to better monitor our pets. Not only that, but it also gives us access to an online vet service, allowing us to consult with certified veterinarians 24/7.
Why does my dog stick the tip of his tongue out when you pet him?
When your dog sticks their tongue out when you pet them, it’s likely because they are excited and happy to spend time with you, or they feel relaxed being around you. If this is the case, there’s nothing to worry about.
Why does my Dog Stick His Tongue Out Like a Snake or Lizard?
"Why does my dog stick his tongue in and out like a snake?" you might ask. If your dog is sticking their tongue out repeatedly, it may be due to their nerves. As a way to calm themselves and release hormones, dogs may sometimes stick their tongues in and out rapidly.
If so, your dog may be feeling nervous or excited. If you suspect this, try to identify what is causing your dog to be nervous or ecstatic and find ways to calm them down.
Another possible reason is that something is stuck in your dog’s teeth. Checking your dog’s dentures for anything that might be stuck can solve this issue. If you’re having a hard time, you may seek the help of your veterinarian.
There are several possible reasons why your dog is sticking their tongue out. In some cases, your dog could just be so relaxed and happy that their tongue hangs out, but in other cases signal an underlying condition. If you are worried or if your dog is exhibiting signs of discomfort along with other symptoms, it’s best to bring your dog to the vet to determine what is causing it.