Why Does My Dog Stick His Tongue Out? 5 Possible Reasons

Why does my dog stick his tongue out? This is normal behavior among canines, but it can also denote other serious conditions. Since canines can’t sweat, they stick their tongue out to cool themselves. However, this behavior can also mean that your doggo has an overbite, has missing teeth, or is suffering from medical conditions. It’s also important to rule out possible mouth injuries or neurological problems that cause a canine to hang its tongue out.

5 possible reasons why a dog keeps sticking its tongue out

why do dogs stick their tongue out

why does my dog stick his tongue out

If your dog’s hanging tongue remains a mystery, the following might be the explanation:

1. Your dog is cooling down

One of the most common reasons why dogs stick their tongue out is to cool their bodies. Canines don’t sweat as we do so they cool down by performing open-mouthed respiration. This breathing allows them to lower their body temperature during a hot day. please read here how to keep a dog cool inside the house 

However, you should act right away if you notice this on your dog. While open-mouthed respiration is normal, it could be the onset of overheating in dogs.

You should take your dog to a shaded area and give it some water. Take note that you should never take your dog into an air-conditioned room right away as this can cause shock.

2. Your dog has dental problems

Another common reason for the hanging tongue is dental problems. It can be anything from missing teeth, an overbite, injury, or as serious as cancer. I always recommend taking your dog to the vet’s clinic for proper diagnosis and treatment.

When your dog has mouth injuries or an aching tooth, it will stick its tongue out to avoid touching that area. This could be accompanied by poor appetite due to the discomfort the dog feels when chewing and swallowing.

Take note that dental problems only get worse as you put off the treatment. The best move here is to bring your dog to the vet.

Sometimes, there are dental problems that we can’t see with our bare eyes. Some canines suffer from trauma in the face, which causes the tongue to hang out. In this case, a proper examination is the key to diagnosis.

3. Your dog is happy or anxious

A hanging tongue is often a double-edged sword for canines in terms of emotional causes. It can both indicate pleasure and anxiety, depending on your dog’s environment and current situation.

For example, if your dog sticks its tongue while you’re petting it, that’s a sign of pleasure. The pooch may do the same during playtime since it’s excited and happy.

dog with tongue out

However, dogs that are in stressful situations could also stick their tongue out. This could be accompanied by panting, which indicates that the canine is in distress.

The big difference here is that anxious dogs often dart their tongues in and out of their mouth like a lizard. It means that the pooch is highly stressed.

In this case, you should calm your dog down. Take it in a quiet room and offer its favorite toy. Most of the time, the company of their owners will soothe a canine’s anxious nerves. 

4. Your dog has the Hanging Tongue Syndrome

The Hanging Tongue Syndrome refers to the condition when dogs hang their tongue out consistently. It can be due to various reasons like a genetic defect, injury, or neurological factors.

While the Hanging Tongue Syndrome isn’t directly harmful, it will take its toll on your dog’s tongue over time. The sticking part will dry and crack, which will cause discomfort on your canine. This will also make it difficult for your pooch to eat.

Dogs with this condition can’t pull their tongues back. This exposes them to the risk of sunburns, frostbite, dehydration, and infection.

If you suspect that your dog has Hanging Tongue Syndrome, you should watch out for some symptoms. This includes bad breath, thickening tongue, constantly hanging tongue, and swelling on the exposed part.

Take note that toy and flat-nosed breeds are more prone to this condition. Still, all dogs can develop the syndrome.

Also, I suggest that you take the dog to the vet’s clinic for a proper diagnosis. This way, you’ll be advised about the best treatment for your pet’s condition.

Aside from this syndrome, you should be wary about rabies, too. If your unvaccinated dog is acting weird, drooling, hanging its tongue out, and showing aggression, you should be careful. I suggest luring the dog to a crate and bringing it to the vet right away. Make sure that the dog will not bite you or anyone around.

5. Your dog is taking certain medications

Your dog’s medication may be making the pooch loopy, thus the tongue hanging out. Also, general anesthesia will drive a dog to behave weirdly, including sticking its tongue out upon waking up.

Most of the time, this is completely normal and the behavior will wear off on its own. However, if the vet doesn’t foresee tongue-sticking as a side effect, it’s best to bring the dog to the clinic. The hanging tongue might be indicative of a more serious health problem.


Why does my dog stick his tongue out while sleeping?

Why does my dog stick his tongue out while sleeping

When a dog sticks its tongue out while sleeping, it could mean that the pooch is extremely relaxed. It’s a sign that the doggo is in deep sleep.

Usually, this blepping will not last long. Once your dog changes position or wakes up, it will pull the tongue back to its mouth.

Also, it’s possible that our dog is licking something in its dreams and acting out the scene. This is usually harmless and will go away once your dog wakes up.

Just make sure that your doggo isn’t panting while sticking its tongue out during sleep. If so, your pooch might be dehydrated and extremely overheating. You should do something to cool down the dog and prevent the onset of canine heatstroke.

Why do dogs sleep with their mouths open?

During sleep, dogs experience muscle atonia. This is temporary muscle paralysis, which keeps dogs and even humans from acting out their dreams. With this, the dog loses control of its body restraints, which will lead to open-mouth sleeping and a hanging tongue.

Again, check if your dog is panting or having labored breathing. An open mouth is often a sign of overheating if it’s accompanied by respiratory distress.

Why is my dog gagging and sticking its tongue out?

Gagging and sticking its tongue out might indicate a respiratory infection in dogs if it happens consistently. Kennel cough is one of the common causes behind this reaction.

Kennel cough will cause hacking cough in dogs, which is followed by gagging and a sticking tongue. This is due to the Bordetella bacteria that proliferate in poorly ventilated areas like shelter kennels. Also, cold temperatures, exposure to irritants, and motion sickness will increase a dog’s susceptibility to kennel cough. please read here how to help dogs with car sickness

However, other reasons can lead your dog to gag and hang its tongue out. I suggest consulting your pet’s vet to identify the real culprit.

Why does my dog stick its tongue out when I pet him?

Why does my dog stick its tongue out when I pet him

A dog that sticks its tongue while being petted is often showing signs of satisfaction. It’s like their version of purring. Just make sure that the dog stops the behavior when you finished petting to ensure that it’s not a respiratory issue.

If your dog sticks its tongue on other occasions, I recommend checking it with the vet. Early diagnosis is always the best move on any health problem your dog could have.


Why does my dog stick his tongue out? Most of the time, dogs do this to cool down their bodies. However, it could also indicate dental problems, emotional changes, and neurological problems. If you’re worried, it won’t hurt to call the vet for professional advice. You can also bring the dog to the vet’s clinic.

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