Reasons Why Your Dog With Tongue Out

dog with tongue out

Here’s a detailed breakdown of why dogs stick out their tongues, when it’s normal, and when to be concerned, plus key takeaways for dog owners.

Why Dogs Stick Their Tongues Out

  • Thermoregulation Dogs mainly cool themselves by panting. Sticking out their tongue increases the surface area for moisture to evaporate, leading to a cooling effect.
  • Physical Exertion: After running or playing, dogs pant and stick their tongues out to bring their body temperature back down.
  • Brachycephalic Breeds: Dogs with shortened faces (Pugs, Bulldogs, etc.) often have natural difficulty breathing, causing them to breathe through their mouths and stick out their tongues more frequently.
  • Excitement or Stress: Both positive and negative emotions can trigger panting and tongue-sticking behavior.
  • Relaxation: It’s perfectly normal for dogs to have their tongues slightly out while sleeping deeply.
  • Medical Reasons: In some cases, a constantly protruding tongue can signal underlying issues:
    • Dental problems
    • Respiratory illness
    • Neurological disorders
    • Oral injuries

When to Be Concerned

While most instances are harmless, pay attention to these warning signs:

  • Constant Protrusion: If your dog’s tongue is always hanging out, even when cool and relaxed, it might indicate a problem.
  • Excessive Drooling: This, along with a protruding tongue, could signal dental issues or an ingested foreign object.
  • Discoloration: A blueish or pale tongue might indicate poor oxygenation or heart problems.
  • Behavioral Changes: Lethargy, loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing alongside tongue protrusion warrant immediate vet attention.

How to Help Your Dog

  • Normal situations:
    • Hot weather: Provide shade, fresh water, and avoid strenuous exercise during peak heat.
    • Playtime: Allow breaks for panting and water.
    • Emotional situations: Offer calming words and gentle petting to help them regulate emotions.
  • Potential Medical Issues:
    • Don’t delay: Contact your veterinarian immediately for diagnosis and treatment

Key Takeaways

  • Most of the time, a dog sticking out its tongue is normal behavior.
  • Be observant: Notice if the behavior is new, constant, or accompanied by concerning symptoms.
  • Know your dog’s breed: Brachycephalic dogs (flat-faced) are more prone to breathing difficulties.
  • When in doubt, consult your veterinarian for the best course of action and to ensure your dog’s well-being.

Remember, a dog’s tongue sticking out can be a cute quirk, a sign of harmless panting, or a potential indicator of a health issue. Paying attention to context and your pet’s overall condition will help you determine whether it’s just your dog being a dog or if it’s time for a checkup.

Is It Dangerous For dog with tongue out?

It would seem that the condition when a dog sticks out its tongue all the time is absolutely harmless, especially when it comes to brachycephalics.

However, the organ can simply dry out. Due to constant air blowing, the surface of the tongue becomes dry and may crack. In some cases, the cracks bleed, infection penetrates them, the tongue becomes inflamed, swells and glossitis develops.

To prevent this from happening, your pet should always have free access to water, not only at home but also when out for walks. Now there are special containers for animals on sale, designed for feeding them while traveling.

You also need to monitor the general condition of the dog, contacting a specialist if accompanying symptoms appear. If there is a predisposition to a protruding tongue, your pet should be periodically brought to the clinic for a preventive examination of the oral cavity and diagnosis of the condition of the respiratory tract.

Reasons Your Dog Stick With Tongue Out:

When breathing is very active, the four-legged pet’s tongue sticks out. Often its appearance is explained by physiological reasons that are not dangerous to health. Pathology in such a situation is rarely diagnosed. It is usually revealed by accompanying symptoms.

If you are not sure why your dog is sticking out his tongue, be sure to observe his behavior and appearance. If there are alarming symptoms, the animal must be given first aid.

Anatomical Features:

In brachycephalic dog breeds (pug, French bulldog, boxer, American bulldog, chihuahua), characterized by a flattened mouth and nose, tongue protrusion is hereditary.

Since their nasal breathing is difficult, pets breathe through the mouth. In this case, the tongue naturally falls out. Another reason may be the size of the tongue – due to jaw abnormalities or insufficient space, it will also fall out.


The tongue in dogs is actively involved in the thermoregulation of the body. Four-legged friends do not have special sweat glands like humans, located over the entire surface of the body. Their glands are designed for a different purpose – the release of a specific individual odor, so the evaporation of moisture occurs only through the surface of the nose and paw pads.

In the heat, an active expansion of blood vessels occurs in the animal’s tongue. The tongue stuck out is cooled due to the evaporation of saliva from its surface, which leads to the release of excess heat and normalization of the temperature of the entire body.

Physical Activity:

Physical activity leads to increased blood flow, increased breathing, and increased body temperature of the animal. As a result, excess thermal energy is formed in the body. When a dog runs, it sticks out its tongue and breathes frequently, which leads to intense heat transfer and cooling of the body.

Hard Breath:

Brachycephalic dog breeds stick out their tongues due to genetic traits. Dogs with flat muzzles and flattened noses, so-called. “brachycephalic breeds” (pug, bulldog, Pekingese, etc.) stick out their tongue due to genetic characteristics.

These breeds are prone to brachycephalic syndrome, which consists of obstruction of the upper respiratory tract.

Due to heavy breathing, the animal keeps its mouth open with its tongue hanging out. In addition, brachycephalic dog breeds sometimes have their tongues sticking out because their tongues are too large to fit into the mouth.

In some cases, tongue protrusion occurs due to the abnormal structure of the animal’s jaw, which does not support the tongue.

Deep Sleep:

A relaxed sleeping pet may also open its mouth slightly and stick out its tongue. This is often observed after a good walk and meal. This state means that he is currently calm and comfortable.

Emotions and Stress:

The pet sticks out its tongue with both positive and negative emotions. For example, when a dog is frightened, its heartbeat and breathing increase, and its body temperature rises, as if it were hot. She has to normalize the condition in the only possible way. The same thing is observed in moments of great joy of the dog.

Oral Diseases:

The causes may be stomatitis, inflammation of the tongue itself (glossitis), injury to the mucous membrane by a sharp bone, and so on. Each factor has dangerous consequences and requires a different approach to treatment. Pathologies are accompanied by accompanying symptoms:

  • Profuse salivation;
  • Ulcers on the mucous membrane;
  • Admixture of blood in saliva;
  • Swollen and red tongue.

Respiratory Diseases:

Diseases of the respiratory system in dogs include sinusitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Irritation, inflammation, and swelling of the mucous membrane lining the respiratory tract may be accompanied by other signs:

  • The dog is breathing heavily;
  • Wheezing is heard when breathing;
  • Mucous secretion is released from the nose;
  • There is copious secretion of saliva.
  • Due to difficulty in nasal breathing, the pet often sticks out its tongue, trying to breathe through its mouth.

State Before Fainting:

In addition to a protruding tongue, a dog’s pre-fainting state can be suspected by the following manifestations:

  • The pallor of the mucous membrane;
  • Vomit;
  • Copious amounts of saliva;
  • Frequent intermittent breathing;
  • Loss of orientation in space and coordination of movement;
  • Spontaneous passage of urine or feces.

The pet may not respond to the owner’s call or other stimuli. If only 2-3 similar symptoms appear, even if such an episode happened once, the animal must be urgently shown to a veterinarian.

Dental Diseases:

If a dog has problems with its teeth (rotten, broken, diseased), it will also stick out its tongue due to pain and discomfort.

Only a veterinarian can help in this case. You should not postpone your visit, as dental diseases are fraught with serious consequences in the form of abscesses, inflammation of the periosteum of the jaw, ear diseases, and blood poisoning.

By the way, after visiting the clinic for treatment or tooth extraction, the pet will also stick its tongue out for some time.

Neurological Pathologies:

Diseases associated with nerve conduction disorders may be accompanied by a protruding tongue in an animal. The source of the problem may be a skull injury, a jaw bruise (even a minor one), problems with the cervical spine, and other pathologies. To identify the cause, you need to conduct a diagnosis.

Why does only the tip of a dog’s tongue stick out?

Sticking out the tongue improves heat transfer, so an overheated dog always tries to stick it out as far as possible. If only the tip sticks out, then its appearance can be explained by the following reasons:

An attempt to catch and recognize the smell. Numerous receptors on the tongue are responsible not only for the perception of taste but also for enhancing the sense of smell.

Breed peculiarity. Due to their body structure, brachycephalic dogs often stick out their tongues when breathing backward and while snoring.

Malocclusion. Occurs in older individuals due to tooth wear and in puppies due to unsuccessful replacement of milk teeth.

Muscle relaxation. Occurs during sleep. For this reason, many four-legged animals sleep with their tongues slightly protruding.

Positive mood. Unlike stress, in a moment of joy the dog is always happy and relaxed.

If you stick out frequently, be sure to try touching your tongue. If the animal cannot move the tip back, then there is a high probability of nerve endings being pinched.

How To Help Your Dog?

If your pet’s condition does not return to normal for a long time, give him first aid. For natural causes, cooling and calming will help, and for pathological reasons, a visit to the veterinarian.


If the weather is too hot, the four-legged animal may need help from its owner. To reduce body temperature it is recommended:

  • Move the dog to a cool place with good ventilation;
  • Moisten the paw pads, back, and belly with cool, but not icy, water;
  • Apply a cold compress from a towel to your head;
  • Give fresh water to drink;
  • Limit the amount of food you eat or have a fasting day.

If your pet has long and thick hair, then be sure to give him a short haircut. The only exceptions are some breeds, whose thick undercoat protects them from both cold and overheating.

Helping a Dog in the Heat:

To help your pet cope with the heat, make sure your dog has fresh, clean water available at all times. Overheating an animal often leads to dehydration, which negatively affects the animal’s health.

To avoid unnecessary exposure to heat, the pet is doused with water or bathed. However, such measures are taken with caution, since even on sweltering days the dog can catch a cold through disruption of the fat layer that is contained under the skin.

It is recommended to select a muzzle for a dog in such a way that it does not interfere with the animal sticking out its tongue.

Wool and Thermoregulation:

Long-haired black dog breeds are most susceptible to body overheating. It has been noted that short-haired dog breeds (Doberman, Dachshund, Labrador) stick out their tongue less often than those with long, thick hair (Samoyeds, Chinese Chins, Retrievers, Collies). Hairless dogs (Chinese Crested, American Hairless Terrier) do not need this, since they cool themselves with their entire skin.

The most susceptible to heatstroke are shaggy dogs that are black in color because they absorb the sun’s rays.


This method will help both after physical activity and during times of stress. An overacting dog should be calmed down, given water to drink and temporarily immobilized. To do this, sit on a bench and persuade her to sit next to you. Distract your four-legged dog with conversations and resume walking as soon as he calms down.

In case of fear, not only conversations will help, but also tactile contact. Please note that the dog needs to be reassured, not pitied. Otherwise, her fears may worsen.

First Aid for Pathologies:

The only acceptable help for the listed pathologies is contacting a veterinarian. If this option is temporarily unavailable, contact the veterinary clinic by phone. Depending on the situation, the doctor may recommend actions and medications to temporarily alleviate the patient’s condition.


Having figured out why a dog sticks out its tongue in the heat and under other circumstances, you can easily distinguish a harmless cause from a pathology. Pay attention to the duration of rapid breathing and do not ignore accompanying symptoms. In some situations, only a veterinarian can help your pet.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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