Home Dog Psychology Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out?

Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out?

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If you're fairly new to being a dog owner, you might have asked this question, “Why do dogs stick their tongue out?

A dog’s tongue is magnificent when you think about it.

Dog uses it to eat, drink, help their body cool down, clean, and give you plenty of wet kisses.

If you're curious about this dog behavior, we've got you covered!

This blog will discuss all the reasons why dogs stick their tongue out.

However, some dogs have a weird but cute trait of always doing this. Sometimes, it's just the tip, but their entire tongues are often out.

But why is this behavior so typical in dogs? Should you be worried? Is this normal? What causes this behavior?

Even though this behavior can be harmless, it can also indicate an underlying health problem.

So, without further ado, let's dive in and talk about the six reasons why dogs stick their tongue out.

6 Reasons Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out - Infographics

6 Reasons Why Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out

Dogs stick their tongue out all the time. But the question is, why do they do it?

This behavior is generally normal, but what underlying health conditions should pet owners watch out for?

Below, we've listed a few possible reasons dogs do this behavior.

1. They are Relaxed

The first possible reason dogs stick their tongue out is to feel comfortable and relaxed.

Dogs usually sleep with their tongues out as a sign of happiness and contentment.

Extremely relaxed dogs are likelier to sleep with their tongues out, especially when lying on their favorite soft, warm bed.

Their muscles relax while they snooze.

That's why the tongue might loosen up and fall out of their mouths.

Moreover, if your dog is tired from playing or chewing bones, they are likelier to stick their tongue out as they doze off.

2. They are Panting

When dogs feel warmer or hotter during sunny days, they sweat (through their paw pads!) and pant.

Panting help the water evaporate from their tongue and upper respiratory tract.

This evaporation will allow your dog to cool down.

If you notice that Fido always has his tongue out and panting, try to keep them in a cooler place and rest him for a little while.

Also, give him plenty of water to rehydrate if he's just finished playing.

However, consult with your most trusted vet if your dog continues to pant and show difficulty breathing.

Remember that stress and pain can also cause panting in dogs.

RELATED: How To Cool A Dog Down: 5 Simple Ways

Dog Tongue Hanging out while sleeping

3. Underlying Health Issues

Unfortunately, dogs sticking out their tongue can also be a problem of underlying health issues.

There are various possibilities, such as congenital problems, injuries, dental issues, and even neurological damage.

For instance, some dogs have difficulty keeping their tongue in their mouth while they sleep because they have missing teeth.

I've listed the symptoms below that you should look out for.

These signs can indicate potential health issues that cause your dog to sleep with his tongue out.

  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Excessive drooling
  • Sore tongue
  • Sore gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Failing jaw
  • Shyness or reluctance to have their mouth examined
  • Cracked teeth
  • Panting while sleeping
  • Obstructed airway or nasal obstruction
  • Allergic reactions

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, please consult your vet as soon as possible.

As pet owners, we must monitor our dogs to help ensure their safety and good health.

4. They Started a New Medication

Another possible cause of why dogs do this is because they have just started on a new medication.

It can be from pain relievers, antibiotics, or even dietary supplements.

Some medications can cause dogs to feel loopy and lose mobility control.

If your dog is sticking his tongue out after surgery or started a new prescription, then it's safe to assume it's linked.

But if your dog shows other signs of alarming symptoms, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

RELATED: 15 Safe Human Medications for Dogs

5. Hanging Tongue Syndrome

As the name suggests, the Hanging Tongue syndrome is when the dog's tongue hangs out of its mouth, but it's not something you should be worried about.

Dogs with smaller and brachycephalic (“smooshed” faces), like Pugs, are more prone to this condition due to their genes.

In these cases, their tongues are literally too big for the oral cavity.

Moreover, breeding can lead to an abnormal jaw bone that can't support the tongue.

Dogs that have an overbite or underbite can also develop this syndrome.

Other than genetics, this condition can also be caused by severe dental problems.

For example, when rotten lower teeth are extracted, there will be no support from the tongue. The tongue will now simply fall out and hang out to either the side or the front of their mouths.

If your dog has Hanging Tongue Syndrome, please make sure you have easy access to water.

You should also monitor the color of their tongue and gums because dogs with this condition are prone to infections.

6. The Flehmen Response

The Flehmen Response, also known as tonguing or tasting the air, is a behavior in many mammals.

The Flehmen Response is an instinctual response to pheromones.

Dogs will use their tongue to “taste the air” to sniff after a female. It's a form of smell amplification.

You can see dogs do this as they curl back their upper lips and raise their heads.

Dogs sticking tongue out

FAQs about Dog Sticking Its Tongue Out

Why is my dog panting with his tongue out when it's not hot?

If your dog is panting and has nothing to do with body temperature, it can be a sign of stress, anxiety, or fear.

A lot of dogs have a fear of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms.

Some dogs are stressed in car rides and vet visits, while some suffer from separation anxiety.

How can I cool my dog down?

If it's summer season and it's too hot outside, you can cool your dog down by doing a few of these tips:

  • Give easy access to water to keep them hydrated
  • Let Fido rest
  • Try cooling mats and ice packs
  • Use wet, cool towels
  • Buy icy treats
  • Use cooling coats and collars

RELATED: How to Cool Down a Dog: 12 Most Efficient Ways and 5 Dangerous Ones

Do dogs stick their tongues out when happy?

When a dog's tongue is out, it can also mean they are happy.

If your dog is doing a mlem or acting very derpy, it can indicate that they are joyful.

We tackled earlier that dogs sticking their tongue out can mean that they are relaxed and chill.

Furthermore, this behavior can also be seen when you have just finished giving Fido a treat, and he is possibly savoring the taste of his favorite snack.

Why do dogs stick their tongue out

Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out? Before You Go…

Why do dogs stick their tongue out? Well, there are a few possible reasons for this dog behavior.

The most common answer to why dogs stick their tongue out is that they are feeling relaxed.

However, this behavior can also be caused by underlying health issues.

Please monitor your dog and watch out for any symptoms.

You can consult your vet if you notice something different and weird in your dog's health.

Other possible reasons can be that the dog is stressed or anxious.

Also, dogs starting on a new medication can develop this behavior.

The last two possible explanations are that your dog has Hanging Tongue Syndrome or the Flehmen Response.

Interested to learn more about dog behavior? Check out our recommended articles below!


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.