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Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongues Out?

Written by: Dr. Athena Gaffud



Time to read 6 min

 Have you ever wondered why dogs stick their tongues out? From regulating body temperature to showing excitement, there are various reasons behind this behavior. 

 We'll dive into the causes of tongue sticking out in dogs, including stress, dehydration, and dental issues.

Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongues Out?

Dog Sticking Out Tongue

Dogs stick their tongues out for various reasons, and understanding these behaviors provides insight into their overall health and well-being. 

One common reason why a canine has their tongue hanging out is due to Hanging Tongue Syndrome , a condition where the tongue protrudes from the mouth and cannot be retracted fully. This can be caused by various factors, such as genetics, dental issues, or even neurological problems.

Dogs stick their tongues out after intense exercise or when they are feeling hot as a way to regulate their body temperature. Persistent tongue protrusion can sometimes indicate health issues like dehydration , dental problems , or respiratory difficulties , and it is important to monitor any changes in the dog's saliva and oral health.

Causes of Tongue Sticking Out in Dogs


The causes of tongue sticking out in dogs can vary from natural behaviors to underlying health conditions, requiring careful observation and attention from pet owners.

  • Hanging Tongue Syndrome: Hanging Tongue Syndrome is a common cause for dogs whose tongue is too long to fit in their mouth. Certain breeds are more susceptible due to genetics. Gum disease or tooth decay also leads to this behavior. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene prevent dental disease and this behavior.

  • Panting to Regulate Body Temperature: Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature. It's crucial in hot weather or when they exercise. Resting in the shade and providing access to fresh water is necessary to prevent overheating and dehydration.

  • Excitement or Anticipation: Dogs often stick out their tongues when they are excited or waiting for something. This behavior displays their emotions and can signify contentment and joy. Understanding these cues can strengthen the bond between a pet parent and their canine companion.

  • Stress or Anxiety: Dogs show physical and behavioral signs of stress or anxiety. Sticking out their tongue is a common indicator of their unease. They do this to seek relaxation and comfort in stressful situations. This behavior is seen when they are in unfamiliar environments, dealing with loud noises, or experiencing separation anxiety. Recognizing these signals is important in creating a calm environment for your dog.

  • Dehydration: Dogs suffer from dehydration, which causes excessive panting and a dry tongue. Lack of hydration causes the tongue to stick out, especially when the dog is overheated or has been exercising. It's essential to provide fresh water to your dog regularly, especially in hot weather or after strenuous activity, to prevent dehydration and related health issues.

  • Dental Issues: Dental problems in dogs cause discomfort and lead to their tongue sticking out as a response to oral pain. Swollen gums or loose teeth cause them pain when they close their mouths, resulting in their tongue hanging out to relieve pressure. Regular vet check-ups and proper oral care are crucial in preventing discomfort and serious health issues.

  • Down Syndrome-like Symptom: Dogs stick their tongues out due to genetic factors or underlying neurological problems. Certain breeds like Boxers or Bulldogs may have a higher likelihood of displaying this trait due to genetic predispositions. Neurological issues like nerve damage or muscle weakness can also contribute. If you notice persistent tongue protrusion in a dog, seek professional guidance.

Preventing Tongue Sticking Out in Dogs

Dog Dental Care

Preventing tongue sticking out in dogs involves proactive measures such as providing adequate water, creating a relaxing environment, and addressing potential stress triggers.

  • Providing Adequate Water and Shade: Dogs need access to clean water and shade to prevent dehydration, regulate their body temperature, and reduce heat stress. This helps them stay healthy, comfortable, and safe during physical activity.

  • Managing Stress and Anxiety: To manage stress and anxiety in dogs and prevent tongue sticking out, try relaxation techniques like massages, music, and aromatherapy. Create a peaceful atmosphere at home with a cozy bed, quiet space, and structured routines to promote overall comfort and stability. Read “6 Ways To Help Dogs Dealing With Anxiety”.

  • Regular Dental Care: Regular dental care for dogs, including check-ups and teeth cleaning, prevents oral health issues. Early detection of dental problems during vet check-ups leads to timely treatment, ensuring your furry friend stays healthy and happy. Dental disease in dogs worsens if left untreated, causing pain and more severe conditions. Alongside professional intervention, incorporating brushing and dental chews into a dog's routine helps maintain cleanliness and reduce plaque buildup. Read “Home Remedies for Bad Dog Breath”.

Diagnosing Tongue Sticking Out in Dogs

dog on examination table getting physical exam

When addressing tongue sticking out in dogs, treatment options range from targeting the underlying cause to utilizing helpful products. 

Addressing the Underlying Cause

Identifying and addressing the underlying cause of tongue sticking out in dogs is crucial to effective treatment, especially in cases where symptoms indicate infections or other health issues.

One of the common reasons for a dog's tongue to protrude is the presence of masses either in the oral cavity or on the tongue itself. These masses cause discomfort, leading to the dog constantly sticking out its tongue. In some cases, frostbite also plays a role, especially in colder climates. It is essential to have a veterinarian examine the dog to determine the exact cause and provide appropriate treatment. Regular monitoring of symptoms is vital to track progress and ensure the dog's well-being.

The Role of CBD Oil

CBD Oil is a natural and calming option to support dogs experiencing tongue sticking out due to stress, anxiety, or discomfort.

Some dogs, especially those with Hanging Tongue Syndrome, find relief through the relaxing properties of CBD oil. The soothing effects of CBD, such as CBD Happy-Furever Oil , help promote a sense of tranquility.

Supplementing with Beef Organ Toppers

Beef organ toppers serve as a beneficial supplement for dogs, supporting their physical activity levels and overall well-being to prevent issues like tongue sticking out.

By incorporating organ complexes such as Primal-Vitality Beef Organ Complex into a dog's diet, pet owners are confident that their dogs receive essential nutrients that aid in maintaining hydration, promoting healthy digestion, and boosting energy levels for optimal performance. Veterinarians often recommend such supplements to provide comprehensive support for a dog's vitality and quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common causes of dogs sticking their tongue out?

There are various reasons why dogs may stick their tongue out, such as panting to regulate their body temperature, expressing excitement or stress, or due to certain medical conditions.

Can sticking their tongue out be a sign of a health issue?

In some cases, yes. If your dog is constantly sticking their tongue out and also showing other symptoms like excessive drooling or difficulty eating, it may be a sign of an oral or respiratory problem that requires medical attention.

How can I prevent my dog from sticking their tongue out excessively?

If your dog is sticking their tongue out due to heat, make sure they have access to shade and plenty of water. If it's due to excitement or stress, try to identify and address the root cause. Regular dental care can also help prevent oral health issues that may cause tongue protrusion.

Is there any treatment for dogs who stick their tongue out due to medical conditions?

Yes, depending on the underlying cause. If it's due to dental problems, your vet may recommend cleaning or tooth extraction. For respiratory issues, medication may be prescribed. Consult with your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Can CBD be helpful for dogs who stick their tongue out due to stress?

Yes, CBD Full-Spectrum Happy-Furever Oil has been known to have calming effects on dogs and can help reduce stress and anxiety. However, consult with your vet before trying any new supplements for your dog.

Are there any natural supplements that can improve my dog's oral health and prevent them from sticking their tongue out?

Yes, Primal-Vitality Beef Organ Complex is a natural supplement that can help improve your dog's oral health and overall well-being. This supplement contains essential nutrients that promote dental health and support immune function. 
Dr. Athena Gaffud, DVM

Author: Dr. Athena Gaffud

Dr. Athena is a seasoned, board-certified veterinarian with comprehensive expertise in general practice, veterinary medicine, laboratory operations, and veterinary writing. She is passionate about animals and holistic health. 

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