When we first brought our baby Havanese home, we used to spend hours just looking at him; he was just so damn cute. He’s nearly 4 years old now and just as cute as he ever was. But I often wondered at the time why a dog’s tongue sticks out?
The internet is always your best friend when you need to find some obscure or not the usual run-of-the-mill information.
When he was a puppy, he used to ‘blep’ all the time. He doesn’t do that so much now, but he does MLEM a lot! If you’re now wondering what I’m blathering on about, I’ll explain. Through my searches on the internet, I discovered a new doggy language that in my ignorance I didn’t have a clue existed.
When a dog ‘bleps’ he sticks the tip of his tongue out, but his mouth remains closed. It’s not panting, which is something we’ll get to further on in this article. MLEM’ing is where he licks his nose with his tongue.
Now to avoid controversy, I’m going to add here that some dog owners do have other names for these actions, but I’m going to stick to my guns with the descriptions I’ve given.
So having got that out of the way lets get to the point of the article and discuss why dog’s tongues stick out?
Why Does Your Dog’s Tongue Stick Out? 4 Main Reasons
It’s adorable when you see your dog with his tongue lolling out, but have you considered why they do it? It’s mostly harmless, but there might be an underlying illness there.
A dog’s tongue is a very useful instrument and when you give some thought to it, many things he does revolves around his tongue. He drinks with it, he cools himself down with it, he grooms himself with it and you’re favorite, I know, he kisses you with it.
Here Are 4 Reasons Dogs Stick Out Their Tongues:
- Hanging tongue syndrome
- Dental disease
- Cancers of the mouth
1. Hanging Tongue Syndrome
The syndrome is exactly as the name implies. The dog’s tongue hangs out of his mouth. He might do this all the time, or just occasionally.
It’s not a potential health problem, and it’s not necessarily a sign of something serious going on with the dog. Pugs, Frenchies and other brachycephalic (dogs with very short snouts) appear to do this more than other breeds. Possibly because of their tongues being too big for their mouths.
Other than the dog’s breed, it might also result from a jaw injury or some kind of deformity to the mouth or his teeth.
What’s The Problem With Hanging Tongue Syndrome
Although it doesn’t signify a serious illness, it’s not good for a dog. When his tongue is constantly hanging out, it’s going to become dry. By not bringing it back into his mouth, there’s no saliva giving it moisture.
A dog’s tongue is very sensitive and if it dries out too much it can become cracked, which will be painful. A cracked tongue can lead to an infection. Believe it or not, if it’s freezing where you live, it’s possible for a dog to get frostbite on his tongue.
There’s not much you can do except keep checking his tongue for any sign of cracking if you see any, take him for some treatment as soon as you can.
If you notice any unusual coloring on his tongue and or gums, it might be an infection of some kind, that will need a vet’s visit, for sure.
I’m not wanting to alarm any dog owner, but if this syndrome suddenly starts up and your dog is behaving in a strange or peculiar way, then take him to his vet. It might be nothing, but it could be a sign of a neurological disorder.
2. Dog’s Tongue Sticking Out Because Of Dental Disease
If your dog has had problems with his teeth in the past, and the vet has had to remove a few teeth, this can lead to his tongue hanging out.
Dental health is vitally important for your dog. His mouth, teeth and gums need inspecting at the very least every week. You should brush his teeth and gums two to three times every week.
If his gums become inflamed, it might hurt your dog for his tongue to rest against them. If you notice inflamed gums or rotten teeth, then please take him to the vet immediately.
3. Tongue Sticking Out Because Of Panting
The most common reason a dog pants is because he’s trying to cool down. The blood flow to the tongue increases and swells the dog’s tongue. The moisture formed when a dog pants evaporate in warmer air, cooling the tongue. A cooler tongue cools his blood and leads to a dog feeling cooler.
If your dog continues panting after he’s cooled down sufficiently, make sure he has plenty of cool water to drink and put him in a cool dry place. If he’s still panting excessively for no apparent reason, maybe speak to your vet.
A Relaxed Dog Sticks His Tongue Out
Your dog might just be thrilled. He’s had his meal, been to the toilet, had a runaround and now he’s laid by your side. Seems to me he’s a lucky dog. Sometimes when a dog sticks his tongue out it’s nothing more than a sign, he’s comfortable and relaxed with his life.
4. Cancers Of The Mouth
Malignant oral tumors can grow on a dog’s tongue. If the dog has the papillomavirus that will cause minor bumps or warts on their tongues. Regularly check for any signs of this. Although if it causes a dog’s tongue to stick out, then you will most likely notice them.
There are 4 reasons dog’s tongues stick out for you to ponder. As long as your dog hasn’t lost his appetite, there’re no signs of lethargy, his mouth, tongue and teeth are all healthy, no strange or behavioral changes, then there’s probably nothing to be concerned about.
As a kid, I grew up with lots of dogs in my family. My earliest recollection was a Labrador mix called Bruce, and I must have only been about three years old.
When I was around seven, we began to move around frequently, so having a dog was very difficult until we adopted a baby long-haired Dachshund. I was thirteen by then. We called him Pepe; I have no idea why; all I can say was it wasn’t my idea. But he did seem to grow into the name.
I’ve personally been the parent of a Great Dane called Lady, a French Bulldog we called Spike. I have also had the privilege of being the parent of one of the gorgeous cats on the planet; a British Blue Shorthair called Ellie. Right now, we have an amazing little Havanese in our family; we call Biscuit; he’s four years old.
I pride myself on being the very best dog-parent I can be. I refuse to bring a dog into my life without investing as much time as possible to understand that dog’s particular needs. Every dog I have parented has been an experience, and they are all different with incredible personalities.
To understand dogs as much as possible, I have taken several courses regarding dog care and training. The most recent course is The Truth About Cats And Dogs, offered by The University Of Edinburgh.
My dogs and cat have been the funniest and most unique animals I have ever been privileged to spend my life with. They can teach human beings so much if we take the time to watch and listen to them. My ambition is to share what I have learned with other passionate dog lovers.
I am obsessed with writing and researching everything I can about dog health, care, psychology, and finding the best dog products available to help ensure a dog’s life is as happy and contented as possible.