Have you ever thought about why your dog sleeps with tongue out? While it may be an endearing and precious sight to look at, the reason behind these particular canine sleeping habits can be more than one.
Your dog may simply be very happy or relaxed, sticking its tongue out, or it can be due to an underlying genetic condition or simply a case of temperature control. Let us understand all the reasons in depth and answer more of your queries regarding similar canine behavior.
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Understanding the Behavior (Reasons)
Dogs sleeping with their tongues out are a common sight for many pet parents. Some of them look like absolute angels descended from heaven, enough to make you go “awwww”, and some tickle your funny bones with that quirky behavior of peeking out tongues while sleeping.
These funny dog sleeping positions usually have a reason behind them, which causes them to stick their tongues out.
Usually known as Tongue Hanging Syndrome or a tongue protrusion, below we have discussed all the possible reasons that can make a dog’s tongue hang out.
1. Your Dog is Exhausted
This is the most common reason for dogs with tongues sticking out. You can easily understand this by thinking of your behavior when you come home exhausted and lie down with your mouth agape.
It may be that a dog is worn out and tired after a whole day’s activity and wants to do nothing but feel relaxed. This simple reason makes them hang their tongue out in sleep often.
2. Your dog is in a deep state of dream
By now, all of us have seen those cute sleeping dog photosor adorable pictures of sleeping dog expressions on social media while their tongue is hanging out.
The underlying reason for this behavior is that your dog is dreaming in his sleep and is feeling extremely relaxed. Due to the dream and the relaxed muscles of the dog, their tongue may unknowingly slip out from their mouth without them even realizing it.
3. Your Dog is Happy and Content
Dogs with tongues sticking out can be a sign that they are feeling emotionally well and satisfied. Think of it as your dog has had a wonderful day and has received lots of affection. Regardless of the reason, the sight of a dog with its tongue out often brings a sense of joy and endearment to those who witness it.
Moreover, you might even find your dog sleeping in the crate with the door open, tongue blissfully hanging out, a testament to their comfort and happiness in their cozy space.
4. Your Dog has a Different Facial Structure or just a long Tongue
If you carefully observe a pug or a bulldog’s facial expressions, they are more often seen with their tongues out compared to their counterparts, like street dogs.
It is because the bone and jaw structure in some dogs are placed in such a way that their tongues naturally slip out. Hence, some breeds are naturally tongue-lolling canines.
The other explanation for this can be that your dog has a very long tongue. Take, for example, a Basset Hound, a Great Dane, or the Newfoundland breed of dogs who are also seen with their tongues out. It is common to see them in such a manner because of the particularly long size of their tongues.
5. Your Pet Doggie has a Unique Sleep Posture
Your dog’s sleep posture can contribute to sloppy and hung-out tongues. Many dogs sleep in positions that are different from normal sleeping positions. Consider a canine sprawled out on all fours on your comfy carpet. This particular posture acts as a relaxing technique for dogs, and as a result, the tongue may also be sticking out.
The other quirky position that can cause a similar behavior is the “dead bug” posture when the dog lies on its back with its legs poking out in the air. Certainly, this is a weird posture, but these kinds of dog sleeping habits and positions act as a reason behind tongue-lolling.
6. Your Canine is trying to Bring their Temperature Down
Remember basic biology about how dogs pant to cool themselves down? It is a part of their inborn behavior, which allows them to thermoregulate their bodies in hot summers. Due to panting, their tongue will be casually hanging, and the heat will be let off from the tongue’s surface.
Additionally, it will also help in carrying more oxygen into their bloodstream and compensate for the energy loss due to heat. It is an essential mechanism that is seen in dogs and is not a cause of worry.
7. Your Pet has become Aged
Many old dogs lose muscular control and the ability to keep their tongues inside their mouth. The facial and jaw muscles may become particularly loose in senior dogs.
This is a part of natural aging and body functioning. So, an aged dog’s tongue hanging out while sleeping or while being awake is nothing but an age-related factor.
8. Your Dog has a Quirk
To explain this, let us compare it with human behavior or action when people do certain things just for the sake of it. There does not need to be any underlying reason for it because your dog is just being himself and, hence, sticking his tongue out.
For that matter, queries like “dog sleeps between my legs“, and “dog wants to sleep with me” are similar to why my dog hangs out his tongue in sleep. Just like we don’t think twice if a dog wags his tail, it may be so that the canine is sleeping with a tongue out because it is natural to him.
9. Your Dog has some Dental Issues
Medical reasons like missing teeth, oral issues, or gum-related problems can cause discomfort to dogs. To compensate for it and feel comfortable, your dog will sometimes slip out their tongue. This also helps them release the pressure created on their gums.
However, any dental or oral issues should be checked out by your canine’s veterinary doctor. Many dogs face teeth-related and tongue-lolling issues, and a visit to the nearby vet can make them feel more comfortable and at ease.
10. Your Dog is Suffering from a Physiological or Neurological issue
Diseases and underlying conditions are often the missing part of understanding certain animal behaviors. The same can be applied to dogs with tongues peeping out.
For instance, hypoglycemia is a condition where blood sugar levels can drop down severely. This can, in turn, cause weakness in dogs, and as a result, your dog can be seen with his tongue out.
An injury to the dog can also lead to a similar behavioral pattern where they may be hanging their tongues out to indicate something and draw attention to it. A dog that cries in their sleep is a good sign for you to see if there is anything wrong.
Neurological factors like seizures in dogs can also be a reason for concern, causing the tongue to hang. During seizures, your dog will hardly have any ability to control his actions, and the frequency of it can make his tongue stick out.
While this is a cause for worry, the important and wise decision, as well as action on your part, should be to call the veterinary doctor or a pet helpline and give your dog the care he needs.
11. Your Dog is not getting enough Hydration
Hydration is a key factor seen in dogs with their tongues out. Lack of hydration is a common reason why your dog may be hanging out their tongue more often than usual.
A dehydrated dog will search for ways to conserve water in his body. This can make them drool excessively, and as a result, the tongue is seen dropping out from his mouth.
Make sure that your dog has access to clean water all day and is staying hydrated. Also, ensure that in case of a dehydrated dog, don’t hesitate to visit a pet clinic.
Training and Behavior
Now that we have discussed the reasons for tongue-lolling let us understand if certain training methods can cause this behavior. We will also talk about if there are any trainings to stop tongue hanging out in dogs.
Training can lead to tongues slipping out but may not be the direct reason for such behavior. A training session can make a dog exhausted, and as we have already discussed above, a dog may peek out his tongue due to exhaustion to relax his body.
In other cases, training methods such as making the dog run or jump around can cause the tongue to drop down at times. This is because intense sessions often target the dog’s energy and core strength, and the tongue may automatically slip if his muscles are engaged in such behavior.
Now, coming to the other aspect, let us decipher the question if training can make tongue-lolling go away. Generally, the answer to that is no. It is because dogs hanging out their tongues functions as a basic feature of their anatomy.
Moreover, it is also necessary sometimes for dogs to let themselves cool down and thermoregulate and, hence, peek their tongues out.
Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
Puppies sleep with their tongues out more often than adult dogs. These adorable sleeping pups do such because of a few factors, as talked about below-
Lack of Teeth in Newborn Puppies
A puppy with its tongue sticking out is because it does not have teeth yet. Since the teeth are not there, they also cannot hold the tongue inside the mouth, and hence it slips out. Now, when we compare them to an adult dog, they already have developed teeth and know how to hold the tongue inside.
Teething in Little Pups
The puppy has started to grow teeth, also known as teething. Teething can be a painful procedure in dogs, similar to human beings. To make the discomfort of the process go away, many puppies are seen sticking their tongues out.
Deep Sleep in Baby Dogs
Puppies sleep deeply for a lot of reasons. Deep sleep can cause the tongue to hang out. Firstly, the puppy is equivalent to a baby who has just started to see the world and is processing new information every passing day.
This can make their brains and bodies need relaxation and sleep. Secondly, a puppy is seen to be very active. This again makes their bodies reach a state of exhaustion.
Lastly, they are growing up to become adult dogs, and growing up entails a huge expenditure of energy and stamina. All these reasons combined can make the puppy have deeper sleep, similar to adult dogs in deep sleep. So, their body is naturally worn out after a day, and exhaustion and relaxation will make their tongues slip out.
An adult dog will let their tongue out, too, due to exhaustion and craving for relaxation, but it may have to do more with daily activities rather than growing up and passing through developmental stages.
In this detailed, in-depth analysis of tongue-hanging behavior in dogs, we have discussed all the possible reasons that can cause it. To conclude, it is a natural behavior and not a cause of worry, but can also be concerning if there are certain other indications. The last advice would be to consult a vet whenever required or in case of any doubt.
1. Is it normal for a dog to have its tongue out while sleeping?
A: Yes, it is quite normal for dogs to have their tongue out while sleeping.Dog relaxation during sleep is a major reason for it, as well as a dog dreaming with its tongue out.
2. Are certain dog breeds more prone to sleeping with their tongues out?
A: Yes, some specific dog breeds are more prone to sleeping with their tongues out compared to others. For instance, Bulldogs, Pugs, and Newfoundlands are often seen doing this.
3. Can a dog’s tongue being out while sleeping indicate a health issue?
A: At times, a dog’s tongue peeking out during sleep can indicate a health issue, but not in the majority of cases. In such a scenario, consulting a vet is a must.
4. Do puppies sleep with their tongues out more often than adult dogs?
A: Yes, puppies tend to sleep with their tongues out more often than adult dogs due to factors such as the absence of teeth and their growth process.
5. Is it safe for a dog to sleep with its tongue out in cold weather?
A: No, it is harmful for dogs to hang out their tongues in cold weather because it can cause frostbite, spread an infection, and make the dog dehydrated.