Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out?

Do you ever wonder why your dog sticks their tongue out?

And if this tongue hanging is normal or if it’s bad for the dog’s health?

It turns out that there are several reasons for this behavior.

Read on to learn more about why do dogs stick their tongue out and what it means for their health.

Why Do Dogs Stick Their Tongue Out? – The Reasons

brown dog sticking his tongue out

Dogs Sweat Through Their Tongues

Dogs may not have sweat glands the same way humans do, but they can still cool down in the heat!

Dogs cool themselves by evaporation instead of sweating.

By panting and licking themselves, dogs can stick out their tongues and draw moisture from the air to help cool off.

It’s much different than perspiring.

Dogs don’t sweat as humans do but rather expel hot air more than colder air.

That helps them keep their temperature balanced.

So next time you take your pup for a walk on a hot day, be sure to bring plenty of water.

Dogs drool, so it’s important to keep them hydrated with extra liquids too!

It Helps Them Cool Down

Sweating is one of the main methods that animals use to cool down.

Dogs release sweat from specialized glands in their skin to regulate body temperature.

Dogs can also cool down by flicking their tongues.

That helps get rid of moisture in their mouths and lets more air flow around them.

The tongue acts as a radiator, dissipating heat and aiding thermoregulation within the body.

By panting and tongue flicking, dogs can increase heat loss by up to 40%.

That means, they can stay comfortable during hot weather or after physical activity.

They Are Trying To Communicate With You

brown pug dog sticking his tongue out

Animals can be good communicators if you know what to look for.

Take, for example, dog’s tongues – sometimes, our pup friends use their tongues to communicate with us!

If your dog gives you a lick on the face, it can mean love and affection in the air.

But a licking its own mouth usually signals that it is feeling stressed or uncomfortable.

Paying attention to these subtle cues can help us bridge the gap between species.

It also helps to understand how animals feel and think better.

It Could Be A Sign Of Illness

Regarding dog health, one of the primary things to check is their tongue.

A dog’s tongue can be a key indicator of underlying health problems.

If the dog’s tongue appears dry and cracked or otherwise discolored, it could be an important sign that something isn’t quite right.

If you notice any such changes in your dog, it would be worthwhile to talk to a trusted veterinarian and get his or her opinion as soon as possible.

Dogs Also Use Their Tongue To Clean Their Fur

Dogs use their tongue to express affection and to help them cool off on hot days, but they also use it for grooming.

Dog’s tongues are actually equipped with unique features that make them great grooming tools.

Dog’s saliva contains an antiseptic that helps to keep them clean, and their tongue acts like a comb.

This is due to the shape of its papillae which helps to collect oils from their coat and spread them around.

Dogs have evolved this trait over time to self-maintain their fur and skin, functioning like a cleaning brush.

So the next time your dog is quickly licking you, pat them on the head in thanks for all the attention they devote to

grooming themselves!

white brown black dog sticking his tongue out


Dogs often stick their tongue out when they are panting, which is a quick way to regulate their body temperature.

Heat is released through their tongue, and cool air is pulled through their mouth.

This action helps keep the dog comfortable, even on hot days!

Dogs also tend to roll their lips when panting, exposing parts of their teeth.

This behavior shows us just how important cooling off can be for dogs and other animals on warm days.

Hanging Tongue Syndrome

It may be a funny sight to see your dog sticking their tongue out.

But if it happens often or for extended periods, you may want to check in with your veterinarian if your dog has the hanging tongue syndrome.

This symptom is known as hanging tongue syndrome and often occurs when the dog’s saliva glands can no longer keep its tongue retracted back into the mouth.

The dog may appear to be overly happy and panting. Although hanging tongue syndrome is usually harmless.

But it can cause problems with eating and drinking due to restricted movement of the dog’s tongue.

It is critical that a veterinarian monitors any issues with your dog’s tongue so that you know if it is the hanging tongue syndrome and what to do about.

Under Or Overbite

When a dog has an under or overbite, you may notice them sticking its tongue out more often.

Because there isn’t enough space between the upper and lower jaws, the tongue becomes trapped in front of the teeth and juts out.

An incorrect bite might create chewing issues and excessive salivation.

Veterinarians advocate keeping a watch on our dog’s mouths for an under or overbite so they can obtain medical assistance.

three dogs looking to the camera sticking their tongues out

Missing Teeth

Have you ever spotted a tongue-wagging pup with more gaps in dog’s mouth than teeth?

If so, you’ve likely noticed that dogs without full dental health often leave their tongue out of their mouths.

That is because their tongue can’t fit between the empty spaces of the missing teeth!

Many veterinarians recommend frequent check-ups and brushing for canine teeth cleaning and to prevent further tooth decay

This will ensure the pup gets back to enjoying those crunchy treats they deserve while saving the tongue from being constantly visible.


Dogs can sometimes stick out their tongue, and this can be a sign of deformities.

There are multiple underlying causes known as tongue protrusion, but the most common is airway obstruction caused by issues in the trachea.

In most cases, a vet will be able to diagnose tongue protrusion through X-rays or an endoscopy.

If left untreated, tongue protrusion can cause breathing problems and other serious health issues.

So take them to the vet as soon as possible if you notice this behavior.

Tongue protrusion-related deformities should not have a long-term impact on her overall health or well-being if detected and treated early.

Fully Relaxed

Did you know that when a dog sticks their tongue out, it is a sign of them being utterly relaxed?

It is true – canines tongue out as a sign of contentment like humans would smile or laugh.

This is a physiological reaction dogs have when they are calm.

Their muscles relax and they lack the strength to keep their tongue in.

Horses have also been seen relaxing with their tongues out. Dogs with protruding tongues are healthy.

Neurological Or Mental Disorders

Interestingly, dogs sometimes stick their tongue out as a sign of neurological or mental disorders.

This subtle tongue-sticking may result from a variety of conditions.

This includes everything from underlying pathology to psychological distress.

If your dog’s tongue is sticking out more than usual, see a vet to decide the best therapy.

white dog sticking tongue out

Should You Be Concerned If Your Dog Sticks Out Their Tongue?

It may look cute at first glance, if you start to notice that your dog is frequently sticking out its tongue.

But it is wise to take a closer look and consider if there could be a more serious issue at play.

This behavior can often signal an underlying issue such as stress, discomfort, or even pain.

All reasons to take your pup for a check-up with their veterinarian.

In addition, prolonged tongue protrusion can also indicate the presence of dental issues such as gingivitis or cavities that may need further attention.

Taking note of this behavior and responding quickly can help ensure that your canine friend enjoys its best health.

Before You Go…

Now you know why dogs stick their tongues out.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.