Dogs sticking out their tongues are a common sight. However, when your dog does this too often, it may be a cause for concern. When such a thing happens, most pet parents wonder, “why is my dog tongue out most of the time?” There are several reasons for this, and here are a few important ones to look out for:
● While Panting
● Hanging Tongue Syndrome
● Oral cancer or other growths
● Dental Diseases
Why Do Dogs Stick Out Their Tongues?
Your dog’s tongue is a vital organ, and unlike humans who use it for taste and talking, the dog’s tongue has many functions. The dog uses the tongue to grab food and lick water while drinking. The tongue, along with your dog’s nose, smells the food and the surroundings.
Hyperventilating or Panting
A dog breathes rapidly with the tongue sticking out. This action is a natural cooling mechanism that helps control body temperature. The rapid breaths aid in the evaporation of water in the tongue and mouth. The evaporation of water helps regulate your dog’s body temperature.
Hanging Tongue Syndrome
Some dog breeds have a genetic condition known as hanging tongue syndrome. Some dogs are born with a flat face, resulting in their oral cavities being smaller than regular dogs’ mouths.
The oral cavity is so small that there is hardly enough space to accommodate a long tongue, which remains hanging outside most of the time. In some cases, there could be some abnormality in the jawbone. Or, there may be a few missing teeth, both of which cause the dog’s tongue to hang out almost all the time. In such cases, even with your dog’s tongue out throughout the day, it is not a cause for concern.
Tonguing is somewhat like the Flehmen response generally displayed by horses and other animals. Tonguing means that your dog is displaying sexual behavior and is looking out for a mate in the surroundings. Your dog virtually uses his or her tongue to sniff the air and taste it, to check if any mate is around. Some other animals curl their upper lips to display the same instinct.
Oral Cancer and Other Growths
It is very likely for a dog to contract oral tumors that can be malignant. The tongue is a primary target for oral cancer in dogs. Your dog’s tongue may develop tiny warts or bumps, which may be benign and disappear on their own, or may turn malignant, requiring surgical removal. It is best to ask your vet if warts or bumps persist for a long time.
Dental Diseases in Dogs
Your dog uses its mouth and tongue throughout the day for some activity or the other (mostly licking objects) and is prone to dental diseases. An inflammation of the tongue, called glossitis, is widespread, and it causes your pet to keep its tongue sticking out most of the time.
Your dog’s mouth is made up of soft tissues, which, along with the gums, can develop inflammation, another reason for the tongue hanging out. Inflammation of the lips, known as cheilitis, is another cause for your dog’s tongue to be hanging out all day long.
There are several other reasons for inflammation in the mouth, including:
● Chewing and swallowing some foreign body
● Sniffing or licking toxic chemicals or poisonous plants
● Infections caused by viruses or bacteria
● Diseases caused by low immunity
● Wrong diet, causing nutritional deficiency
● Other metabolic diseases
What Should You Do?
Now that you answered why my dog’s tongue is out, let’s find out a solution.
If you find your dog sticking out its tongue while panting, it is no cause for alarm. However, if the panting is excessive and continuous, you need to consult your vet. While you can do a preliminary examination yourself, a visit to the vet is necessary if the panting doesn’t stop. Only a close examination can reveal any warts or growths, and missing teeth causing the gum inflammation.
Summing it Up
Pet parents are often worried about hanging tongue syndrome, which is usual in most cases. However, it is essential to watch keenly and consult a vet if necessary to be on the safe side.