Why Does My Dog’s Tongue Stick out When He Sleeps?

Have you ever wondered, why does your dog’s tongue stick out when he sleeps? If yes, read on to find out.

Dogs are such precious creatures! They always stay by your side and have the superpower to cheer you up with their quirkiness no matter how stressful your day is.

Sticking their tongue out when sleeping is one of them.

But first, if your main question is, “Is it normal?” the answer is, yes! It’s perfectly fine for your canine bud to sleep that way, so don’t worry.


Common Dog Breeds That Sleep With Their Tongue Out

Generally, all dogs can sleep with their tongue out from time to time. However, some breeds are more prone to that habit.

Usually, canines whose faces are smaller with an elongated tongue tend to sleep with it out. That’s because it’s harder for them to contain it in the mouth while asleep.

However, dogs with more regular-looking faces also share that habit.

Here are a few breeds that tend to stick out their tongue while snoozing:

  • Chihuahuas
  • Pugs
  • Mastiffs
  • King Charles Spaniels
  • Bulldogs


Now, let’s have a look at some of the possible reasons for that behavior.


5 Reasons For Your Dog’s Tongue Sticking Out When Sleeping

Making sure you understand the reasons behind your pooch’s tendency to stick out his tongue while napping is essential.

It provides you with peace of mind and an idea of what to watch out for.


#1 Relaxation

Usually, dogs sleep with their tongue out as a sign of relaxation after a long day of being unbelievably cute.

When your furry bud is in a deep stage of sleep, his whole body relaxes. Hence, his tongue sticks out of his mouth, making him that much more adorable.

If you take long walks or like to travel with your pooch, don’t be surprised upon the sight of his little tongue sticking out when he finally gets the chance to take a snooze.

Even if that’s not a common occurrence, it’s nothing to worry about.

You may even spot your pup twitching, growling, or barking while asleep. If you’re a new dog owner, that may be super strange at first, but don’t freak out.

Your doggy is just having a dream.

On a side note, you might’ve seen videos on the internet of dog owners pulling on their dog’s tongue while it’s sleeping.

That’s immensely cute, no doubt. However, I strongly advise against doing it!

If your furry friend is deeply asleep, you’ll most probably scare him in your attempt to make a cute video for Instagram.

Therefore, admire him from afar. You should be able to fill your gallery with cuteness without causing your puppy any stress.


#2 Heat

As you probably know, dogs don’t have the same heat control mechanisms as humans.

Contrary to the common belief, they do sweat, but they have much fewer sweat glands than we do, which makes that particular type of cooling far less effective.

Therefore, canines have developed other natural ways to regulate their body temperature — one of which is to stick their tongue out.

How does that work?, you might be wondering. Well, the tongue is full of blood vessels.

By sticking it out, your pooch lets the saliva on it evaporate, resulting in a cooling sensation. It’s the second-best thing to ACs!

Therefore, if you live in a warm area or it’s just summertime and the weather is quite hot, don’t worry about the instances of your dog sleeping that way.


#3 Panting

Most canines are extremely energetic creatures. They are always running around, playing with other pups, chasing birds, squirrels, and whatever else they find interesting.

All these activities need loads of energy, though. That’s why dogs pant. It helps them breathe faster, thus bringing more oxygen into the body and maintaining high energy levels.

Usually, dogs let their tongues hang while panting no matter if they are running, lying, or standing.

When they need to take a nap, however, they may leave their tongue out of their mouth.

So that could be the answer to the question, why does my dog’s tongue stick out when he sleeps?

The suggestions mentioned so far describe completely normal processes that may be the reason for your pup’s cute habit.

However, there are cases when an underlying problem could be the reason for that behavior.

So let’s take a look at some of them:


#4 Hanging Tongue Syndrome

As I’ve already mentioned, the sight of a canine with his tongue out is certainly not unusual.

However, some dogs are unable to control their tongue, which results in it hanging out their mouth on a regular basis.

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Those pups have a condition known as hanging tongue syndrome, which can be triggered by an injury, congenital defect, or neurological damage.

Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Dry tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Cracking and bleeding of the tongue
  • Thickened or swollen tongue


If you spot any of the mentioned symptoms in combination with the instances of your pup taking naps with his tongue out, I suggest talking to your vet.

They will do all the necessary tests to find out if there’s anything to worry about.

While that condition may not be the worst thing in the world, it certainly mustn’t be underestimated!


#5 Heatstroke

You already know that many dogs stick their tongue out to help their body cool off. However, in some cases that is not enough, and your pooch may overheat.

That might answer the question of why does my dog’s tongue stick out when he sleeps?

If your dog is suffering a heatstroke, he may lie on the ground with his tongue out.

Some of the symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Salivating and drooling
  • Bright red tongue
  • Very red or pale gums
  • Intense panting
  • Breathing distress
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness, agitation
  • Vomiting, etc.


Should you suspect that your canine bud’s having a heatstroke, immediately go to a cooler, shaded place and provide him with plenty of water.

Even car rides can be dangerous if you don’t make sure the AC is on at all times.

Heat damage must be taken seriously, as it could be lethal.

Of course, most of the time, your pup will stick his tongue out because of exhaustion, relaxation, or to cool off, so don’t panic.


Side Effects of Dogs Sleeping with Their Tongue Out

If you’ve been wondering, Why does my dog’s tongue stick out when he sleeps? you might also want to know what side effects could follow that habit.

Here are the two most common ones:


1. Dry and Cracked Tongue

If you live in a very dry area with hot weather, your pooch could develop a dry and cracked tongue. That’s due to the lack of moisture from the saliva in his mouth.

A cracked tongue is quite an unpleasant thing for your canine bud, so watch out for it.


2. Infections

What better place for bacteria to accumulate than a cracked tongue?

Dogs that tend to stick their tongue out when taking a snooze are more prone to infections, as harmful microorganisms could easily reach them.

Therefore, make sure your canine drinks plenty of water to prevent possible harm.

Keep in mind that those side effects don’t apply to every dog that sleeps with his tongue out, so don’t stress about them.

They should serve as warnings of what could possibly happen if you let your furry friend sleep that way in dry, hot areas.


To Sum Up

Dogs are truly the best animals on Earth! They will always keep your heart warm and never leave your back.

Their moments of quirkiness are simply precious, which is why situations of them snoozing with their tiny tongue out are so adorable.

Many people ask the question, why does my dog’s tongue stick out when he sleeps, and now, after reading this article, you know the answer.

That’s quite a common behavior, associated with relaxation and calmness.

However, should you notice anything strange about your canine bud, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.

The most important thing is to always keep an eye on your puppy so that everything is under control.

I hope that I answered the question, Why does my dog’s tongue stick out when he sleeps? and provide you with valuable information you can use in your everyday life.

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