Why Does My Dog Stick The Tip Of His Tongue Out When Mouth Closed

So many dog owners wonder what makes a dog stick the tip of his tongue out when mouth closed? Why do dogs do this? There are several reasons for this behavior:

  1. Decadent Relaxation (Sign of relaxation)
  2. Longing Anticipation (Excitement and/or Stress)
  3. Tasting the air
  4. Panting due to exhaustion
  5. Hanging tongue syndrome


Possible Reasons Why Is a Dog Sticking Out His Tongue Tip

Why Does My Dog Stick The Tip Of His Tongue Out When Mouth Closed

Now that we’ve established the topic of conversation let’s get to the bottom of why animals unknowingly stick their tongues out.

When faced with such an adorable expression, you can only think that your pet is cute on purpose. As far as I know, that’s not the case.

But what else could be causing this behavior?

Why does my dog’s tongue stick out when its mouth is closed?

There’s not one single possible explanation, there are several, there are various reasons. For sure this is not a normal behavior.

Here are the most common reasons for this behavior…

Useful: My Dog Dog Keeps Flicking Its Tongue Out. Should I be Worried?


Decadent Relaxation

Firstly, let’s talk about the most likely explanation for this unusual phenomenon.

Perhaps the peeking tongue is just a sign that a dog is too relaxed to keep it behind its teeth. It is a sign of relaxation.

Its jaw is slack, so even though its mouth appears closed, its tongue can hang slightly outside.

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


Even wild animals have a propensity for sticking their tongues out when relaxed.

And it’s not just tigers and wolves we’re talking about here.

Most animals do it, from grizzly bears and koalas to otters and seals.

If it has a tongue, it probably hangs loose once in a while, if only while the animal in question is sleeping (mainly during deep sleep).


Longing Anticipation

If I had to guess, I’d say that all the blepping photos online show one of two scenarios.

They’re either picture of dogs relaxing or sleeping or showing them in an alert state.

So in some situations, blepping can show that a dog is putting all of its focus elsewhere.

For example, it might be waiting for a treat, walk, or even a good cuddle.

That way, showing a tongue might be a behavior similar to drooling.

Dogs do it when all of their attention is focused on something else.

Useful: What to Do When You See Your Dog Drooling Excessively From One Side of the Mouth.


Tasting the Air

Another common explanation is that animals may use their tongues to taste the air.

Of course, dogs can do this even without sticking their tongues out, though.

Usually, they can detect the taste of air by inhaling it, thanks to Jacobsen’s organ.

They can access that particular feature by simply holding their mouth open.

Still, if you catch your pet’s tongue out while cooking something delicious, it’s probably just trying to get a taste.


Panting Due to Exhaustion

Of course, your dog could have its tongue out to cool down.

How dogs regulate, their body temperature is how panting — or taking short breaths, usually with the tongue hanging out to regulate their body temperature.

Our bodies achieve the same thing by sweating during and after strenuous exercise.

However, dogs work differently.

But if your pet’s tongue sticks out after playtime, you probably knew the cause already.


Hanging Out Tongue Syndrome

Most of the time, the answer to the question “why my dog’s tongue sticks out when its mouth is closed?” is one of the above mentioned.

However, there are other causes you might consider.

As we have established, blepping usually only involves the very tip of the tongue.

However, some dogs have their whole tongues hanging outside of their mouths.

But why?

Well, the most obvious reason is that it’s a matter of their breed. Some dog breeds are prone to the “hanging tongue syndrome”.

We usually see it in smaller breeds of dogs with flat snouts (brachycephalic breeds). Simply put, there is not enough room in their mouths for the dogs’ tongues.

But that’s not the only reason your pet’s whole tongue could be out.

Some other health problems or health issues might be in play (mainly with the dog’s mouth), especially with its teeth (dental problems) or a abnormal jaw bone.

It may also be due to its teeth.

Maybe it has dental issues, a dental disease, oral cavity or a missing teeth (yes, if a dog is missing front teeth, it is common to see that a dog’s tongue hangs out even when mouth is closed).

For example, if your dog has an overbite or underbite, its tongue could slip out accidentally (I mean, the tip of their tongue sticking out).

They’re probably just too lazy to suck it back in.

On the other hand, if the teeth were diseased and the dog’s teeth had to be extracted, there may be nothing to hold the tongue in.

All these are things that can cause hanging tongue syndrome.

But don’t worry, we’re not talking about a dangerous condition.

As long as your dog has plenty of water to hydrate that loose tongue and check it for discoloration every once in a while, it should be fine.

Useful: How Much Water Should a Puppy Drink During Potty Training?



Finally, one last thing you should consider if you’re trying to figure out why your pet’s tongue is sticking out.

If you’ve recently started giving your dog new medication, it may be worth looking into its side effects.

Hopefully, your vet would have shared those with you when you got the prescription, but checking online can never hurt.

Maybe someone else has noticed the same effect.

Usually, all you need to worry about in that regard are pain relievers and anxiety medication.

However, I should also remind you to check any additional supplements you may be giving your dog for these effects.


Why Does My Dog Stick The Tip of His Tongue Out While Sleeping?

It’s perfectly normal to see a dog sticking its tongue out while sleeping. Most of the time, they do it because:

  • They’ve entered a stage of pure relaxation and are just enjoying their dreams.
  • They’re trying to cool down.

A dog’s tongue plays a significant role in temperature regulation since canines release heat through this organ.

That’s why dogs stick their tongues out after playing hard too!


Why Does My Dog Stick The Tip of His Tongue Out When I Pet Him?

Well, Dogs have many ways of communicating with us and expressing their emotions, and sticking their tongue out slightly when we pet them is one of them.

It’s a behavior that can show relaxation and enjoyment.

When dogs are relaxed, it is common for them to start panting gently with its tongue slightly sticking out.

This helps release heat and regulate body temperature, and most of the time can also be a sign that the dog is feeling happy and comfortable.

Also, petting dogs can stimulate the production of endorphins, promoting relaxation and happiness.

So, when a dog sticks its tongue out while being petted, it could be a sign that they’re feeling happy, relaxed, and joyful.


Dog’s Tongue Sticking Out

Introduction to dogs tongue sticking out

When I first adopted my precious mutt, I spent days just looking at his fluffy face.

It wasn’t long before I noticed a curious habit the pup continues to practice.

Awake or asleep, I’d sometimes catch my dog with a part of its tongue just casually hanging outside its mouth.

So why does my dog’s tongue stick out when its mouth is closed?

A cursory investigation came up with no conclusive reason, so I decided to dive deeper.

Dog Training Solution

If you’re an animal lover, the chances are that you’re already familiar with the iconic blep.

Yes, that’s the slang term most people use for this adorable facial expression.

And dogs aren’t the only ones that do it, either!

You’ve probably seen photos of various animal species lounging around with their tongues hanging out of their closed mouths.

So since this phenomenon is so prevalent, let’s start by explaining it.

More importantly, what distinguishes it from other similar animal behaviors?

Useful: Abnormal Dog Behavior. A Helpful And Useful Guide.


How Do We Define The “Blep”?

Dog blepping, sticking the tip of his tongue out with mouth closed

As I’ve mentioned, “blepping” isn’t exactly a scientific term.

However, it has recently been used to describe expressions you might see on dogs and cats.

But is it something you need to worry about?

To begin with, let’s look at the situation I’m describing here to avoid confusion.

After all, both canines and felines are capable of making some pretty adorable facial expressions, most of which heavily feature some slobber.

In the case of the blep, the animal in question usually has its mouth closed.

So if a dog stick the tip of his tongue out when his mouth is closed and You partially see only the tip of its tongue, just hanging slightly over the lip, that’s blepping.

Typically, the dog seems to have no knowledge of its tongue sticking out unless you call attention to it by touching it.

At that point, most pups quickly slurp it back.

Useful: 7 Most Common Dog Tongue Problems.


If your pup is panting or lapping something up, it doesn’t technically count as a blep.

Useful: What Causes Excessive Panting in Older Dogs/


For example, if the dog is rhythmically passing its tongue over its nose or lapping something up, the sound it makes is a “mlem.”

Because these terms describe the sound these actions make, they are technically onomatopoeic.

In the case of the blep, we might say that the sound the word describes is what we imagine a hanging tongue would sound like.

Speaking of which, later on, we’ll discuss how this expression differs from hanging tongue syndrome.

For now, though, it’s safe to say that seeing a part of your pup’s tongue outside of its mouth is nothing to be concerned about.


Final Thoughts

When I first asked the Internet “why my dog’s tongue sticks out when its mouth is closed?” I was only mildly curious about it.

But, as a pet owner, it seamed a good idea to search for information.

I believe that dedicated dog owners (and overall pet owners) are always looking for the best way to have a healthy dog, a happy dog.

There’s a reason why I called my website “Happy Fit Dog” 🙂

And good news! These explanations have shown me much more about this issue that I face with my furry friend than I previously thought.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have a clear scientific answer to the question we started with, the proven scientific reasons dogs do this.

What we do have are logical guesses.

And until we know for sure why this behavior is so prevalent in the animal kingdom, that will have to be enough!

See ya, fellow pet parents!

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