If you observe your dog during the day, you will notice he spends most of the day with his tongue out. Since dogs sweat only through their paws, they need another mechanism to get rid of excessive heat. That mechanism is called panting. Seeing your dog with his tongue out during walks or play is nothing special or uncommon. However, seeing your dog sleeping with his tongue out is an alarming sight for most people.
In this article, we will learn what are the reasons for this behavior.
My Dog Sleeping With Tongue Out: What Does It Mean?
There are several potential reasons why your dog is sleeping with his tongue out:
The Dog Is Completely Relaxed
When a dog sleeps with his tongue out, one of the possible reasons is that he is completely relaxed. His muscles relax so much that his mouth is parted and his tongue sticks out and becomes visible.
This can happen in any sleeping position, although it’s most common when the dog sleeps on his side or if he is fully stretched out.
Generally, it’s a good sign when dogs sleep with their tounges out in these positions. It means they are calm, relaxed, and comfortable.
Don’t disturb your dog or try to reintroduce the tongue into its mouth. The dog will do that when he changes his sleeping position or when he wakes up.
Tonge sticking out during sleep is most common in brachycephalic breeds. These breeds have a short snout, wide skull which and flattened faces. Unfortunately, these dogs have breathing issues due to these characteristics.
REM Sleep Cycle
During sleep, dogs enter the REM sleeping phase. This is the deep sleep phase where brain activity is triggered. The heart rate increases and the breathing speed is up. Your dog is dreaming and it usually lasts a few minutes. During the REM phase, you will notice your dog’s legs moving, almost like he is running.
Dog’s ears and mouth or mouth suffer small twitches or spasms. Your dog may open his eyes and mouth and the dog, fully asleep may make sounds like whimpering, howling, or barking. Your dog may also stick out his tongue during the REM phase of sleep.
This is completely normal behavior and it doesn’t imply any pathology nor you have to intervene.
Injury Or Discomfort
Dogs use their tongues to regulate their temperature through panting. However, this is not the only function of a tongue. It also plays a vital role during exploration, when dog tastes different things to determine if they are edible.
Unfortunately, injuries to the tongue in these situations are fairly common. When the dog’s tongue is injured, you will notice it hanging out all the time, even during sleep.
When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?
Seeing your dog sleeping with the tongue out is generally not a reason for concern. However, if your dog is unable to get his tongue back to his mouth, you should visit the vet.
As we already said, this can be due to the injury while exploring. Maybe a foreign body is embedded into the tongue causing pain or discomfort, or the tongue is swollen due to the trauma or a bee sting, etc.
Whatever the cause, if you notice your dog’s tongue hanging out most of the day, you need to take him to the vet.