If you have a dog, you’ve undoubtedly seen them sleep with their tongue out. While this is adorable, it does make you wonder whether it is normal or not. If you are a first-time pet parent, you might even think this is something to worry about. Well, have no fear because this is entirely normal. It is so common that the internet has even given it a name.
“Blepping” is the name for sleeping with your tongue out. Although this behavior is usually quite normal, you should consult your veterinarian if it accompanies other worrying symptoms.
There are many reasons your dog sleeps with her tongue out, which are as follows:
The most common reason dogs sleep with their tongues out is that they feel hot. When a dog sticks its tongue out, it aids saliva’s evaporation, releasing heat from the blood vessels.
Your dog might even pant in its sleep to cool down, but it is nothing to worry about. Unlike us, dogs cannot sweat through their skin. Their sweat glands are located on their nose and paw pads. Panting is how they cool off.
Dogs with flat faces, such as boxers, pugs, and French bulldogs, might suffer from a condition called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome. Due to their anatomy, their airway is shorter and can obstruct the typical passage of air. Since their faces are flat, they have difficulty panting to cool themselves off. As a result, you might notice them sleeping with their tongue out and panting excessively. Most flat-faced dogs experience breathing difficulties.
Although rare, dogs are sometimes born with tongues too big to fit into their mouths properly. This condition is called macroglossia and is very rare. Some breeds, such as Boxers, can have tongues that are too large, but they do not cause any problems. Such breeds usually have their tongues hanging out of their mouths, but it does not cause problems with other normal functions. If your pet has trouble due to their tongue size, there are surgical methods to reduce the size of their tongue.
If your dog is sleeping with her tongue out or panting, there are chances she could just be dreaming. Dogs can dream, and you might even have heard your pet talking in their sleep. Although it is rare for dogs to have nightmares, they will likely pant or whine in their sleep when dreaming. If you notice any signs of distress while your pet is sleeping, it is better to wake them up by calling out to them. If you try to wake up your pet, they might unintentionally bite you.
Stress and Anxiety
Just like us, dogs also express their anxiety in many ways. As our behaviors change in stressful situations, so do our pets, and it is important to be mindful of changes. When experiencing a stressful situation, you might notice your pet has its tongue out. If they don’t usually sleep with their tongue out, they may be feeling stressed.
Situations that could be stressful for your pet include moving houses, having a new family member at home, having a new pet at home, and losing an old pet. If your pet is experiencing something new and now sleeps with their tongue out, they might be feeling stressed or anxious.
Hanging Tongue Syndrome
Dogs with their tongues hanging out are common, and some dogs may be partially or fully unable to control their tongue. As a result, their tongue consistently hangs out of their mouth. This condition is called Hanging Tongue Syndrome and could be due to injury, congenital defect, dental disease, or neurological damage. In this case, your dog can experience issues such as dehydration, frostbite, and even infections.
If your pet shows symptoms such as bad breath, swelling of the tongue, or a bleeding or cracked tongue, consult your veterinarian. There are various ways to manage Hanging Tongue Syndrome, and your veterinarian can provide you with more knowledge.
Just like some humans sleep with their mouths open, your dog might be very relaxed. It is common for dogs to stick their tongue out while in a deep sleep. If this is the case, it won’t last as long since your dog will likely put his tongue back in his mouth when changing positions. If you’ve gotten your dog a new and comfortable dog bed, he is probably enjoying the comfort of his new bed. In this case, there is nothing to worry about, and you should wait for your dog to put his tongue back in his mouth.
If your dog is very dehydrated, she might stick her tongue out while sleeping in an attempt to cool down. Just sticking her tongue out or panting isn’t enough to determine if this is the cause. Dehydration is usually indicated by other signs, such as lethargy and loss of appetite. If your dog does not have these symptoms, there is nothing to worry about. Keep an eye out for any signs of trouble if you think your pet has dehydration.
When you change your medication, you might have noticed your mouth feels drier than usual. It is the same for pets. If your dog’s medication has recently changed, there is a possibility it could cause your pet’s tongue to become dry. In this case, consult your veterinarian about what to expect before changing your pet’s medication. If you know your pet’s new medication can cause such symptoms, ensure they have plenty of water and stay hydrated.
If your pet is hanging out his tongue more than usual and refusing to eat, check his gums to ensure no dental issues. If the gums or tongue are swollen or injured, your pet might be sticking his tongue out while sleeping. Consult your veterinarian about these issues. Many dental problems can make it difficult for your pet to keep his tongue in his mouth for an extended period. Regularly cleaning your pet’s teeth is essential for dental hygiene and preventing dental problems.
Poor bite refers to two dental conditions: canine overbite and underbite. In an underbite, the upper jaw is shorter than the lower jaw, so the lower set of teeth extends outward. While in an overbite, the lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw, so the upper set of teeth extends outward. If your dog has any of these conditions, it will stick its tongue out more than usual. Since this is a dental and skeletal condition, surgery is required to treat or correct these conditions. These conditions pose no health risks in most cases, but it is better to consult your veterinarian for detailed information.
What You Can Do
If your dog is sleeping with his tongue out, it is probably nothing to worry about. It is a common habit among many dog breeds. If your dog is of a particular breed prone to sticking its tongue out or has any of the harmless conditions listed above, sleeping with his tongue out is not an issue.
However, consult your veterinarian if your dog does not usually sleep with his tongue out and if other worrying signs accompany the behavior. Sometimes, small changes indicate a bigger problem that should be addressed promptly. Be mindful of your pet’s daily habits and consult your vet if you notice any unusual changes.