A dog with its tongue sticking out is cute, especially when it’s a puppy. Log onto Facebook and you will easily find a meme of a dog with its tongue hanging out with a funny caption. Most of the dogs we see competing in the World’s Ugliest Dog competitions always seem to have their tongue hanging out between their teeth.
However, a dog’s tongue sticking out all the time could be a condition called “Hanging Tongue Syndrome (HTS),” and it can cause the dog pain. HTS is a condition where a dog’s tongue hangs out of it’s mouth all the time and she is unable to bring her tongue in at will.
This could be due to the dog’s breed, a mouth or jaw injury, or deformities of the mouth or teeth, among other things. Other times, things like medications or the removal of teeth, could temporarily leave your dog’s tongue hanging outside of his mouth. If a dog is not able to moisten its tongue by bringing it fully into the mouth, then the tongue could become dry or cracked over time and cause the dog some pain.
HTS isn’t life threatening in itself, but it could indicate something is wrong.
A dog’s tongue is quite remarkable and very important to its well-being. Dogs use their tongues to drink water, help keep themselves cool and to clean their coat and feet. Plus, most dogs aren’t shy when it comes to giving us a warm, sloppy kiss when they feel we need one whether we want it or not.
The tongue helps cool the dog in a simple, yet effective manner. When dogs get hot while playing or exercising, their tongue keeps them cool because they pant to cool down. The blood vessels in the tongue swell because of increased blood flow. As the dog pants, moisture is created by their breath which evaporates and cools the tongue. As the tongue cools down, the blood flow is cooled and this goes throughout the dog’s respiratory system, cooling his entire body.