Do you ever look at your dog when she is sleeping and see her tongue hanging out? Do you ever wonder why she sleeps like this? Do you wonder if it's normal?
Have no fear, many dogs sleep or rest with the tip of their tongues "peeking" out, or let it all hang entirely. They do this to regulate body temperature, particularly when it's hot. A dog's tongue is full of blood vessels.
By sticking some or all of the tongue out (panting or not), contact with the air aids in evaporation of saliva on it, which cools down the tongue and releases heat from the blood supply carried in the vessels. This, in turn, helps cool down a dog's body. It's their version of sweating.
Just as often, however, they may do it for no discernible reason, as when sleeping or, perhaps, dreaming. As long as there's no bleeding or injury to the tongue your dog and his tongue are behaving normal.
Some dogs only stick their tongues out occasionally and can pull it back in whenever they want to. This usually does not pose a problem. However, Hanging Tongue Syndrome is a condition where a dog’s tongue hangs out of his mouth all the time and the dog is unable to bring her tongue in at will.
Hanging tongue syndrome can become painful to the dog. If the tongue is always hanging out of the mouth and is not getting the natural moisture from the mouth it can dry out and crack. Tongues are very sensitive and this can become quite uncomfortable for the dog. They can also develop and infection. If left outside to long in cold weather they can even get frostbite on their tongues.
If your dog has Hanging Tongue Syndrome make sure your dog’s tongue does not become too dry or cracked. You can apply a small amount of olive oil on your dogs tongue to provide moisture and keep it lubricated. You should provide lots of water throughout the day. This too will help moisten her tongue and could prevent cracks. If these suggestions don't work, contact your vet. In very rare cases, a dog’s tongue may need to be surgically shortened in order to alleviate further problems.