A protruding tongue in pets is quite a common sight, especially in dogs. A dog’s tongue is a vital indicator of its health. Dogs are seen hanging out their tongues for long periods when they are relaxing or feeling happy. They use their tongue for drinking and eating and showering loving smooches and licks on their owners. Also, dogs use their tongues to lower the body heat after playing or exercising by panting with their tongue.
However, a dog sticking tongue out all the time can also be a sign of an underlying health condition called Hanging Tongue syndrome.
When a dog cannot keep its tongue in even when it wants to, it is called a hanging tongue syndrome. Common signs of this syndrome include excessive drooling, especially after eating or drinking, awful breath, and a reluctance to eat.
This condition can be temporary but can be a serious issue if it is permanent. If your pet keeps its tongue sticking out all the time, it is essential to take your pet to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Causes of Hanging Tongue Syndrome –
A past injury or trauma to the jaw or mouth or damage to the facial area can cause hanging tongue syndrome.
- Neurological Damage
Damage to the nerves controlling the tongue can also prevent the dog from pulling its tongue back in its mouth.
Some dogs are born with their tongue hanging out. This may happen due to their tongue being larger for the mouth or jawbone.
- Non-genetic Causes
Severe dental disease that results in the loss of teeth is another cause for this syndrome. The tongue can easily slip out if there are no teeth to support it.
- New Medication
In some pets, a change in medication can also be the cause of this syndrome. If you feel that your dog is sticking the tongue out and suspect that the medication is causing this, talk to your vet immediately.
When to Worry?
Dogs with this syndrome are at an increased risk of sunburn, dehydration, and infection. In cold weather, they may also be prone to frostbite and may require surgery to remove the tip to prevent further damage to the tongue.
Monitor for any changes in color, texture, size, cracks, or bleeding of the tongue as it can indicate a bacterial infection. It is best to take your pet to the vet in case you notice these changes.
Care for Your Dog
A bit of additional care is all your pet needs; otherwise, they are typically normal and happy dogs. Sticking tongue out can make your dog’s tongue get dry, cracked, and painful. This is because the tongue cannot get the natural moisture from the mouth, causing the tongue to dry and crack. It can cause discomfort to your pet. Give your dog plenty of water for keeping their tongue hydrated, preventing excessive dryness.
Ensure your pet stays healthy by taking specific steps to prevent your dog from hanging syndrome. Please keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean every day and give them teeth-friendly toys and treats. Also, regular dental check-ups can prevent damage to the teeth, which can cause hanging tongue syndrome.