As a dog owner, you know it's not unusual to see a dog sticking their tongue out during many occasions throughout the day. Their tongues come out when they are grooming themselves, eating, or drinking water. But what about when they are just sitting there, or even sleeping? Turns out, the internet gave this behavior a name: blepping.
Cats do it often but dogs do too. In fact, now that the word is in use, any animal that is capable of sticking its tongue out, like a rabbit, or even a cow, can blep when its tongue is out and won't go back in. But is it normal? Specifically in the case of a dog, what does it mean when your dog sleeps with her tongue out?
Dogs with tongues out
There's a difference between blepping and panting. Panting is something that dogs do often. This can happen while your dog is playing, on a run, or because it is hot out. The most common cause of panting is for dogs to cool off, because dogs can't sweat through their skin to cool off like we can.
Another common cause of panting is a dog feeling stressed or anxious. This type of behavior is usually accompanied by other anxiety-related behaviors like repetitive yawning, pacing, whining, licking lips, shaking, or hiding. Purina says this type of behavior is common when dogs are experiencing something stressful, such as hearing a scary fireworks display.
Flat-faced dogs, such as French bulldogs, pugs, or boxers can experience something called brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome. This means the dog has a shortened airway due to their anatomy. Because their faces are flat, they can't pant as effectively to cool themselves off or even breathe as effectively. These dogs have ongoing breathing difficulty and excessive panting may be just one of the things you notice.
According to Pet MD, some dogs are born with larger tongues that don't fit in their mouths like tongues normally do. Boxers are dogs that this can happen to. This usually doesn't cause problems, and you might see a dog with an extra large tongue sticking it out while they are sleeping.
Hanging tongue syndrome
Hanging tongue syndrome is what some people may call an issue of a dog with a tongue that is constantly hanging out of its mouth. There might be a few reasons for this. Your dog may have a genetic predisposition to have a large tongue and just may like having his tongue dangle. Some dogs, especially those with genetically flattened faces, have short mouths with a tongue that doesn't fit well.
If your dog has a tongue that won't fit in her mouth, one problem that may be associated with that is that her tongue may get very dry. Dental disease or another mouth issue is one cause of a dog that doesn't want to have her tongue in her mouth.
Tongue out while sleeping
Chances are, if your dog's tongue is sticking out while he is sleeping, he's just very relaxed. As your dog slips more deeply into sleep, he may simply relax so much that his mouth and tongue just hang out. This will likely not last long and as soon as your dog changes position he'll bring his tongue back into his mouth.
If your dog is very dehydrated, she will likely have her tongue out as an extreme attempt to cool herself off. Panting alone is not a sign to worry about. Dehydration will go along with other signs that something is wrong, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and dry, sticky gums. As long as your dog's mouth and tongue, and other behavior in general, are not going hand in hand with other signs of trouble, such as a problem with their teeth or mouth, there's probably nothing to worry about.