When your dog is deep in sleep, she does something very cute: she sticks her tongue out. You've seen her start running, twitch and whine in her sleep, but this is a whole new level of cute.
You only have one concern: is this normal? You want to make sure that your dog isn't having any issues with her reflexes or tongue. The good news is that usually, if your dog is sleeping with her tongue out, she is perfectly fine.
Why dogs sleep with their tongues out
If your dog only sticks her tongue out when she is sleeping, it means she is very relaxed. That's it. There are tons of cute videos online you can watch of dogs sleeping with their tongues out, because it is extremely common.
Unlike some of the people who make these videos of your dogs, you should never attempt to pull on your sleeping dog's tongue or startle her into waking up. If your dog is fast asleep, she could become disoriented and possibly growl at or bite you, even if she's not aggressive when she's awake. Dogs don't always have control over themselves if they are startled when waking up, so be careful.
Instead, just admire your pup and shoot a video from afar. It'll turn out just as great.
Other times your dog's tongue may be out
Your dog likely sticks her tongue out often. If she is panting, her tongue will be out. This usually happens after you play fetch with her or go on a long walk or run, and is totally normal.
Dogs also stick their tongues out in order to smell something. If she's exploring the world around her on a walk, she may sniff and stick her tongue out.
If you're cooking her favorite food, like chicken or beef, she will likely also stick her tongue out. She'll probably begin to salivate, slobber and whimper as well so she can get a free sample.
When your dog's mouth is open and her tongue is out, it looks like she is smiling. Be sure to grab your phone and take pictures and videos when this occurs, because you've got one happy pup on your hands.
A bigger problem: hanging tongue syndrome
If your dog's tongue is sticking out on a constant basis, she may have hanging tongue syndrome, which is a more serious issue. Hanging tongue syndrome is a medical defect, and it can occur because a dog has an injury or there is a problem with her neurological system. Perhaps she has a cracked or dry tongue, or there is something bigger going on. The only way to find out is to take her to the veterinarian so some tests can be run.
You may suspect she has hanging tongue syndrome if she cannot put her tongue back in her mouth. This is unsafe, because she may get a sunburn on her tongue when she's outside or crack it even more. Her tongue may also be rough or have sore spots on it. Maybe it looks pale or swollen. Your dog may also have bad breath.
Some breeds that are prone to hanging tongue syndrome include Chihuahuas, bulldogs and King Charles Spaniels. If you take your dog to the vet for this condition, he may recommend using topical treatments, removing some teeth, surgically shortening the tongue, keeping your dog's mouth lubricated with water, olive oil and ice cubes and giving her medication.
With a little care and love, as well as advice from your vet, you can remedy hanging tongue syndrome and make your pup feel comfortable.