Why Do Pugs Tongues Hang Out?

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Your pug’s tongue serves different purposes. It can regulate their body temperature, show affection, etc. Therefore, when you notice that your furry friend is exhibiting unusual behavior with their tongue, be sure to investigate.

So why do pugs’ tongues hang out? We’ll explore the common reasons behind this, and whether you should be concerned when your pug’s tongue hangs out, plus the health complication brought about by your dog sticking their tongue out.

Should You Be Concerned if Your Pug’s Tongue Is Sticking Out?

why do pugs tongues hang out

Pugs’ genetic predisposition “scrunched faces” with an abnormal jawbone and short snout makes their tongue large for their oral cavity. This is what causes their tongue to dislodge. As a first-time pug owner, it’s not easy to differentiate a worrying hand-out tongue from a harmless tongue.

Understand that it’s natural for this dog breed to have a tongue that’s sticking out of the mouth, but if it stays that way for too long, it could become dry and begin to crack. So, ensure that you give your pug a lot of water to keep it moist.

Additionally, watch out for any tongue color and texture changes. An exposed tongue is susceptible to infection and bacteria.

The color of your dog’s tongue can tell you a lot about its well-being. Here’s a breakdown of the different tongue colors and the possible condition your furry friend could be suffering from.

  • Red Tongue: This is a sign your dog could be suffering from vitamin deficiency, dehydration, kidney or gallbladder malfunction.
  • Orange or Yellow Tongue: This is a sign of liver or gallbladder malfunction or gastritis.
  • Blue or Purple Tongue: Indicates organ distress or a respiratory or circulatory problem.

If your dog doesn’t stick out its tongue often but suddenly starts to do so, consult your veterinarian—changes in behavior point to underlying health issues that require medical attention.  

why do pugs tongues hang out

Potential Health Implications of Pug Tongues That Hang Out

While it’s natural for most pugs to have their tongue hanging out, you should be concerned about the potential health complication a hanging out tongue can have on your dog. Here’s an overview of the potential health complications your pug may face if their tongue is permanently stuck out.

A Hanging Tongue Could Lead to a Neurological Disorder

If your dog doesn’t stick its tongue out often and they don’t drink or eat, as usual, the chances are that they could be suffering from a neurological disorder.

If this is the case, your furry friend may not be able to use their tongue normally, so be sure to seek the help of a professional vet. It’s also necessary to seek medical assistance should your dog lose simple motor function.

Your Dog Could Be Having Hanging Tongue Syndrome

In some cases, a sticking tongue could indicate that your pug is suffering from hanging tongue syndrome. This is a condition whereby your dog finds it difficult to retract its tongue. This is because their tongue doesn’t fit their mouth cavity.

Given that your pug’s tongue is out most of the time, it can become excessively sore, dry, or it can even crack. With this condition, your furry friend is also at risk of injury to the tongue.

Some of the symptoms of this condition include a rough or cracking tongue, bad breath, dehydration, and swollen tongue.

why do pugs tongues hang out

A Hanging Tongue Can Result in Heatstroke

If your pug suffers from “hanging tongue syndrome,” it’s likely to suffer from heatstroke. Given that dogs lack sweat glands and have to pant to cool their body, the inability to retract their tongue can cause them to overheat.

To avoid overheating your furry friend, ensure that your dog is indoors when it’s hot and limit their physical activity. Additionally, seek the assistance of a vet if you notice signs of excess drooling, hyperventilation, and heat exhaustion.

Possible Reasons Your Pug’s Tongue Is Sticking Out

Many pug owners associate hanging out tongue with the dog’s tiny oral cavity. But aside from this, there are plenty of reasons why your pug’s tongue could be hanging out.

Your Dog Could Be Feeling Relaxed

When your pug is relaxing, it’s not strange to see them curled up and sticking out their tongue. It could mean that they’ve eaten a delicious meal in such a case.

Your Pug Could Be Losing Teeth

At some point in their lives, pugs will lose their teeth. So, in case of a tooth loss or dental issue, your pug’s tongue will stick out. This is why it’s advisable to monitor your pug’s tongue at the different teething stages.

Your Dog Is Starting a New Medication

Your dog’s tongue may stick out after you start on a new medication. If this happens, be sure to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. A medical professional will advise whether it’s the right medication for your furry friend or you need a change.

why do pugs tongues hang out

Your Pug Is Cooling Down

When your dog gets warm, it will stick out its tongue and pant. This helps it regulate its body temperature. Understand that the shallow, short breaths your dog takes also cause water to evaporate from your pug’s upper respiratory tract and tongue.

If you notice that your dog is panting a lot, give them a lot of water, limit their physical activity and keep them in a cool place.

If your dog continues to pant even after it appears to have cooled down, be sure to visit a vet to ensure that your dog doesn’t have any underlying conditions.

Final Thoughts – Why Do Pugs Tongues Hang Out?

Pugs are among the best breeds every first-time dog owner should own. Due to their genetic predisposition, your dog may stick out its tongue often, resulting in different problems.

While this is the case, it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to determine if the hanging tongue is due to relaxation or there could be possible underlying health conditions.

While owning a pug can be a great experience, it may not be a great experience for those who don’t know how to tell whether their dog is healthy or not. This guide has explored in detail why your pug’s tongue hangs out and when to be concerned. 

Check out our guides for more information on how your pug can live a healthy, fulfilling life.

rachael barkzine

About the author

Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.

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PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.