Hanging Tongue Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Hanging Tongue Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A dog hanging its tongue out is a common behavior. Showing pleasure or anxiety, recovering after an episode of exercise, eating and drinking, or giving you countless numbers of kisses are all reasons that a dog might have its tongue out.

Essentially, it is perfectly normal for your dog to have its tongue out occasionally. However, it can be an indicator of a health problem if your dog does this behavior constantly. In some instances, the dog will leave just a small part hanging out. In other cases, their entire tongue is hanging outside of their face all the time.

If this sounds like your dog, you should begin to suspect that your dog has a condition called hanging tongue syndrome. Continue reading this article to find out more about what causes hanging tongue syndrome and its signs and symptoms.

Symptoms of Hanging Tongue Syndrome Found in Dogs

While your dog sticking out its tongue can be a harmless and charming characteristic, it can also be a sign of a health condition. The following are potential explanations for why your dog might be hanging out its tongue all the time.

Hanging Tongue Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

  • Infected and painful tongue
  • Foul breath
  • Injured tongue
  • Dry tongue
  • Excessive drooling
  • Swollen tongue
  • Cracking and bleeding of the tongue

Causes of Hanging Tongue Syndrome

A few circumstances can cause hanging tongue syndrome in canines. Some are inherent while others are not. Brachycephalic breeds of dogs like Shih Tzus and  Pug breeds are more inclined to have a tongue that is excessively long compared to other dog breeds, and they are more likely to develop this condition as they age.

Hanging tongue syndrome can also occur because of harm to the facial region, especially harm that affects the jaw.

Injury of the nerves that control the tongue, oral cancers, bacterial infections, and different types of neurological diseases can likewise cause a dog’s tongue to hang freely without control.

Diagnosing Hanging Tongue Syndrome in Dogs

The symptoms listed above can be indicative of many different health issues. Your priority should be to make sure that your dog indeed suffers from hanging tongue syndrome.

You must take your dog to see a professional for a diagnosis even if you are completely convinced that your dog has hanging tongue syndrome. A veterinarian can also help you with possible treatment options. The visit will probably begin with a total physical body assessment and standardized tests, including a complete blood count, urinalysis, and a biochemical profile.

These will be done to rule out other reasons that could be making your dog stick out its tongue, such as illnesses or prescriptions that provoke tongue swelling, ulcers or cancers on the tongue, or cuts on the tongue.

An X-ray of the oral cavity and jaw of your dog can also reveal a poorly healed injury or other underlying factors that may cause your dog to lose control of its tongue.

The veterinary doctor will also examine your dog’s canine teeth and determine if the tongue is excessively long for the mouth area.

Treating Hanging Tongue Syndrome in Dogs

There are many different approaches to treating hanging tongue syndrome. The method that you choose is completely dependent on the cause of this defect and how much it bothers your dog. There is not one exact treatment for this tongue disorder, but below are a few steps you can take to help your dog keep its tongue controlled.

  • Regularly allow your dog access to drinking water. This will help to keep your dog’s tongue and mouth from dehydration.
  • Use a small amount of olive oil a couple of times daily on your dog’s tongue to keep it from becoming cracked.
  • If your dog’s tongue is already swollen or cracked, you might need to give them drugs to help with discomfort. If the tongue is infected, your veterinarian will prescribe a suitable antibiotic or antifungal prescription.
  • If your dog has lost control of its tongue totally, you may need to feed your dog food that is delicate and simple to swallow so that your dog does not further harm their tongue while eating. You can also use a slow feeder bowl.
  • Glossectomy (surgical resection of the tongue) can be done on your dog if its tongue is too long relative to the size of its oral cavity. This surgery might be necessary if the excessive length of a dog’s tongue is affecting its quality of life.

Other Reasons Why Your Dog Hangs Out Its Tongue


Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. Panting is their way of keeping their body temperature normal. Dogs need to stick out their tongues to create an evaporating surface that cools their body.

Heat Period

Male dogs stick out their tongue while trying to catch the scent of a female dog that is in heat.


Your dog might stick its tongue out after taking a break from exercising to enjoy a relaxed state of mind.

New Medication

Ask your veterinarian for a different medication if you notice that your dog begins to constantly stick out its tongue when introduced to a new medication.


Hanging tongue syndrome is a health condition that is usually regulated and monitored rather than cured. You need to pay close attention if your dog constantly hangs out its tongue, as this can cause the tongue to dry out, crack and be painful.

Take your time to consistently examine your canine’s tongue. Search for changes in surface, size, and color. On the off chance that you notice any of these things, take your canine to the veterinarian immediately. Those signs could be an indicator of further health issues like injury, neurological diseases, and infection.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *