To most people, a pug with its tongue out just looks a little humorous. But a pug owner might wonder why their beloved pooch constantly has its tongue hanging out of its mouth. This endearing trait is actually a result of your dog being a brachycephalic breed.
Brachycephaly is a condition in which the shape of an animal’s skull is shorter than typical for its species. Dogs with this condition have a shorter snout, which gives most brachy breeds a flat face, just like your pug.
Pugs are not the only breed that has this facial structure. Mastiffs, Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, Boston terriers, Pekingese, and Boxers all have brachycephaly. It occurs in other animals too. In cats, the Persian, Exotic Shorthair, and Himalayan are all brachy breeds.
The Correlation Between Brachycephaly and a Dog’s Tongue Being Out
The skull bone pattern of a pug’s face, among other factors, contributes to its tongue hanging out.
Brachycephaly results from premature fusion of the coronal sutures or external deformation. This phenotypic trait of your pug has been traced back and found to be a product of selective breeding. Brachycephaly has existed genetically long before selective breeding, although the particular gene that causes it is unknown.
As a result of selective breeding, over the years, the length of pugs’ tongues remains almost unchanged while the snout which should house the tongue gets shorter. A pug has no choice but to walk around with its tongue out. This is simply because of its facial structure and is no cause for alarm.
Is Your Pug Very Active?
Dogs pant after undergoing stressful activities like running and exercising. Their body temperature increases as they perform these activities, and they cool themselves by sticking their tongues out and panting instead of sweating.
Panting is limited when a dog engages in activities in a colder climate, just like humans sweat less exercising in the cold.
Reasons to Worry When a Pug Sticks Its Tongue Out
While it is true that pugs naturally stick their tongues out frequently, there are also certain health issues that could be causing your pug to stick out its tongue.
Hanging Tongue Syndrome
Hanging tongue syndrome occurs if your pug’s motor functions are not in optimum condition. The permanent inability of your pug to withdraw its tongue back into its mouth should worry you.
Hanging tongue syndrome leaves a pug’s tongue without moisture, which can cause cracks, bleeding, and dehydration. A normally pink tongue could also change texture and color. If you aren’t careful, your pug’s cute tongue could become damaged.
Hanging tongue syndrome must be carefully observed and its causes quickly unearthed so that your dog can receive proper treatment quickly. Always ensure that your pooch drinks plenty of water so that its tongue is properly moisturized, as exposure to the air can dehydrate a tongue.
If you suspect that your dog has hanging tongue syndrome, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Hanging tongue syndrome can be caused by any of the following abnormalities:
Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome (BAOS)
This is a pathological condition that occurs as a result of a short snout. BAOS affects the respiratory system of dogs by causing constriction of their airways, which hinders the flow of air through the system.
A cute pug breathing heavily may suffer from BAOS. Shallow breaths should always give you cause for concern.
These are conditions that affect the brain, nerves, and the spinal cord, which are the main areas that are attacked by diseases and affected by injuries. If the nervous system has been affected, this can alter nervous signals directed towards the tongue muscles and cause hanging tongue syndrome.
Pug’s canine teeth are more susceptible to diseases because they have shorter snouts. You must ensure proper dental hygiene. Bad breath is a sign of the progression of periodontal disease.
It is advisable to start dental care early and use dental chews. Once dogs reach an older age, they have accumulated bacteria in their gums that can leave them with diseased teeth. When examining your dog’s mouth, you should also check for broken teeth, as those can be very painful and house bacteria.
A malformed jaw might be the result of an abnormal jawbone, and it could lead to malocclusion. An abnormal jaw bone is a complication in the formation of the jaw in which either or both the shape and size of the jaw are altered.
Malocclusion is a major dental issue that can cause a pug to suffer from periodontal diseases. A malformed jaw in a pug puppy is a precursor to an adult pug with tongue-hanging issues. Your veterinarian should check to make sure your pug’s jaw is well-formed.
A larger tongue will require more space that may not be available in a pug’s mouth. A genetic condition known as macroglossia, which is when cells enlarge uncontrollably, could lead to an unusually large tongue.
Macroglossia may also be a progenitor of diseases such as hypothyroidism. A swollen tongue or bubblegum tongue could be caused by the papillomavirus. A swollen tongue should be checked out right away because it causes pain and trouble breathing.
The health of your pug should not be taken lightly. While a pug with its tongue out is usually something cute and natural, you should monitor your pug frequently. Your pug’s hanging tongue could also be a result of several health issues. Make an appointment with an animal veterinarian to check up on your dog if you notice anything out of the ordinary.