A Pug sticking its tongue out is an endearing and comical sight.
But why do Pugs’ tongues hang out and is it cause for concern?
It can be hard to know if your Pug’s cute tongue on display is something to be encouraged or something that should ring alarm bells.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide.
Why Do Pug’s Tongues Hang Out?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, as a brachycephalic breed of dog, Pugs are more prone to this curiosity than others.
Brachycephalic breeds have been genetically bred over time for their cute, squishy faces. But that level of cuteness does, unfortunately, come at some cost. Flat-faced breeds have an abnormal jawbone and petite oral cavity.
And guess what that means?
It means that tongues gotta’ have somewhere to go.
So, that’s one of the reasons why your Pug’s tongue might be dangling out. But the mystery continues.
In fact, there are many other causes for this amusing phenomenon. We’ll be discussing all the potential causes in just a moment.
But first, the all-important question.
Is it cause for concern?
My Pugs Tongues Hang Out: Should I Be Concerned?
Once again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. But there are tell-tale signs to look out for to help you differentiate between a harmless tongue dangle and a worrying hang out tongue.
So when is it normal, and when is it not?
If your Pug’s tongue hangs out pretty much all the time, there’s probably nothing to worry about.
Enjoy that cuteness overload and giggle to your heart’s content. Your Pug’s tongue is handing out simply because there’s no room in their mouth to house it. It’s simply something that comes with the breed type.
If your Pug has their tongue out more often than not, their tongue will become dry, cracked, or even painful. So make sure they have plenty of water to keep things moist.
It’s also wise to look out for any changes to the tongue’s texture and color. An exposed tongue is vulnerable to bacteria and infection.
You can assess the health of your Pug’s tongue by checking its color regularly. Different colors indicate different states of health.
- Pink/ black – normal (some dogs have naturally black tongues)
- Yellow/ orange – gastritis, gallbladder, or a liver malfunction
- Red-bacterial infection, fever, gallbladder malfunction, kidney malfunction, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, cancer, dehydration, vitamin deficiency.
- White or pale – leukemia, anemia, acute illness, blood loss, decreased immune function, malnutrition.
- Purple/ blue – heart disease, circulatory or respiratory problems, liver disease, organ distress, liver cancer, hepatitis.
Please note: If your Pug doesn’t usually stick out their tongue, but suddenly starts to do so, it’s important to take some time out to visit your vet. A change of behavior such as this could indicate an underlying health condition in need of medical attention.
Reasons Why Your Pug’s Tongue Sticks Out
So what are some classic causes of the tongue-sticking-out phenomenon? Apart from their rather tiny oral cavity, there are a few other factors that could be promoting this behavior.
Let’s take a look at the reasons.
1. Your Pug is feeling oh-so relaxed
Did you know that when a Pug is feeling relaxed, it’s not unusual for them to expose their tongue? Well, it’s true. A tongue sticking out might just mean your pooch is happy as Larry. A sleepy Pug can often be found curled up with its tongue out.
2. Your senior Pug is losing teeth
If your Pug is no spring chicken anymore, then chances are they’re losing some teeth. Dental issues and tooth loss are a recipe for tongues flapping about. So make sure you’re looking after your pooch’s dental hygiene regularly.
3. Your Pug is having trauma or injury
Hanging Tongue Syndrome can be brought on by a head injury- especially if your Pug suffers damage to their jaw.
4.Your Pug might have neurological disorders
Neurological disorders impact a dog’s motor functions, resulting in disorientation, poor movement, and possibly a displaced tongue as well.
5. They start a new medical regimen
The syndrome can also be brought on by new medications. If your Pug starts sticking out their tongue shortly after starting a new medical regimen, talk to your vet immediately.
6. They are cooling down
Sometimes when a Pug sticks out their tongue, it is its way of regulating its body temperature. When we get warm, we sweat. But when dogs get warm, they stick out their tongues and pant. This cools down the body by facilitating evaporation.
7. Hanging Tongue Syndrome
Sometimes an exposed tongue could be an indication of what’s known as Hanging Tongue Syndrome. Hanging tongue syndrome is a condition in which a dog cannot fully retract their tongue. In other words, their tongue doesn’t fit into their mouth cavity and their tongue permanently hangs out.
This is a condition that can affect any dog breed. Hanging Tongue Syndrome causes the tongue to stick out between the front teeth or hang limp outside of the mouth.
As a result, your dog’s tongue could become excessively dry, sore, and/or cracked. These dogs are also at increased risk of sunburn and injury to the tongue.
- Your Pug’s tongue sticks out constantly
- Bad breath
- Dry or thickened tongue
- Rough or sore tongue
- Swollen tongue
- Bleeding or cracking
And there are a number of possible causes for this condition.
Pugs Tongue Stick Out: Treatment Options
Treating Hanging Tongue Syndrome is a mixed bag, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Your vet will decide on a treatment plan based on the severity of your Pug’s condition and its initial cause.
There are numerous treatment options available including:
1. Maintenance treatments
For mild cases, maintenance treatments are your best bet. Using a doggie moisturizer for the tongue will help prevent any dryness and cracking. You can even make up a natural moisturizer at home using olive and water.
Additionally, dietary changes can also help prevent further damage to your Pug’s tongue. Your vet might recommend a diet of softer foods for this reason.
2. Go for a vet – medicine
If your Pug’s condition is already causing them mild discomfort, for example from a cracked or swollen tongue, go for a vet and they may require medication.
Pain relief can be used to reduce discomfort alongside antibiotics and antifungals to kill any infection or bacteria.
3. Go for a vet – surgery
In more severe cases, where the size of the tongue is so large that it inhibits eating and drinking surgery may be required. Surgery for macroglossia involves the surgical restriction of the tongue. This is called a glossectomy.
Find out more about Hanging Tongue Syndrome with this informative video.
There are lots of reasons why your Pug’s tongue might stick out and it might just be down to their genetics.
As long as you have ruled out any more sinister causes, it’s perfectly fine to embrace the tongue-filled cuteness.