Have you noticed all the pictures of dogs with their tongues hanging out that are plastered all over Facebook often under the caption Tongue Out Tuesday? There certainly are some cute ones out there. There was one in particular that made me pause for a second and ask myself, “Just why do dogs stick their tongues out?” I know Jellybean does it quite often. Of course I’ve caught several adorable pictures just at the right moment with my ever ready Smart Phone. I was curious enough to do a little research and here is what I found. There are actually some very good reasons for this canine phenomenon;
- A dog with its tongue hanging out could simply mean that the pup is enjoying total relaxation. Just let the good times roll!
- Dogs also use the tongue as a way to cool down. They do not sweat like their two-legged counterparts. Instead, they pant, which in turn allows moisture to evaporate off the tongue as it hangs out. The actual term for this is “thermoregulation.” Now there’s a word of the day for you!
- A tongue hanging out could also mean you are in for some good old fashioned slobbery dog kisses. Yay! Who doesn’t love them?
- A dog that has its tongue out excessively, or for no apparent reason, could actually have a medical problem that requires a visit to the vet. An example of this would be that your dog is taking a new medication and you notice that its tongue is out even when afore mentioned reasons do not apply. This could signal an allergy to the medication.
- There is also a condition known as “hanging tongue syndrome” in which the tongue hangs out of the mouth at all times. In this case, the dog has the inability to pull it back in, as there is a lack of muscle control. What a challenge this must be for the pup, as it could potentially impact eating and drinking.
Of course I would be remiss for writing a blog without including pictures of my silly little Jellybean participating in Tongue Out Tuesday. Here are a few of my favorites, although I am not sure they all fit into what would be considered the “norm” as discussed above. Well, Jellybean has always marched to the tune of her own dog bone, if you know what I mean. Enjoy!
Beverly Stiffler Smith