Why Do Bulldogs Stick Their Tongues Out?

Why do Bulldogs stick their tongues out? Your pet will usually do this to cool itself on a hot day. Since canines don’t sweat like we do, they pant to regulate their body temperature.

However, a sticking tongue might also indicate brachycephalic airway syndrome and other health problems. In this post, I discussed these possibilities, so you’ll know what to do.

Why Do Bulldogs Stick Their Tongues Out?

1. Overheating

why do Bulldogs stick their tongues out

The most common reason why Bulldogs stick their tongues out is to cool down. As deep-chested and flat-nosed dogs, they are more prone to overheating than other breeds.

The following are the signs of overheating in English Bulldogs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Hanging the tongue out
  • Stumbling or weakness
  • Dark red or bright red gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Take note that overheating in dogs is a serious condition and must be addressed the soonest. If you notice your dog sticking its tongue out on a hot day, you should take it to a shaded spot to fight the onset of heat exhaustion.

You should give your dog small amounts of water at a time to help it cool down. It’s not a good idea to rush your overheating Bulldog in an air-conditioned room as the sudden change in temperature might cause shock.

To avoid overheating, you should not take your Bulldog outdoors on a very hot day. It’s best to schedule daily walks at dawn or dusk.

2. Brachycephalic airway syndrome

Brachycephalic airway syndrome is an umbrella term for abnormalities in the upper airway of dogs. It can be stenotic nares, hypoplastic trachea, elongated soft palate, and more.

Most of these conditions will make it hard for your dog to breathe, thus the tendency to breathe through their mouths with tongues hanging out.

The following are signs that an English Bulldog has brachycephalic airway syndrome:

  • Noisy breathing
  • Gagging when eating
  • Loud snoring
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting after rigorous physical exertion

Veterinarians say that Bulldogs with this condition often have narrower airways more suitable for smaller breeds.

Surgical treatments are often the permanent cure for this condition. However, not all English Bulldogs are good candidates for the surgical procedure. This is because Bulldogs tend to have a higher risk when it comes to anesthetization.

The good news is that many cases of brachycephalic airway syndrome can be managed with lifestyle changes. You should avoid subjecting your Bulldog to strenuous activities and very hot temperatures. Too much barking should also be discouraged because it will make it harder for your Bulldog to take air in.

3. Hanging tongue syndrome

Hanging tongue syndrome in Bulldogs can be due to congenital defects, neurological damage, or other conditions. When this happens, your Bulldog will keep sticking its tongue out all the time.

At first, this doesn’t seem to be a big problem. However, the exposure to air will dry your Bulldog’s tongue, which can lead to injuries and a slew of infection.

Aside from that, Bulldogs with this syndrome will find it hard to eat or clean themselves. In some cases, their sticking tongues are at risk of sunburn and even frostbite.

The Bulldog’s tongue will also thicken over time, which will make it more uncomfortable. It’s important to bring your dog to the vet if you notice that it’s not retracting its tongue for long.

Moreover, the treatment for hanging tongue syndrome differs based on what caused it. If your Bulldog has a neurological or congenital defect, the vet will focus on managing the condition.

In general, you’d have to switch your dog to wet food while keeping its sticking tongue moisturized.

However, if the reason behind the condition is macroglossia or overly large tongues, the vet can resection the tongue. This will allow your dog to retract the remaining length or minimize its external exposure.

4. New medication

In some cases, English Bulldogs will stick their tongues out when given a new medication. It’s important to consult the vet to know if this is a normal reaction or if your dog needs to be switched to an alternative drug.

Also, if the hanging tongue is accompanied by drooling, panting, or diarrhea, you should bring your dog to the vet immediately. Your English Bulldog might be suffering from adverse reactions, which can be potentially life-threatening. 

5. Sleeping or relaxing

On a less serious note, your English Bulldog may be just fully relaxed. If your dog hangs its tongue in short periods without panting, it’s a sign of incredible relaxation. It’s a good thing and not a cause of concern.

Also, you may notice that your Bulldog sticks its tongue more often while sleeping. This is considered normal as long as your pet can retract it upon waking up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does my dog keep sticking his tongue out and licking?

A: Excessive licking is a sign of stress among dogs. By sticking its tongue out and licking, your dog can soothe itself since the behavior releases endorphins in the brain. Over time, licking while sticking its tongue out can be a habitual response of your pet whenever it’s anxious or stressed.

Q: Why does my dog flick its tongue in the air constantly?

A: Licking the air can be your dog’s way of communicating that he’s already hungry. However, it’s also possible that your Bulldog has a sore tooth or gastrointestinal problems. It’s best to check your pet’s body to see what might be triggering the behavior.

Q: Why is my Bulldog’s tongue cracking?

A: A cracking dog tongue is an indication that it’s been sticking out for long. Exposure to air dries the dog’s tongue, which makes it chapped, cracked, and prone to injuries. You should consult the vet to find the best solution for your dog.

Final words

Why do Bulldogs stick their tongues out? It can be anything from overheating, brachycephalic airway syndrome, or hanging tongue syndrome. You should also rule out the possibility of medication side effects.

If you’re worried, you can always consult with your dog’s vet. This way, your dog will be diagnosed and treated properly if need be.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!