If a dog leaves its mouth open but is not panting, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of dogs leave their mouth open when they’re happy and content. Leaving their mouths open is just one of those odd quirks some dogs have.
If you’ve ever visited a dog park, you know dogs have many different facial expressions and behaviors. Some dogs smile, others ignore everything, some wag their tails, others jump around everywhere, and some dogs avoid the other dogs as much as they can.
But, what if your dog’s mouth is open all the time even though they aren’t panting? Is your dog okay? Are they too hot? Are they enjoying themselves?
This occurrence doesn’t just take place in a dog park. Dogs leaving their mouths open and not panting can happen anywhere: at home, on a walk, or on the way to the veterinarian.
Many pet owners find it strange. What’s the point of a dog leaving its mouth open if it’s not to pant?
Common Reasons Dogs Leave Their Mouth Open
If your dog’s mouth is open and they aren’t panting, it’s not necessarily a cause for alarm. When dogs are content, they often leave their mouths open with their tongue hanging out. In other words, they are “smiling.” It’s more common for dogs to pant while they’re happy, but some dogs just “smile.”
However, you will need to take other behaviors into consideration. Is your dog displaying any signs of discomfort, like whining? Is your dog eating normally? Have any strange habits appeared, or has your dog abruptly stopped doing something that they usually do?
In most cases, a dog having its mouth open and not panting isn’t an issue, but if it’s accompanied by additional or changed behaviors, then it’s time to take your pet to the vet.
Let’s go over some common issues below. Before you diagnose any of these issues, talk with your veterinarian. It’s easy to read something, apply it to your dog, and get worried for no reason. So, before you search for remedies, have a chat with your veterinarian first and listen to their advice.
Here a couple of medical reasons that could cause this behavior. Of course, these are just suggestions. If your dog’s mouth is frequently open and they’re not panting, and their behavior has changed, one of these behaviors could explain one of these ailments.
Also, keep in mind that a dog leaving its mouth open and not panting isn’t a cause of concern. Sometimes dogs just do that. Remember to consult your veterinarian before you take any action.
1. Nasal Congestion
Just like humans, dogs can have allergies or get colds. Humans usually breathe through our noses, just like dogs, but when we can’t, we breathe through our mouths.
This could be what’s going on with your dog if no new behavior is observed.
If your dog’s allergies are bad, then your veterinarian will prescribe your dog strong antihistamines or instruct you on how to use human allergy medicine on your dog (yes, you can give Benadryl and other allergy medicines to your dog!).
Before you give your dog any medicine, double-check with your vet that that’s the actual reason your dog has been keeping its mouth open.
2. Mandibular Paralysis
Mandibular paralysis, also known as trigeminal neuritis, is the paralysis and inflammation of one of the jaw nerves in dogs.
This causes your dog to not be able to control some of their facial muscles. It’s unknown what causes mandibular paralysis, but it resolves by itself after a couple weeks.
Your veterinarian will give you anti-inflammatory medicine for your dog. This medicine will help, but you’ll be helping your dog eat and drink until the condition goes away.
3. Tooth pain
If your dog is having trouble eating or drinking, it may be because they have a tooth abscess or a tooth cavity and they’re keeping their mouth open to not disturb it.
If you think tooth pain may be the cause, take your dog to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination.
If your dog turns out to have an issue with one of their teeth, then your veterinarian will decide if the tooth should be extracted or if the tooth needs to be sealed.
Dogs Can Have Odd Quirks
As you can see, there are a few medical conditions that can cause your dog to keep its mouth open and not pant. However, in most cases, this behavior is due to an odd quirk. If you’re concerned, it’s smart to take your dog to the vet, but there’s a good chance you have nothing to worry about.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.