Dog Holding Mouth Slightly Open | Possible Reasons 2023

Dog Holding Mouth Slightly Open

About the Author: Dr. Finlay Tayler (DVM), a Harvard veterinary graduate, brings his five years of diverse experience to MyPetDoggie. Passionate about all animals, and a proud dog owner, he balances full-time veterinary practice with contributing expert insights to our content. Dr. Tayler’s love for the outdoors, cycling, and love for dogs enrich his holistic perspective on dogs care.

Ever wondered why your dog holding mouth slightly open? Well, this is a normal behavior of dogs when they are engaged in some activity. For example, if your dog is playing with other dogs, or interacting somehow with them it will hold its mouth slightly open.

A dog holding mouth slightly open is a sign of pleasure too, as it signals that the dog is enjoying the interaction with its owner. But what if your dog does this for an extended period of time? Do you need to be worried?

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If your dog always keeps its mouth open and does not seem to be getting anything in its mouth, it is likely that it has a dental problem. For example, if your dog is constantly dropping its lower jaw, it may be an indication of dental disease.

Apart from that dogs normally keep their mouth slightly open to pant. While dogs don’t sweat, their bodies are very efficient at cooling down quickly. They can cool themselves off with their tongues as well as through their paws.

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If you’re curious about this habit of dogs or just want to make sure that your pet doesn’t have any underlying medical cause, keep on reading this article:

Why is my dog holding mouth slightly open?

This is a natural part of the dog’s behavior, but it could also be a sign of anxiety. If your dog is constantly panting and opening its mouth, it could be a sign that it’s having a hard time relaxing. It might be helpful to try making small talk or giving your dog some attention.

Some dogs hold their mouths open for no reason at all, while others might do it in response to certain smells or tastes. The reason behind it can be panting as well. Don’t worry it’s completely normal if the dog is just trying to cool off.

If your dog is panting hard, it might be trying to open up its airways and allow more air to flow around it. This is a good thing, as it helps cool your dog off. Help them by providing some ice cubes or a cold treat.

Dog Holding Mouth Slightly Open
A dog sits in the ground

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Why do dogs normally keep their mouths open for ventilation purposes?

When dogs are overheated, they will pant to get cool. This is normal behavior for dogs. It’s important to let your dog’s natural behavior guide you when handling your dog’s panting. If your dog is panting a lot but isn’t getting any relief, you may have to work on other issues. But generally, it’s not a problem. It’s the natural design of their body.

Apart from that, a possible reason is that the dog has a dental problem that is causing the open mouth. You should try to identify the cause of the problem and correct it before the problem becomes worse.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you can’t fix a problem on your own, then you should ask for help from a professional. They will be able to correct the issue. 

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Possible reasons for the dog holding its mouth slightly open:

Most possible reasons that cause dogs to hold their mouth slightly open are following:

Trying to cool themselves:

Panting is normal and healthy. This can be done when they are in any warm, dry environment, but it is most common during exercise. It is a good idea for everyone to learn about how dogs cool themselves. This can be very helpful during hot weather, as it helps the body to get rid of excess heat through the skin.

They are having dental infection:

It is important to get your dog’s teeth checked out if it is suffering from any kind of infection or dental disease. If there is any indication that your dog has a mouth injury, you should take it to the veterinarian for a quick checkup. 

Feeling discomfort:

An open mouth is not necessarily a sign of pain, but it can be. Be sure to consult your veterinarian about any dental or health concerns your dog has. Many conditions are treatable with medication but can be cured with the help of a dental cleaning too.

It’s just their habit:

Keep in mind that when your dog is relaxed, his mouth is open and this is natural. It’s just a habit that your dog is used to. What you can do is don’t worry about it.

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How can you help your dog to overcome this behavior?

No such way can be applied to help them not do it, because as we discussed earlier they open their mouth to pant. And they need panting to cool of their bodies. Anyhow if opening their mouth is due to overheating.

The best thing you can do for your dog is to keep it hydrated and cool itself with water. You can benefit them from drinking more fluids because they can get dehydrated rather quickly if it is not drinking. 

In case your dog is having some infection, pain, or discomfort and hence dropping its jaw, it’s better to visit the vet. The vet can diagnose the issue and prescribe medications.

In most cases, your dog will be given an antibiotic to prevent an infection from developing in the first place. This can be a very effective preventative measure and will also clear up the issue if it is present.

The vet may recommend a treatment for the infection, or the dog may be on a preventative medication like antibiotics. You should also be informed about which medications your dog is allergic to, so the vet can choose the correct medication. 

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How to know if my dog is having a breathing problem?

The most common causes of breathing problems in dogs are blockage or weakness in the airways, such as from a tumor or foreign object in the airway. Other common problems that can cause breathing problems include allergies, blockage from food or moisture, narrowing of the airway from intestinal issues, infection, and tumors. Your veterinarian can determine if there is anything wrong with your dog’s airways and, if so, treat it. 

We’ve listed some causes below why your pet may have breathing issues:

  1. Heart disease can make it harder to get the needed amount of oxygen to your tissues and organs, causing breathing problems.
  2. A dog with pneumonia may have a high fever, listlessness, and be very narrow in the chest.
  3. Another problem causing breathing issues can be broken ribs, which further may result in the collapse of the lungs.
  4. This can be a sign of an allergic reaction too, causing the airways to swell. If your dog has allergies, it’s a good idea to try to identify the trigger.
  5. Breathing problems can also result from injuries or any kind of trauma.
  6. It can be due to asthma!
  7. Symptoms of asthma in dogs include restlessness, excitement, rapid breathing, and a rapid rise and fall of the abdomen. When diagnosed, dogs with asthma are treated with anti-inflammatory medications. 
  8. Fumes and smoke can cause irritation to the lining of the lungs, which can result in an asthma-like condition.
  9. Tumors, infections, or foreign bodies can cause obstruction in the airways. They may be treatable with veterinary aid.

Your veterinarian will want to rule out any medical problems that might be contributing to your dog’s breathing problems and will want to examine your dog thoroughly. So, following your concerns about your friend’s discomfort, do visit your vet.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

how to help my dog to get cooled down?

If your dog is panting heavily and its tongue is sticking out, it is probably due to the fact that it is overheating. The only thing that can be done is to keep the dog nice and cool with plenty of water and shade. If this is not the issue, you can take the dog to the vet.

What should you do if you think your dog might have asthma?

A dog with asthma can suffer from attacks of shortness of breath, increased production of mucus, and difficulty breathing on its own. The dog may also experience an accumulation of air in its lungs that can cause difficulty breathing. It’s best to visit the vet.

How to know if my dog has an obstruction in its airway?

It may sound obvious, but it is important to schedule an appointment. Your vet would be able to properly examine and recommend needed treatments.

What to do if my dog is having trouble breathing?

Visit your vet without thinking twice. Depending on the cause of your dog’s breathing trouble, your veterinarian may prescribe medication. Your dog might also have a cold or a sinus infection. If it has either of these, it should be treated as quickly as possible.


The reason behind a dog holding mouth slightly open varies. The reason can be that your dog is panting to cool off their body or it’s just a response to some sweet smell. They may be excited as well. Keep in mind that these signs don’t necessarily mean that your dog is sick.

But if there is consistency in the habit without no apparent reason and it makes you have deep concerns regarding your pet’s health then you should make a visit to the vet.

Your vet will be able to perform a complete physical exam and conduct tests if needed to rule out any potential cause of your dog’s behavior problems.

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