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Why Does My Dog’s Tongue Stick Out?

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Does your dog’s tongue stick out most of the time (or all of the time)?  It seems to be quite common in Chihuahuas along with other small breeds. We even have a gallery post on cute chihuahuas with tongues out. I can’t deny it is quite cute to see their cute little tongues peeking out.

fawn and white chihuahua's face with tongue out

But did you ever wonder why it happens? After all, you don’t see people walking around with their tongues hanging out (for the most part anyway).

There are lots of reasons it could happen, including:

  • An overbite or under-bite.
  • Missing teeth.
  • Certain medications.
  • Injury to the mouth.
  • Neurological problems.
  • Deformities of the face or jaw .
  • Some dogs stick their tongue out when they are very relaxed or sleeping.

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Sleeping Chihuahua with tongue hanging out

Most dogs only stick their tongues out occasionally but can pull them back in whenever they want to. The dogs who can’t pull their tongue all the way back in may have a condition called Hanging Tongue Syndrome.

Hanging tongue syndrome can become painful to the dog. This is because the tongue is always hanging out of the mouth and is not getting the natural moisture from the mouth so it dries out and cracks. Tongues are very sensitive and this can become quite uncomfortable for the dog. They can also develop an infection and even frostbite (if left outside too long in cold weather) on their tongues.

hanging tongue syndrome

If your dog has this condition, keep an eye out for any swelling, bleeding, or cracking of their tongue, and seek medical help if you notice these things.

So does your Chihuahua’s tongue hang out?  My 4 current pups are too young to deal with this but my previous chi Kilo’s tongue did some of the time since she was missing a few teeth but she was still able to pull it back in.

Cathy signature Chi

woman kneeling in front of a dog outside in snow

Paula Simons


This article has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Paula Simons DVM. You can read more about her on our About page.

Michelle in Huntington Beach, CA

Monday 17th of October 2022

My lil rescue Chihuahua Blondie, has had 2 dental cleanings at the vets, with 6 in total extractions of loose or rotted teeth. Now, since the second dental her tongue is out to the left 24/7 and does not seem to go over to the right ? When I mentioned it to the Vet, he replies “she can move it to the right if she wants to” ?!? Could this be an issue ? Anyone else experienced this ? Before she would swirl her tongue from one side to the other, now it seems it’s just stuck on one side. Love to hear any other Chi owners take on this.


Tuesday 18th of October 2022

It sounds like she may have had some nerve damage or maybe it's just more comfortable for her on that side. It is common for them to hang it out on one particular side.


Friday 26th of August 2022

You are in my prayers. Hope the doctors can give you all the help they can to make you well. My sister's friend has the same. I'm a strong believer in prayer.



Friday 26th of August 2022

Thank you Sharon!


Friday 5th of March 2021

Our Mackie sticks his tongue out all the time. I always thought it was something he did because he felt safe and happy. He started doing it about a month after we got him to foster. Yes we're foster failures!


Saturday 6th of March 2021

LOL, I'm glad you are foster failures!

Alpianshutsa Exotlopnari

Thursday 4th of March 2021

Aurora is fine,she can retract her tongue,but at the funniest moments she sticks her tongue out at me and I laugh


Sunday 22nd of November 2020

My dog Toby is a 14-year-old Australian Shepherd within the last six months he’s began to have his tongue sticking out I feel it might be his teeth is it possible it could be something more critical?


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

It's possible Jeff and he should be checked out by a vet. Most likely it is his teeth though.