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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.

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All dogs stick their tongues out some of the time and this is normal.  It helps them to cool down. When a dog pants, moisture is created by their breath which evaporates and cools the tongue down, which cools the blood down, thereby cooling their entire body down.

Some dogs stick their tongue out when they are very relaxed or sleeping.

Sleeping Chihuahua with tongue hanging out

Most dogs only stick their tongues out occasionally but can pull it 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 and 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 3 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


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