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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.

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Jeff

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?

Cathy

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.

Yzurc

Saturday 8th of June 2019

I’ve noticed that my daisy constantly has her tongue out. Realized that she missing a good portion of teeth. I went to touch her tongue to see if it was dry. She seemed un other by it but as soon as I went for her tongue it magically went back into her mouth. Now I’m really stressing about it . An been putting olive oil and making sure she drinks water.

Cathy

Saturday 8th of June 2019

It doesn't seem to bother most dogs so I wouldn't stress about it. Just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get cracked.

MS

Thursday 28th of March 2019

Ugh... my chi's-- both stick their tongue out at me :) But seriously, I feel awful because it is a result of both their bottom teeth (if you could call a tooth the size of a grain of sand a tooth) having been removed. I feel guilty as these will be my only kids. But, they hate being poked and prodded and nothing I've done has become routine; they shudder when they see the nail clippers. They're not aggressive whatsoever, just 'freaking out and shouting obscenities' as far as I can tell. They are my favorite breed; and I got lucky to have the most quiet, snuggly, non-aggressive, lap dogs that love to kiss (including my eyes--eek).

Anyhow this is good info, thank you, and I'll keep watch as we all continue into our Golden years, tongue in or out.

Cathy

Thursday 28th of March 2019

I laughed when you said the shout obscenities at you. Don't feel guilty. Chis tend to have dental issues.

Roger

Friday 3rd of November 2017

My chi Mr taco just started sticking the tip of his tongue out he seems to only do it when he getting loved on I wondered if it was a sign of him getting older have you heard that before

Monday 30th of September 2019

His gums you need to check his gums and teeth

Cathy

Friday 3rd of November 2017

Yes some chis do that because as they get older their teeth align up a little differently. It's usually nothing to worry about.

Levi

Thursday 9th of March 2017

My dog always has her tongue out! It is so cute and it doesn't seem to bother her! When I touch it, she always pulls it back in, but it gets dry very quickly and it seems she "forgets" to put it in her mouth.

kilosmom

Thursday 9th of March 2017

It's good though that she can put it back in when she wants