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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, DVM

This post has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Paula Simons DVM. Find out more about Dr. Simons on our About page.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.