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9 Reasons Why Your Chihuahua’s Tongue Is Sticking Out

Why does my chihuahuas tongue stick out

Chihuahuas who are sticking out their tongues can be very cute.

But this behavior could also be concerning if you don’t know the reasons behind it.

Don’t worry. Here you’ll discover:

Why does my Chihuahua’s tongue stick out?

Chihuahuas stick out their tongues for many reasons, such as: cooling off, showing excitement, and relaxing. It can also indicate health-related reasons, such as: dehydration, Hanging Tongue Syndrome, missing teeth, injuries, deformities, or neurological problems.

Let’s talk about the most common reasons in detail below…

9 reasons your Chihuahua’s tongue sticks out

#1: Cooling off

Being covered in fur gets hot! 

Sticking their tongues out is an easy way for Chihuahuas to cool down. 

Fun fact: Dogs don’t sweat the same way humans do to cool down. Instead, they pant to bring air and moisture into their mouths.  

Heavy or relentless panting can indicate overheating or other medical issues. So, pay attention to your Chi’s panting.

Here are three ideas to help keep your Chi cool:

  • Purchase an auto-fill water bowl.
  • Set up a fan near their crate or bed, or wherever they hang out at. 
  • Make a small pool out of a container for them to splash around in.

#2: Relaxation

Have you ever noticed your Chi stick their tongue out while sleeping?

That is a sign of relaxation!

It is a cute and funny moment, and it also shows your dog’s trust in you.

Being able to relax around people is important for Chihuahuas.

Your Chi needs their beauty sleep, too.

#3: Excitement 

It’s no secret:

Chihuahuas are excitable. They love to play. 

Your Chi’s panting is not only to cool off. It also shows how much fun they’re having!

They may be full of energy, but their small bodies can only do so much. 

If the panting becomes relentless, they may be overexerting themselves.

Luckily, they are so light you can pick them up and carry them while they calm down. Or, if your Chi is the diva type, you can always carry them home.  

Stress or anxiety

When discussing excited Chihuahuas, it can be easy to mistake stress for excitement. High energy in your Chihuahua can also lead to them being easily stressed or anxious. 

Sticking out their tongue can be a sign of stress as well as excitement. Identifying which is the cause is key.

Here are a few other signs of stress to watch out for:

  • Hiding.
  • Pacing.
  • Shaking.
  • Excessive yawning or licking.

A major cause of stress in dogs is lack of activity or exercise. So, make sure that your Chi gets enough exercise on a daily basis.

#4: Dehydration

Your Chi may be sticking their tongue out due to dehydration.

Dogs do this because their bodies are not producing enough moisture. They put their tongues out to try to absorb moisture in the air.

Dehydration is a lack of water intake. It can become very serious if left untreated. 

Other symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Extreme panting.
  • Dry nose and gums.

Causes of dehydration can vary. According to the American Kennel Club, causes can include:

  • Fever.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Heatstroke.
  • Kidney Disease.

Making sure your Chi is drinking adequate water is the best way to prevent dehydration. AKC states:

“As a general rule, dogs require at least one ounce of water per day for each pound of body weight.”

American Kennel Club

#5: Hanging Tongue Syndrome

Hanging Tongue Syndrome is an inability to return the tongue to the mouth. If left untreated it can result in dehydration and infection. 


It can be scary for your dog to have a medical condition, but don’t fret! The best thing you can do for your Chi is to understand what is happening to them.

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Dry tongue.
  • Bad breath.
  • Swollen tongue.
  • Bleeding or cracking of tongue or mouth.

This condition can have many causes, which we will cover further down.

These include:

  • Injury.
  • Deformity.
  • Missing teeth.
  • Neurological problems.

Chihuahuas and other toy breeds are prone to this condition…

It is often non-reversible. 

Luckily, it is easily treated and managed. Daily moisturizing and monitoring of the tongue are a must. 

If you believe your Chi suffers from Hanging Tongue Syndrome, or may be developing it, contact your veterinarian immediately. 


This is not a fatal condition. With the right treatment, it can be just another lovable quirk to your Chi. 

Note: #6 – #9 can cause Hanging Tongue Syndrome if left unaddressed. 

#6: Missing teeth

So your Chi’s tongue is hanging out due to missing teeth.

It is a funny mental image, undoubtedly. However, dental and gum disease in Chihuahua’s is no laughing matter. 

Gum disease is common in Chihuahuas. This is because they have smaller mouths and jaws, making it easier for the disease to spread. 

Tooth loss is one of the biggest red flags that your Chi has a mouth disease. 

Other symptoms can include:

  • Bad breath.
  • Pain when eating.
  • Teeth discoloration.
  • Bumps in the mouth.
  • Bleeding mouth or gums.
  • Drooling or dropping food.

Daily preventative measures are a must. Even if your Chi shows no symptoms, they could still be developing a mouth disease. 

Here are 5 preventative measures to make regular practices in your Chi care routine:

  1. Brush your dog’s teeth.
  2. Use a trusted dog food brand.
  3. Use teeth-friendly treats and toys
  4. Check your Chi’s teeth and gums daily.
  5. Visit your vet and have dental checkups regularly. 

If you’ve never brushed a dog’s teeth before, it can seem awkward at first.

Here is a step by step video guide on how to brush your Chihuahua’s teeth.

#7: Injuries

As with all dog behaviors, there’s always an element of communication to your dog’s action.

Your Chihuahua may be sticking their tongue out to let you know of an injury. 

Injury to the mouth can happen easily for your Chi. Chihuahuas have more fragile jaws compared to other breeds. 

Sticking out their tongue is one way to show that something is uncomfortable in their mouth. This behavior may be paired with whining, cowering from touch, or not eating. 

Some common injuries include:

  • Animal or bug bites.
  • Objects stuck in the mouth.
  • Cuts from sharp toys or objects.
  • Strains from playing or chewing.

With Chihuahuas in particular, fractures can also occur somewhat easily.

If your Chi is acting sensitive or protective of their mouth, they may have suffered an injury. 

If you believe your Chihuahua has experienced a mouth injury, call or visit your veterinarian immediately. 

#8: Deformities

There are a few types of deformities that can cause your Chihuahua to stick out their tongue.

Underbite or overbite

Underbites are more common than overbites in Chihuahuas. Both can cause the tongue to stick out. 

Sometimes, irregular bites can cause health problems. 

Dogs’ mouths have arches that naturally self-clean. This self-cleaning may not work in dogs with irregular bites.

Without the self-cleaning, infection or inflammation can occur.

If you are concerned about your Chi’s bite, consult with a vet who does dental procedures.

Some doggie orthopedics can even fix the bite to an even bite!

Long tongue

Chihuahua Long Tongue

Chihuahuas can be born with pretty long tongues. Their mouths, however, are typically pretty small.

While not a dangerous deformity, unusually long tongues do occur in Chihuahuas. 

Because their mouths are so small, it makes holding that tongue in difficult. Thus, the tongue sticks out.

There’s not too much to be concerned about if your Chi has a long tongue.

They may develop Hanging Tongue Syndrome, but as we discussed it is very manageable. 

A long tongue will be prone to drying out, however. Make sure if your Chi’s tongue is constantly sticking out that it stays moisturized. 

#9: Neurological problems

The most common neurological problem for Chihuahuas is seizures.

Sticking out their tongue is most likely a sign a seizure has already happened. 

There are some key symptoms to watch for that indicate seizures:

  • Tongue chewing.
  • Unresponsiveness.
  • Twitching and jerking.
  • Foaming at the mouth.
  • Loss of bladder control.
  • Aimless pacing or whining.
  • Short temper or aggression.

If you notice these symptoms begin, immediately take your Chihuahua to an emergency vet. If you cannot make it to the vet, make sure to:

  • Remove other pets from the area.
  • Once able, bring you Chi to the vet.
  • Remove any loud noises or bright lights. 
  • Put your Chi in a safe position, preferably surrounded by cushions, blankets, or towels.

Final Thoughts

Sticking their tongue out is pretty normal for Chihuahuas. Nonetheless, you should always take their safety and health into consideration. 

Moral of the story, if you are afraid for your Chi’s well being: Take them to the vet!