Chihuahua With Tongue Out (Causes and Fixes)

Is your little friend walking around with his tongue sticking out? It can be alarming if your Chihuahua doesn’t normally do this.

A Chihuahua with its tongue out can mean several things, ranging from non-medical issues like being excited to medical concerns like periodontal disease.

Chihuahua with tongue out
Chihuahua with tongue out (Causes and fixes)

As a fellow dog owner, I know how troubling it is when your dog’s behavior deviates from the norm. So, I’ll help you understand why your dog might have their tongue out and when you should take them to the vet.

Non-Medical Reasons Your Chihuahua Sticks Out Its Tongue

Here’s the good news: there are several perfectly normal reasons your dog might be sticking out their tongue, none of which require veterinary care. 

1. They’re Relaxed

If your Chihuahua is lounging on the couch with their tongue sticking out, it’s a good sign that they’re simply relaxed. Just like humans sometimes open their mouths when they sleep, Chihuahuas sometimes let loose with their tongues.

So, as long as your Chihuahua doesn’t appear stressed or in pain, you can take it as a compliment that they feel so relaxed at home that they let their tongue hang out.

The Fix

There’s nothing that needs fixing here. Continue doting on your Chihuahua and giving them the love that makes them feel comfortable enough to relax in this silly way.

2. They’re Hot

Dogs of all breeds stick their tongues out when they’re hot. That’s because panting is the most effective way for dogs to regulate their temperature.

Panting allows moisture to evaporate from your Chihuahua’s tongue, nasal passages, and lungs. The result is similar to the feeling you get when a breeze hits your sweaty skin—the air passing over moisture cools down your dog.

Here’s a fun fact you may not know: Chihuahuas don’t sweat a lot, but when they do, it’s mostly through their paw pads.

The Fix

Bring your Chihuahua to a cooler location if you believe they’re sticking their tongue out because they’re hot. While panting is healthy and normal, if your Chihuahua seems distressed with its panting, it could be on the brink of heat exhaustion.

In addition to getting your Chihuahua out of the sun, ensure they have access to plenty of water.

Chihuahua feeling sick in the car
Chihuahua is not feeling well inside the car. Heading to the vet clinic!

3. They’re Happy To See You

Excitement is a common reason that Chihuahuas stick their tongues out. Like with being hot, they do this because they’re panting.

However, panting doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is hot. Instead, they could be panting out of pure joy (and, perhaps, from the exertion of running around in circles in happiness).

The Fix

If your Chihuahua doesn’t appear stressed with their panting when they get excited, you don’t have to do anything. However, if they seem to have trouble catching their breath, you should calm them down.

Try taking them to a different room with their bed or picking them up and speaking to them in a soothing voice. It’s also vital that they have access to water. 

short hair chihuahua outdoors
A short haired Chihuahua

Medical Reasons Your Chihuahua Sticks Their Tongue Out

There are varying degrees of medical severity that could be behind your Chihuahua sticking out their tongue. You can sometimes resolve these problems with training, while other situations require veterinary intervention.

1. They’re Anxious

According to a study on dogs in Finland, more than 70% showed signs of anxiety in some way. So, the chances are high that your Chihuahua has some anxiety issues, which can range from being nervous when you leave to not liking strangers in the home.

One of the classic signs of anxiety is panting excessively for seemingly no reason. Other signs of anxiety include:

  • Shaking
  • Pacing
  • Barking
  • Drooling
  • Tearing things up in your house

The Fix

Crate training your Chihuahua can be an effective way to help them find a safe space in your home, particularly when you’re out of the house. You can also try using music therapy and ensuring they get exercise.

However, many people find that hiring a trainer is one of the most effective ways to support their Chihuahua in overcoming anxiety.

Chihuahua looks worried
Chihuahua looks worried with his tongue out.

2. Hanging Tongue Syndrome

Small dog breeds like Chihuahuas can develop a condition called hanging tongue syndrome. It can happen for various reasons, ranging from deformities to neurological problems to missing teeth.

Hanging tongue syndrome is a general term to describe the act of your Chihuahua sticking their tongue out. So, it’s a term you may hear people use for any of the specific conditions on this list.

The Fix

It isn’t possible to treat hanging tongue syndrome in many cases. It’s important to bring your Chihuahua to the veterinarian, though, so they can determine if there is a fix.

Chihuahua dressed tongue out
A tongue-out Chihuahua dressed nicely!

3. Mouth Injury

Imagine you have a welt or other painful feeling in your mouth. You’d move your tongue around to accommodate it, right? 

Chihuahuas do the same thing. And, given that they’re such a small breed, mouth injuries are relatively common. Some of the ways that your Chihuahua could develop a mouth injury include:

  • Scrape or puncture from chewing on something
  • Bee sting or other insect infliction
  • Something stuck in their mouth
  • Strained muscle jaws

The Fix

Even though a Chihuahua with its tongue out can look cute initially, it’s important to take a good look in its mouth to see if you can identify anything that’s physically harming them. If you find a wound that looks swollen or infected, take them to the vet.

Chihuahua open mouth
Chihuahua mouth wide opened.

4. Tooth Loss

Teeth serve, in part, to hold a Chihuahua’s tongue in place. So, if your Chihuahua suddenly loses one or more teeth, their tongue may be out because of this.

Just like humans, dogs can experience periodontal disease. Although tooth loss and the tongue hanging out are signs of gum disease, there are often signs of it occurring before this, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Inflamed gums
  • Red or bleeding gums
  • Loss of appetite

The Fix 

You’ll need to take your Chihuahua to the veterinarian, as they’ll need to perform a dental exam and cleaning. They’ll typically run bloodwork and put your dog under anesthesia. With any luck, your veterinarian will be able to treat periodontal disease. 

However, your Chihuahua will likely live the rest of its life with their tongue hanging out.

toothless Chihuahua
A toothless Chihuahua’s tongue hangs out.

5. Neurological Issue

In worst-case scenarios, your Chihuahua might have their tongue out because they’re experiencing a neurological issue. Seizures are the most common cause of this, and symptoms include:

  • Tongue chewing
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Muscle twitching
  • Collapsing

The Fix

It’s vital to take your Chihuahua to the vet immediately if you believe they’re experiencing a neurological issue like a seizure. Kidney disease, brain cancer, eating a poisonous substance, and anemia can all lead to this condition.

Chihuahua tongue is out
Chihuahua with a rolled tongue.

6. Physical Deformities

Just like humans, Chihuahuas sometimes arrive in the world with jaw deformities. Situations like an overbite, underbite, or any other irregular bite can cause them to walk around with their tongue hanging out.

In other cases, your Chihuahua might have had a long tongue since birth. After all, there’s not a lot of room to store it.

The Fix

Your veterinarian will be able to identify if your dog has an issue with their jaw bite. In some cases, they may perform surgery to fix the bite, helping your pooch live a life with their tongue in their mouth. 

Long tongues are common in Chihuahuas, and there usually isn’t anything veterinarians can do about it. You should ensure they always have access to water, though, to reduce the chances of your Chihuahua’s tongue drying out.

Chihuahua long tongue
Chihuahua with a long tongue.

Embracing Your Chihuahua

In some cases, the best thing you can do for a Chihuahua with its tongue out is to take them to the vet and then love them for this quirky feature.

Other times, there’s no medical reason at play for your Chihuahua’s tongue-hanging behavior.  Regardless, I encourage you to take your Chihuahua to the vet if you have any concerns about their tongue hanging out.