Chihuahuas are a small bundle of joy whose antics never cease to amuse their owners. A common habit among Chihuahuas is sticking their tongue out. It may look adorable but is sometimes a cause for concern among first-time pet parents. Fortunately, a Chihuahua sticking its tongue out is rarely a cause for concern.
This habit is quite common among various small breeds. There are many reasons your pet could be sticking their tongue out, but you will also notice other signs if it is due to a health concern.
Why Do Chihuahuas Stick Their Tongues Out?
All dogs stick their tongue out from time to time.
A Chihuahua could stick its tongue out to cool off or because of excitement. However, there are times when this behavior can also indicate health issues such as Hanging Tongue Syndrome, dehydration, dental problems, and neurological concerns.
1. Temperature Regulation
Being hot is the most common reason your Chihuahua sticks its tongue out. Dogs don’t sweat the same way we do because their sweat glands are mainly present on their paw pads and noses. The sweat glands over a dog’s body primarily secrete pheromones instead of sweat. Hence, dogs rely on panting rather than sweating to stay cool. When your Chihuahua sticks her tongue out, heat releases from the blood vessels due to saliva evaporation.
You might even notice your Chihuahua sleeping with her tongue out during summer to keep cool as she sleeps. You can purchase a small fan and keep it near your dog’s bed or crate to help them cool down. If your dog is panting excessively, you should consult your veterinarian.
A relaxed dog is more likely to have its mouth open, so its tongue may hang out. A Chihuahua with nothing to worry about can focus on being comfortable. And many times, comfort means being cool. And there’s nothing cooler than a relaxed Chihuahua, eyes closed, tongue hanging out, enjoying the breeze, and just being cool.
Chihuahuas are high-energy dogs that are easily excited, especially when their owners shower them with love and attention.
When your Chihuahua is excited, its heart rate increases, causing it to pant. A Chihuahua panting because of excitement is nothing to worry over. However, they are small dogs, so don’t encourage them to over-exert themselves.
4. Stress and Anxiety
Similar to us, dogs express their anxiety in a variety of ways. We show signs of stress in certain situations, and so do our dogs. Most all dogs will stick their tongue out when stressed or anxious. Chihuahuas are tiny dogs who are prone to stress and anxiety. Many things can stress your pet out, including other dogs, children, training sessions, and exposure to too many unfamiliar people at once.
It is also important to note that Chihuahuas are naturally anxious dogs. Being high-strung isn’t necessarily bad because the Chihuahua’s watchful and alert nature makes them great watchdogs.
However, a Chihuahua can become over-stressed about protecting its humans. If your Chihuahua experiences stress and anxiety often, consult an animal behaviorist. When your Chihuahua is stressed or anxious, you can identify it through other signs. A stressed Chihuahua won’t just stick her tongue out but also pace, hide, or shake. If your Chihuahua is stressed, do your best to remove it from the stressful situation.
Your Chihuahua could also be sticking her tongue out because she is dehydrated. If her body doesn’t have enough moisture, she might stick her tongue out to absorb moisture from the air. In this case, just sticking her tongue out isn’t enough to determine if your pet is dehydrated. You will also notice signs such as lethargy, excessive panting, and loss of appetite. Small dogs like the Chihuahua need to drink enough water to prevent dehydration. Health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, heatstroke, and kidney disease can put them at risk for dehydration.
Generally, drinking water won’t be enough if your Chihuahua is severely dehydrated. You will need to visit your veterinarian so she can receive fluids and electrolytes intravenously.
6. Medication Changes
When you start taking a different medication, you will probably notice that your mouth feels dry or different. The same applies to your Chihuahua. If your pet has started a new medication or changed its previous medication, it could cause its tongue to become dry. Consult your veterinarian for detailed information about what to expect due to medication changes. If your Chihuahua is on any medicines that can cause mouth dryness, make sure she drinks enough water. If severe dryness occurs, this is how you should manage it.
7. Hanging Tongue Syndrome
A Chihuahua with its tongue sticking out is not something unusual. However, some dogs may have difficulty controlling their tongue. They may be unable to partially or fully put their tongue back in their mouth. If your Chihuahua’s tongue hangs out constantly, she might have Hanging Tongue Syndrome. This condition occurs due to various reasons such as congenital defects, neurological issues, injuries, and dental problems.
It can lead to dehydration and infections if left untreated. Since the tongue is constantly out of the mouth, it can become dry and cracked. Pets suffering from Hanging Tongue Syndrome experience difficulties eating and grooming themselves. Unfortunately, toy breeds are prone to this condition. If your pet has Hanging Tongue Syndrome, you will notice symptoms such as bad breath, dry tongue, and thickening of the tongue.
While there is no way to prevent the condition, it can be easy to manage depending upon the severity. Dogs with severe Hanging Tongue Syndrome will need assistance with eating, drinking, and cleaning themselves. Your veterinarian can provide you with more information about managing the condition.
Some deformities can also cause your Chihuahua to stick her tongue out all the time. They can be present at birth or develop due to injuries.
Macroglossia is a rare condition where the tongue is abnormally large. As a result, it can be difficult for a dog to keep the tongue inside the mouth. A Chihuahua suffering from Macroglossia will constantly have her tongue out of her mouth and experience breathing difficulties. It is rare for dogs to suffer from Macroglossia, but Chihuahuas can suffer from pseudo-Macroglossia. With such a small face, an affected Chihuahua’s tongue might constantly protrude from its mouth.
10. Poor Bite
Poor bite is a dental condition that can manifest as overbite or underbite. An underbite is more common in Chihuahuas, where the lower set of teeth protrudes outward since the upper jaw is shorter than the lower one, causing the tongue to stick out.
11. Dental Issues
Regularly cleaning your Chihuahua’s teeth is of the utmost importance. Plaque can build up over your dog’s teeth and gums without regular cleaning leading to cavities, infections, and possibly tooth loss. Check your Chihuahua’s gums and teeth to ensure she is not sticking her tongue out due to a dental problem. Teeth problems can also affect your dog’s appetite. Chihuahuas are small dogs who need food every couple of hours to prevent hypoglycemia.
Dogs tend to explore the world with their mouths. Since this is a common behavior, they are bound to injure their mouth sooner or later. If your Chihuahua is sticking her tongue out more than usual, make sure she doesn’t have something stuck in her mouth. Chihuahuas also have more fragile jaws than other breeds, which are easily injured.
Chihuahuas stick their tongue for a multitude of reasons. This behavior is normal in most situations but could also indicate an underlying health issue. If you notice your pet sticking her tongue out more than usual, along with other symptoms, consult your veterinarian.