Chihuahuas are spunky little dogs that are adorable, loving, and can be downright funny. They’re the textbook definition of “small dog syndrome” with their big attitudes that you’d think would be in a 110+ pound dog rather than a dog that weighs less than 10 pounds.
Seeing your spunky pooch with his tongue hanging out the side frequently may make you laugh and flood your social media page with pictures of him, but there may be a more serious reason behind this behavior.
Should you worry about such behavior?
While it can be a hilarious and adorable act from your best pal, it could be a sign of something more serious. But don’t panic and think the worse! Watch out for your canine companion and make notes of any other strange behaviors or possible symptoms, and consult with your veterinarian.
While we’re not trained professionals, this can be a guide to help you keep your furry pal healthy, and become more knowledgeable about the possible reasons behind his behaviors. Many reasons are just signs you need to help your pupper quickly, and the problem is not life-threatening.
Your Pup is too Hot
An overheating dog will stick their tongue out and pant heavily, using its lungs and tongue to circulate hot air out of their bodies. Its lungs will force out hot and moist air, and draw in cooler air which will absorb more heat from the body. A dog’s tongue will act as a radiator as warm blood pumps through their tongue and the heat radiates off, allowing them to cool their body quickly by dropping the temperature of their blood. Think of their tongue as a portable oil radiator heater- it’s essentially the same function!
How to Keep your dog cool
Keeping your furry pals cool is important, especially if you live in hot and humid climates like Florida and Hawaii, or hot arid locations like Texas and Arizona. Keeping plenty of cool drinking water nearby will help your dog and provide them with a cooler place to lay down.
If your dog loves water, you can make them their pool with a hard plastic kiddie pool and cold water- and you can even throw in some ice to keep the water cold for a longer time. A fan pointed at their favorite napping spot or into their crate will work to keep the cooler air circulating and pull the heat away from their bodies.
Aside from a vigorously wagging tail, and entire rear end for some pups, the hanging tongue can be your chi’s way of showing their excitement in certain situations. Rather than wagging their tail or making some sort of noise, their hanging tongue can indicate their level of excitement at that moment and is nothing to worry about unless they start panting more heavily than they should, which could lead to over-exhaustion and start causing them to overheat.
If a dog gets too amped up on excitement, they can easily start overheating and end up exhausting themselves. Thankfully, unlike larger breeds, you can just pick up your excited Chihuahua and remove them from the commotion so they can calm back down, or just take them home if they’re the overzealous and relentless type.
Anxious and Stressed out Doggo
Stress and anxiety can make your dog pant and hang its tongue out excessively. It could be from something going on around them, or even a specific object like a vacuum cleaner running, certain noises, smells, or areas in general, so it’s best to limit the exposure to those stressors as much as possible before your chi gets overly stressed out and anxious.
Removing your Chi from a stressful environment is better for their health overall, just as it is for us. Too much stress can cause some other problems in your dog. By keeping an eye on them when in stress-inducing situations for them, you can monitor their stress levels and remove the stressors, or before they get overwhelmed.
Your Pup doesn’t feel good
Just like when we feel under the weather, dogs can express their discomfort and illness in the same ways, one of which can be by a hanging tongue.
Some dogs may not show the usual signs that immediately signal in our brains that “something is wrong” and tongue hanging is one of those behaviors that can be deceiving, especially if it’s a behavior they do on occasion or normally.
If tongue hanging is uncommon behavior for your chihuahua outside of the circumstances of being hot or tired from heat and activity, then it’s best to get them checked out by your veterinarian to make sure they’re not catching anything or having a reaction to something they’ve come in contact with.
They’re Just Goofballs
All pets are unique in their ways. Some are just more eccentric than others and are adequately titled “Goofballs” because of their goofy behaviors and personalities.
If your pup is usually seen with a flopped-out tongue in chill situations around the house or while sleeping, then just snap those pics and plaster them on your social media page to give everyone a chuckle. Everyone loves a derpy silly pooch!
Small dogs are usually prone to some defects that can cause problems later in life. One such is Hanging tongue syndrome, but this condition is not life-threatening as long as proper care is given. If you have concerns, you should speak with your veterinarian about symptoms and treatment for your furry pal.
Overbites and underbites can also cause your chi’s tongue to hang out, but these are not life-threatening either as long as you keep a water source available and monitor their dental health closely. Missing teeth can also cause the tongue to hang out, especially in older dogs.
A long tongue that doesn’t fit their small mouths is also why their tongue hangs out. A longer than normal tongue can cause your pet to let their tongue hang out more, just imagine them with white and black face paint and black punk rock clothes like KISS and you’ve got yourself the most hardcore pup on the block!
They may be Dehydrated
Dehydration is serious no matter the species and needs to be corrected and prevented. But dehydration doesn’t just come from being out in the heat and running around. It can come from illnesses and diseases such as diabetes, cancers, and kidney disease.
Making sure there’s a fresh and clean water dish within reach of your chihuahua can prevent dehydration, but if you notice that your little pal drinks excessive amounts of water and needs to do business just as frequently, you should consult with your veterinarian to make sure your pal is healthy and taken care of.
It’s a sign of possible Neurological problems
Seizures are the most common neurological problem for dogs and are not pleasant for anyone, human and canine alike. If you come home to your pet displaying unusual behavior, along with their tongue hanging out, it could be a sign that they recently had a seizure. You should keep an eye on them for other signs of seizures, and seek veterinary care if you see or suspect your chi is having seizures.
Relax, Stay calm, and be Educated
Your Chi’s hanging tongue isn’t an immediate sign of trouble, nor should you be paranoid about problems with your sidekick. Be mindful of when things are off with your chihuahua, and talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns or notice anything out of the ordinary with your little chi.