Why Does Your Shih Tzu’s Tongue Stick Out?

Tongue Stick Out
Credit: @denim618 Via Instagram

Like all dogs, shih tzus stick their tongues out for a variety of reasons. Considering the tongue of a shih tzu is pretty versatile, allowing them to drink, cool down their bodies, and give you kisses, it’s always noticeable when their tongues are out for a reason. What follows are four common reasons why your shih tzu may have their tongue hanging out.


This is the most common reason why your shih tzu will have its tongue out. It’s perfectly nature for all dogs to pant and extend their tongues when they are hot from exercise or the weather conditions. The short breaths associated with panting allow water to evaporate from the tongue which is connected to their upper respiratory tract. That process helps to cool down your shih tzu.

If they are panting frequently, find a cool place for them and make sure they have lots of water. If they continue to pant, then you might call your vet.

Hanging Tongue

Some shih tzus have a condition known as hanging tongue syndrome, something that is present in other breeds of dogs as well. This is not a sign of anything wrong or that needs to be corrected. Although mostly seen in pugs because of genetics, your shih tzu may have this condition because of an overbite or underbite.

In rare circumstances, their tongues may start to hang out due to the growth of a tumor or mass inside their mouth. When you first see their tongues hanging out, have it checked out your vet on the next visit.

New Medications

If your shih tzu is taking new medications, a side effect may be that they keep their tongues out. If so, then you will want to have your vet check this out as it may be a sign of something not right. It may mean that they do not feel right, so give your vet a call first and take them in if this condition continues.


If you see your shih tzu laying on the couch or floor with their tongue hanging out, it may be a sign of being truly relaxed. Sometimes when dogs get really comfortable their tongues will simply hang out as their muscles are relaxing. In other words, nothing is wrong. In fact, it may be a sign of being in pure bliss after enjoying a meal, taking a nap, or just being near you.

It’s not necessary to take your dog to the vet because of this particular condition. But if you have never seen it before, then you might keep your eye on it. Especially when the tongue stays out when they become more active.

A shih tzu with its tongue hanging out is not always a sign of distress. In fact, quite often it is the opposite. But as with any new condition that you notice, it is best to consult with a vet when it appears to have some type of purpose. Otherwise, let the tongue hang out.


  1. What if they started sticking out tongue just a bit as they got older. Vet said it’s age is this the truth? She’s 11 years old.

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