Shih Tzu are the cutest when the gape their eyes, open their mouths and stick their tongues out. They may look silly, but it is truly undeniable that they are furballs of cuteness. Dogs pant and it is just normal that they stick their tongues out whenever the weather is sunny or humid.
The evaporation on the surface of the tongue enables canines to dissipate heat and cool off their bodies. These animals don’t have sweat glands so nature found a way for them to adjust. Dogs with their tongues out are not unusual; but when the tongue gets stuck and the dog couldn’t pull it back inside the mouth, then there is something wrong. This is a common occurrence in small breeds such as the Shih Tzu. It may look like the most adorable thing in the world – a Shih Tzu sticking its tongue out, but there are medical reasons behind this that owners need to be aware of.
This condition is known as the Hanging Tongue Syndrome. There is no established reason why this occurs in Shih Tzu; but the most common cause is a neurological problem that can be genetic or accidental in nature. If your dog has suffered from any jaw or mouth injury, the nerves supplying the tongue can be damaged and can lead to permanent paralysis. The best way to address this problem is to make sure that the part of the tongue exposed outside won’t get dry and infected with bacteria. In some cases, vets opt to cut the tongue especially when the dog is prone to frostbites. Should you observe bleeding, punctures or any change in color on the tongue, see a vet immediately. Hanging tongue syndrome doesn’t have any effect on the behavior of the dog. Actually, your Shih Tzu can just be himself and nothing can really change after he acquired this syndrome. Dogs don’t seem to mind having a protruded tongue for the rest of their lives. However, as responsible pet owners we must look after the health of our little pooches and make sure that no harm comes to them. A tongue that is constantly exposed to the environment is at risk of getting lacerated, infected or accidentally cut off.