Stretching has always been associated with the feeling of tiredness, sluggishness, illness, and overall body fatigue. So, why does my dog keep stretching on me? Does this mean my dog might be injured? Does my dog stretching always mean it's constantly tired, and should I be worried?
The truth is that this isn't always the case, as tiredness is only one of the many options to consider when your dog keeps stretching and yawning in front of you.
Common reasons why your dog might be stretching more frequently than usual includes your dog just wanting to exercise or play, and it could also be a result of tiredness. Also, it may be one of the ways it is trying to communicate with you. It could also be a sign that your dog is sick or injured
Why does my dog keep stretching out?
Read on below for an in-depth analysis, you must understand what drives this behavior as each conveys a different meaning, and understanding them could guide you when dealing with your dog.
1. Your dog is tired:
Stretching helps loosen up tight muscles and increase blood circulation throughout the body, thus sending a rush of an energy boost. Hence your dog might be stretching because it feels tired, and stretching helps reduce its fatigue.
2. Your dog simply enjoys it:
Sometimes, your dog might just be stretching naturally and out of habit. It might not be because of any underlying emotion or complication. Your dog might just love the way stretching feels and does so frequently for enjoyment.
3. Your dog might be sick or injured:
As dog owners, it's impossible to prevent all illnesses and injuries in our dog, no matter how much we wish we could. Dogs act in a particular way when they are ill or hurt.
Some of these actions are to mask their discomfort so people won't detect, while others may be to relieve them of their pain. Your dog stretching frequently might be because it has been injured, and doing this makes it feel the pain less. Your dog might be suffering from joint pain, arthritis, or tendonitis, and stretching out gives it temporary relief from the discomfort.
Dogs that suffer from pancreatitis stretch their stomach excessively as this helps dull the pain and takes the pressure off their stomach. If you notice that your dog is running a fever, vomits, or limping after having a stretch, then you might want to contact your local veterinarian.
4. It is a form of communication:
I'm sure you may have noticed that your dog doesn't know how to speak your language or any human language. However, your dog speaks and communicates, and it does so with its body language and reactive movements. All you have to do is know how to identify what to watch out for and decode them correctly.
That said, your dog might just be stretching out its front limbs in front of you with its butt raised in the air as a form of greeting and a way of showing you that it values you. This action is shared among the canine community. It is usually followed by other friendly gestures such as wagging its tail, ears in a relaxed position, and staring at you with happy eyes.
Also, stretching movements are sometimes inclined towards canine sexual tendencies. This will most likely be the case if a male dog does this around a female dog that is receptive to mating or in heat.
5. Your dog wants to exercise or play:
Stretching out is an action that dogs utilize to prepare themselves for an activity that would involve their strength. This behavior dates back to their primitive instincts, as wild animals always have a good stretch to prepare themselves before launching out for a long hunt.
This is to keep them mentally and physically active and alert. You may even have noticed that your dog only stretches when he sees you grab its gear that you usually use to train it or take it for a walk.
In addition, if your dog isn't getting its recommended exercise time then you might notice it stretching and yawning often. Other markers that your dog is stretching from insufficient exercising include withdrawal and depression, restlessness when sleeping, barking frequently, and excessive weight gain.
Hence, you would want to invest quality time in training and exercising your dog as this would help keep it healthy and improve its overall body function.
6. It is an aggressive motion:
Just like dogs stretch their muscles out to prepare for an exercise or training, they also do this when they intend to attack or act in defense. Your dog might be stretching and flexing its muscles because it sees an impending threat and prepares for a fight.
Other signs to tell if your dog is getting ready to attack includes suddenly becoming rigid and still after stretching, or if it bars its teeth and growls deeply. If you notice signs of aggression and hostility in your dog, you would want to exercise extreme caution.
Ensure you do not make direct eye contact or try to corner your dog while it is in such a state as these would give your dog the impression that you also plan to attack it back, hence it would want to have the upper hand and attack first. Instead, you should slowly and calmly back away from the situation and let your dog know you have no intention of hurting it.
Of course, you do not want to show signs of trepidation and fear by running away or hiding under the bed, as this might cause your dog to attack. You should contact a dog behaviorist if you believe your dog wants to bodily harm you.
Many dog owners mistake their dog splooting for stretching. Splooting is when your dog likes flat on its belly with its back limbs stretched out behind it. Splooting is very common with dogs as it helps them relax their hind legs and simply cool off.
Important points to consider
When done correctly and in the appropriate proportion, stretching would help your dog relax and contract its muscles, making them accustomed to sudden movements as they become less stiff and more flexible. Hence, this would significantly decrease its likelihood of sustaining an injury when it is playing or training.
Your dog stretching too often, too much or too far, can cause harm to tendons that join bones and muscles. Hence, your dog stretching frequently should not be overlooked. If your dog develops a strain from stretching, you might want to give immediate first aid care by applying a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area to reduce its discomfort before taking your dog to see a veterinarian.
Many dog behaviorist and experts recommend regular stretching exercises for dogs. Frequent stretching exercises help to condition and strengthen your dog's body and improve its general well being.
Stretching is an essential activity for a dog, simply think of it as dog yoga (just joking, but you get the idea). Stretching would help your dog feel better relaxed, help treat body aches, relieve stress, and build healthier and stronger joints and muscles.
Stretching is vital in keeping your dog active as it ages. Hence, you would want to regularly examine your dog's wrist, knees, ankles, and elbows to check for signs of blisters or challenge with mobility as this would help tell you if your dog is in dire need of a relaxing stretching exercise.