Updates from the pet world

Why does my Dog yawn?

"Dogs yawn because they are tired" is a common misconception that owners have about their furry friends. In reality, there are numerous reasons why dogs yawn; it is the first expression that dogs learn and it has multiple meanings dependant on the situation, often linked to displacing inner conflict with neutral behaviour:

  1. Dogs yawn when they want to send a calming or pacifying message to humans, or fellow animals – no matter where in the world a dog is, all dogs know signals and as one yawns, the other will react.
  2. Frustration is often a reason for dogs yawning, perhaps during obedience lessons, or long walks. A way to overcome their frustration is by rewarding good behaviour with a treat, or a short break. That way your dog also knows that you are in control and taking on the role of pack leader.
  3. Do you sometimes need to take five minutes and let your brain wind down? Dogs do too. Yawning is a way of cooling off their brains, which can often get warm after lengthy periods of inactivity.
  4. After a visit to the beach, or trip to a friend’s house, dogs can become over excited or even uncertain if visiting somewhere they have never experienced before. If you notice your dog yawning a lot during these moments, this is often typical behaviour and not something to raise concerns.
  5. Anxiety and nervousness can also lead to continual yawning from your pup or dog. Ever noticed a yawn or two whilst your dog is getting clipped or tripped? What about when they make a dreaded trip to the vets? This is their way of signalling that they don’t feel comfortable in these situations and a way to alleviate the stress of the circumstances.
  6. Like humans, dogs can ‘catch’ yawns. When another person yawns, we often yawn right back. It shows that like humans, dogs have a capacity for empathy; it’s actually a very good thing if your dog catches a yawn or two!
  7. If you’re not giving enough belly rubs, tickles or strokes, your dog may begin to yawn. This is just a sign that they feel they need more attention. They often yawn just to pass time and to get their human to give them a little pat.