Why Your Dog Yawns a Lot and What It Means

Why Your Dog Yawns a Lot and What It Means

Is your dog yawning a lot? Let's see whether this is a symptom of a more serious problem or not. Read on to learn more about yawning in dogs.

In dogs, yawning is quite normal. In fact, most species, including birds, reptiles and fish, exhibit this behavior. Perhaps it increases our alertness, decreases worry, or cools an overheated brain.

You've probably seen your dog settle in for a nap with a vast, pleasurable yawn right before they lay their head and fall asleep, or you're playing with your dog when he yawns out of nowhere. Are you tiring him out? Most likely not.

Here's all you need to know about dog yawning, including what it means when your dog yawns a lot and what to do if they do.

Dog Yawn

What is a yawn?

A yawn is an instinctive response that causes the mouth to expand wide and the lungs to take in a large amount of air. The air is then slowly expelled. The eardrums expand during this period, and the eyes may also shut tightly, causing them to moisten.

Yawning is an evolutionarily old response. Humans begin yawning in the womb about 11 weeks of pregnancy. However, we don't sense the impulse to yawn when other people do until we're about four or five years old.

As humans, we often associate yawning with tiredness or boredom. That possibly explains the prevalent belief that yawning has to do with awakening a tired brain. Studies from the University of Maryland investigated this theory and discovered that it did not hold up — people were just as likely to yawn when inhaling oxygen-rich air, despite the fact that we yawn more when we are bored or tired. It does although promote social bonding.

Aside from that, the causes of yawning are not completely known (in dogs or in humans). Because yawning is more likely to occur in a warm environment, it is assumed to have some effect on cooling the brain. However, additional research is needed in this area. It is now believed that yawning is a kind of communication.

What is a dog yawn?

In dogs, the yawn is frequently employed as a relaxing gesture. It's a code for "I've had enough" and "my patience is wearing out." Of course, there are occasions when a yawn is nothing more than a yawn. Looking at the context is the greatest method to comprehend the true meaning of the gesture. If he yawns when luxuriously spread out on his bed, he's probably just weary. If your dog yawns when you're training or playing with him, he may be asking for a break.

What does it mean when a dog yawns a lot?

If your dog yawns excessively, it might be a symptom of stress. When dogs are anxious, they might respond in a variety of ways. Yawning around night is quite natural for your pet, but any increase in frequency might be their method of communicating that they are worried. Some people feel yawning as a symptom of nervousness, and dogs are no exception. But don't let this worry you; dogs yawn for a variety of reasons, which may explain why you believe your dog yawns frequently.

Physiological reasons for dog yawning

Yawn as a sign of stress

To determine if yawning is caused by stress or not, you must pay attention to when the activity happens. For example, if your dog yawns excessively while in the car on the way to the vet, it's reasonable to assume they're yawning out of stress or tension. This is also true for our canine companions' enthusiasm, as our dogs may yawn while anticipating an activity they adore. 

Other signs of stress in dogs :

  • Tense muscles
  • Lip licking
  • Drooling
  • Panting
dog panting

Yawn as a sign of tiredness

Your dog's yawn might simply indicate that they've had a hard day and are ready to sleep. If your dog has a cause to be wary, such as spending the afternoon at the dog park or running circles around your house, or if they let out a large yawn shortly before curling up to sleep, the yawn is most likely just a signal that they're exhausted.

Yawning helps to stretch face muscles, allowing them to relax. Alternatively, the dog begins to wake up.

As a result, when a dog wakes up from a slumber, he may let out a big, pleasurable yawn.

Emotional functions for dog yawning

Yawn as a sign of love

Dogs yawn for a variety of reasons, one of which is excitement. If your dog yawns when you take up his leash or ask him if he wants to go for a walk, you may reasonably assume it is a happy yawn.

dog love

Yawn as a sign of boredom

Just like when your dog is waking up, your dog might be using a big yawn to go from being bored to being more alert, trying to keep himself busy and awake for something more interesting.

Yawn to show empathy

While it is difficult to quantify empathy in our canine companions, they exhibit a variety of actions that demonstrate how much they care for us. This is evident when they follow us around the home, sit next to us when we are unhappy, and even yawn with us. When your dog imitates your yawn, it might be their way of indicating they love you.

Sociological functions for dog yawning

Yawn to avoid conflict

Dogs communicate in a variety of ways, including the employment of "calming signals" upon introduction. Averting their sight, licking their lips, and strolling slowly are all soothing signals. When one of these actions is displayed by a dog to another dog, it is their way of being non-threatening. 

Calming signals are used by dogs to communicate with one another, and dog behaviorists have discovered that they are equally effective in relationships with humans. When approaching a new dog, try yawning at them to signal that you are coming in peace.

Yawn as a sign of submission

Both domesticated dogs and wild canids have been spotted yawning as a sign of disinterest. Similar to avoiding conflict , when a dog encounters an aggressive dog, he will frequently yawn in reaction to the attacker. This just signifies that the yawning dog isn't interested in getting into a fight. It isn't a symbol of capitulation but rather of pacification. Yawning may be noticed in dominant dogs.

When presented with a subordinate or terrified pack members or strangers, they frequently yawn to demonstrate their lack of concern for the subservient one. This frequently appears to soothe the nervous dog or person.

Yawn as a sign of confusion

A dog may yawn because something happened that they don't comprehend. The yawn is a means for him to cope with something new that he doesn't yet understand. This isn't always a sign of irritation but rather of being perplexed by the new demand. This could occur often during training sessions. After you've taken the necessary steps, your dog should quit this behavior and begin performing the directions instead. 

Yawning can be contagious

We've all been in the presence of others when one of them yawns unexpectedly, and we can't help but yawn too. Suddenly, everyone in the room yawns–one by one. It's the same for dogs! Dogs will yawn in reaction to the yawn of another dog, and they will also yawn in response to the yawn of people, especially if it is a human they know well. We don't think much of it because it's such a nice, empathetic behavior. 

When yawning is a cause for concern.

Most canine yawns, like human yawns, are absolutely harmless. If your dog yawns when they're bored or sleepy, it's nothing to worry about.

However, if you observe your dog yawning frequently or in fast succession, you should pay close attention. As previously said, excessive yawning—or a succession of yawns one after the other—can indicate that your dog is in discomfort. If you're in a scenario that's plainly upsetting for your pet, take them out of it. If your dog is constantly yawning due to stress, this might be an indication of a deeper issue (like separation anxiety).

If this is the case, the best thing you can do is seek the advice of a veterinarian or other specialist.

dog vet

Should I stop my dog from yawning?

You shouldn't physically try to stop your dog from yawning. If you notice your dog yawning as a result of stress, do all you can to remove them from the unpleasant environment and help them relax. Evaluate the reasoning behind the yawn and adjust the triggering elements.

Do dogs yawn for other reasons?

Yawning and licking his lips

If your dog is constantly licking his lips and yawning, he should be taken to the vet. Dogs who want to vomit may lick their lips, yawn, and swallow compulsively. Anxious or frightened dogs will lick their lips and yawn often. Some other possible results of this behavior could be 

Yawning and panting

If you notice your dog is suddenly panting and yawning over-and-over, he could be trying to cool down. Dogs do not sweat; the only method for them to cool themselves is via panting. other reasons could include : 

  •  Dehydration
  • Stressed
  • Trying to relieve ear pressure
  • Injury 
  • Obesity

Yawning and swallowing

The most common causes are nausea and ingesting non-food things (e.g., balls of dust or clumps of hair), although esophagitis, which is caused by acid reflux or dental disorders that affect the tongue or gums, may also result in persistent licking and gulping. If the behavior only occurs on a regular basis, your dog may be having a seizure. Is your dog swallowing or licking as though he's attempting to capture flies or licking the air? This might be an indication of epilepsy, a partial focal seizure, or another neurological condition.

Yawning and stretching

Although stretching isn't a cause for concern in and of itself, if you find your dog extending more than normal, there might be an underlying explanation for the habit. This might include everything from stress to gastrointestinal problems.

Other reasons could be :

  • Needing Exercise
  • Wanting To Play
  • Splooting
  • Pancreatitis

Yawns in dogs are involuntary, natural habits, much like ours. The longer you keep your puppy, the more you will understand what is and is not typical for him. Paying attention will go a long way toward assuaging your anxieties that something is wrong, whether or not it is connected to yawns.