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What does it mean when my dog yawns?

Our dogs may not be able to tell us what they need in actual words, thus they use their body language to communicate with us, which includes barking, pawing and even yawning. The most common association with yawning would be that your dog is feeling exhausted or bored. In fact, there are various reasons behind each yawn. It is an important signal for us to understand our dog’s current state of mind.

How a dog yawns looks just like how any human yawns, with their jaws opened wide and sometimes accompanied by a big, deep breath. Some dogs produces sound when they yawn, while other dogs may yawn silently. Yawning can occur at any time of the day, regardless of what your dog is doing. Let us explore what it means when our dog yawns and how to interpret it!

Yawning because they are tired.
Just like us, dogs yawn when they are tired. One theory states that it is a way to regulate their body temperature and temporarily raise one’s heart rate, which can help curb sleepiness. If their yawn is accompanied by stretching and other signs of fatigue such as drooping eyelids, chances are that our dogs are simply feeling sleepy. Does your dog yawn when it is their bedtime? This could be their way of telling you that they are ready for bed!

Yawning because they are stressed.
Dogs also yawn as a stress response. When they are experiencing fear, separation anxiety, or an uncomfortable situation, dogs often yawn in response to mental or emotional discomfort. Frequent yawning is a common sign of stress, especially if the yawns are prolonged. The yawns could sometimes be mixed with intermittent panting and whining.

Recognizing that your dog’s yawn is a stress signal can help you remove them from the stressful situation. If you think your dog is yawning due to stress, it might be their way of telling you that they need a break. Take a breather from the current activity do take them for a private walk outside. If anxiety is the cause of their yawning, it should come to an end once they calm down.

Yawning because they are showing empathy.
While it is challenging to measure empathy in our furry friends, our dogs show how much they care for us through their actions and behaviours. This is reflected when they follow us wherever we go, sitting next to us when we are feeling down, and even matching our yawns. The next time your dog mimics your yawn, it may be their way of saying they love you.

Yawning because they are being submissive.
Also known as a calming signal, dogs could also yawn to avoid a conflict with a potential aggressor, and in other words, to deflect a threat. If a person or another animal approaches a dog, it may avert its gaze and yawn. This is a nonverbal way of saying that he feels threatened or anxious about the situation, but they are not a threat, or have no intentions to cause trouble. Dogs use this type of body language as a sign of submission, to appear passive or non-threatening.

Yawning because they are excited.
Overwhelming excitement can be too much for a dog to handle, and can lead to common signs of anxiety if they become extremely overworked. For example, your dog could be looking forward to enjoy a certain activity with you, with this excitement, you may see them circling and pacing with happiness and even yawning from time to time. This is a normal reaction and should subside once they engage in the activity they are awaiting.

Yawning because they are confused.
Dogs may get confused when they are picking up something new. It could be a new trick or new command, which takes time for them to fully understand what is being asked of them. During the process, you might see yawning behaviour as they are just being a little confused about it. Be patient and allow your dog some breathing space to learn. Once they grasped the concept, they should stop this behaviour and start executing the tricks or commands instead.

Yawning is a normal behaviour that you see in both humans and dogs. It shouldn’t warrant any concern and is usually considered more of a social or behaviour action. If your dog seems to be feeling tired, let them go to bed. If it’s not due to sleepiness, look out for things that could be causing anxiety. There are a variety of stress-inducing situations, and being aware of what causes anxiety in your dog can help us prevent them from being exposed to those situations.

Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.

Adopted from sources

– What Does It Mean When My Dog Yawns? By Amy Bender, Reviewed by Anna O’Brien, The Spruce Pets.

– Why Is My Dog Yawning? By Lisa Dunn, The Farmer’s Dog.

– 6 Reasons Your Dog Is Yawning All The Time And What It All Means.

– Images of dogs, Pixabay, Love Your Dog.