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What Does It Mean When a Dog Yawns?

Written by Kelvin LowMay 6, 2021

Why does my dog yawn?. One may wonder if it means that the dog is tired, restless, or sick, especially when one is new to dogs.

Dogs, as you know well, are living things, animals, to be precise. Almost all animals, human beings included, can yawn at intervals to signify so many things.

It is however expected, that as an owner you should know what it means when dogs yawn, to detect any questionable behaviour or issue in your dog's life. There's a lot to unveil about dogs yawning, which we will discuss below.

Why does my dog yawn?

Yawning is general for both humans and animals; theories have been made to explain the reason we yawn. According to some views yawning restores oxygen in the brain, but science is yet to prove that accurate. Yawning is said to wake up a tired brain, possibly why we often yawn when we are feeling weak or bored. There has also been the controversy that yawning has a cooling impact to the brain since it will most likely occur in a warm room. All of these claims carry no affirmation; they are just an attempt to explain why living creations yawn. However, when it comes to dogs, all yawns are not the same.

For dogs, yawning is a form of body language. Yawning among dogs looks familiar with yawning in human beings; it is a wide-open jaw-action followed by a deep breath. 

What it means when your dog yawns

Stress, fear, and anxiety.

One of the signs of stress in dogs is excessive yawning; they also seem to yawn when they have anxieties. Observations have declared that dogs who feel pressure and displeasure towards their owner or a particular activity will yawn to express their lack of interest and distaste towards the exercise or owner's behaviour. Dogs who fear or sense a coming punishment from their owner will yawn to display fear and anxiety; they will also yawn when they feel uncomfortable with a person or situation.

Dogs yawn as communication of disinterestedness.

Experts say that dogs will yawn when they are uninterested or uncomfortable with a person or situation. A dog will likewise yawn at the face of confrontation from another hostile dog. This act simply shows that the dog is not concerned about partaking in any manner of feud; rather than implying a resignation, the dog yawning simply means that it is unwilling to partake in the conflict.

Dogs will yawn after catching one.

We believe that the act of yawning can be a very contagious one, among both people and animals, although, there is no verification of this being a natural habit or a learned one. Dogs will yawn in response to a person or another dog’s yawning, especially when they are very familiar with the person or animal in particular.

Do dogs yawn when they are happy?

Dogs also yawn when they are happy, excited, or in anticipation of something. To us humans, this is strange because yawning while on a long queue is regular, but not when you're excited or happy. Dogs, on the other hand, tend to yawn when they are excited or happy about something they’re doing or something that is about to happen. A dog’s yawning could be interpreted as a compliment because it’s way of expressing that it is pleased with whatever you’re doing.

Why do dogs yawn when you cuddle them?

After cuddling your dog and it yawns, it just means that it wasn’t so comfortable with the physical contact, so to relieve itself of the tension it felt, it will yawn.

They try to tell you that they didn’t like what happened. This is sometimes against their personality, especially since we consider them to be cuddle bunnies.

Although many dogs like to get intimate with you, they snuggle with you, sit on your lap and even lick your face. However, if you bend to reach their height and persuade them to hug you, you may notice that they shudder or yawn immediately.

This is because hugs and cuddles aren't part of their body language. Hugging or wrapping arms around someone or something isn't part of a dog's composition, therefore being on the receiving end of such an encounter might leave them tensed.

It's better to let your dog express affection on its term; that way, it will be less tense.

What does it mean when a dog yawns excessively?

You might be worried that your dog yawns excessively or it yawns a lot.          In humans, there are rare circumstances that cause excessive yawning; it can be a symptom of an underlying disease like sclerosis.

However, when it comes to dogs, there is no record of any underlying disease that can lead to excessive yawning. If a dog yawns excessively, it most likely means that it experiences frequent stress and worry, or there is an object of anxiety or fear in its domain that continually causes it to be anxious and afraid.

Observe every object of stress, they are likely to be the events that occur right before they yawn. This will most likely be the cause of excessive yawning.

Do dogs yawn when they are tired?

We humans yawn when we are exhausted, fatigued or drained and this is not exclusive to us, this trait is something that dogs also possess.

Scientists still haven't been able to explain why we yawn before bed and after rising.

There have been explanations that we yawn to increase the oxygen flow in our brain or to cool our brain when we are warm.

However the case may be, it is prevalent among us mammals to yawn when we are weary and tired. Dogs are no exception.

Final Thought

Even though yawning is a natural phenomenon exhibited by almost all creations, mammals in particular, due to some natural and biological similarities that we share, the fact remains that we do not indicate the same things when we yawn. Therefore a dog yawning can have different significant interpretations; for dogs, yawning signifies the happening of peculiar events. Above, we have given an accurate example of the events and instances that incite dogs to yawn.

About The Author

Kelvin Low

Kelvin Low has more than three years of experience in taking care of pets at home - ranging from dogs, hamsters, to cats and hedgehog. His passion and care towards animals has motivated him to create educational content online to more more pets owners in need.

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