Downward dog might be known as a yoga pose, but it’s also what your furry friend does when he stretches!
It probably seems natural to you that your dog is stretching – after all, you stretch too, and you’ve probably seen other dogs doing it as well.
And it is natural! But when you start noticing it for what it really is, the curiosity of why your dog actually stretches starts arising.
Dog stretching is easy to ignore since a lot of the times, it doesn’t really mean much.
But other times, your dog might be trying to tell you something.
So let’s take a look at some of the reasons your dog is stretching so much…
Why Your Dog Stretches
He Needs More Exercise
If your dog is not getting enough exercise, you might start noticing he’s stretching more than usual.
When high-energy breeds - such as border collies or huskies - get inadequate exercise, their muscles become sore or stiff.
This will push them to stretch in order to alleviate their muscle pain.
Once you notice your high-energy breed dog is stretching too much, consider if you’ve been exercising them enough.
If not, that might be your queue to take them out for a much needed walk!
It’s adorable when dogs have human-like behaviors: just like how we stretch when we first wake up, your dog is also likely to do the same.
Your dog might stretch before going to sleep, after waking up, or at the end of a long day simply because of tiredness or fatigue.
He Wants to Play
When your dog stretches as an indication of wanting to play, he is most likely to stretch his front legs and bow.
Playful dogs do that in front of their owners, people they’re comfortable with, or other play mates as they’re getting ready for an activity.
It’s just them preparing their legs and muscles for all the playing they’ll do. You’ll even notice a happy expression and wagging tail to accompany the stretch!
Ever thought it was weird how your dog would lie completely flat and stretched out with its belly on the floor?
This is called splooting – a very common habit for dogs, especially longer legged ones that need space to stretch and lay down. It’s just a way for them to feel a little more relaxed.
You might notice your dog even does this more in the summertime or in warmer weather because it helps them cool down.
Occasionally, you might even find your dog digging a hole and positioning their belly on top of that hole for a similar effect. Now you know this is called splooting!
He Has an Upset Stomach
Sometimes, an upset stomach or bloating will lead to your dog stretching too much.
This is because they are trying to relieve the pressure and gas build-up in their stomach.
A dog bloat is a serious cause of concern, so if you’re suspecting this is why your dog is excessively stretching, here’s what else you need to look out for:
- Excessive drooling
- A swollen stomach
- Stomach is warm
- Stomach is making gurgling sounds
- Rapid breathing and restlessness
- Vomiting or attempts to vomit
Dog bloating happens when your pooch eats or drinks too soon after play time, so monitor how much your dog has to drink after you bring him in from exercise.
In addition, give him a few minutes until his breathing has slowed down and his temperature has dropped to feed or hydrate him.
Even then, don’t give him too much water – just enough to hydrate him a little. If you could, it’s best to wait until his breathing is back to normal.
Similar to having an upset stomach or a bloat, your dog might be exhibiting early symptoms of pancreatitis by stretching their abdomen to relieve pressure.
And because the symptoms of both are also very similar, it’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect he might have either.
Pancreatitis symptoms also include fevers, weakness, your dog hunching when they stand, and a bloat.
He Likes the Feeling
This is why we say that, more often than not, your dog stretching is no cause for concern.
Dogs sometimes stretch just because they like the feeling it brings them!
It’s a Mating Call
Stretching in dogs also works as a mating call.
If your dog is around another female companion and he stretches, this could very much be him expressing sexual interest.
And it goes without saying, but this is mostly common only in dogs that have not been spayed or neutered.
Your dog stretching is normal, and you might even notice it will happen more over time as your dog ages.
It’s even a positive: it has been shown to alleviate back pain, arthritis, and tendinitis.
Not to mention it can also put them in a better mood – much like how yoga can affect us!
But it’s always important to be wary of any other signs that stretching might be a part of, in case your dog is doing it because of an underlying condition.
Remember to take your pup to the vet for regular check-ups to rule out any concerns you might have.