LifestyleUnlocking the secret language of dog yawns: Understanding what your pet means

Unlocking the secret language of dog yawns: Understanding what your pet means

The puppy is clearly stressed by the photo session and the close presence of the model.
The puppy is clearly stressed by the photo session and the close presence of the model.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Anna Tronova
10:07 AM EST, January 15, 2024

Yawning in dogs doesn't always equate to feelings of tiredness or boredom. Indeed, it can manifest various underlying issues, some of which should prompt us to take action. Therefore, it's beneficial for pet owners to expand their understanding of this behavior, allowing them to react appropriately and swiftly when necessary. To understand what yawning means, we must consider the physiological explanation and the context in which the behavior occurs.

You dog might yawn when scared

Yawning can be a sign of stress, discomfort, or fear. This is particularly frequent when other humans or animals are present or in a noisy environment, such as next to a car-filled road. If a dog is yawning, nervously wagging its tail, squinting its eyes, and laying its ears back, this generally implies stress. Removing the dog from the stressful environment or situation is advisable to soothe it.

Dogs yawn to express frustration

A dog yawning while petting, stroking, or cuddling may mean it is overwhelmed by the human's nearness or excessive affection. In this case, the dog is trying to find a way out of an uncomfortable situation. It might even start growling to ward off the perceived threat. Frustration-induced yawning often occurs during training sessions when it's clear the dog isn't up for more exercise.

Yawning can depict uncertainty in dogs

This behavior often manifests when other animals are present. The yawning is typically the dog signaling it doesn't desire any quarrel and would steer clear of trouble instead. Here, the yawn serves a social purpose, emanating a peace-keeping message from the dog. It signifies the dog's disinterest in confrontation with another. The action of avoiding eye contact with the other animal further supports this.

Dogs also yawn when excited

Contrary to popular belief, yawning could also be how dogs showcase excessive stimulation or excitement. In such a scenario, anticipate high-pitched dog howls, vigorous tail wagging, and wide, joyous eyes. Yawning can signal impatience, perhaps when the dog is ready for a walk but is kept waiting while you tie your shoes or fetch something from inside the house.

Yawns can just mean dogs are tired

Like humans, yawning in dogs may be a sign of fatigue. Dogs require more extended periods of rest than humans. They sleep about 14-15 hours a day, which increases with age. So, if a yawn doesn't coincide with any additional behavior, it's best to let the dog nap. Once it wakes up recharged, it'll have a fresh energy supply for play and walks.

Related content