What Does It Mean When Your Dog Yawns

Have you ever wondered why your dog yawns? Do they yawn when they are tired or bored? This article will explore some reasons and talk about possible scenarios to help you understand what your pup is going through.

If you are a proud dog owner, you already know how your dog behaves and reacts to specific events or actions. But, dogs can be such mystical creatures that sometimes it can be hard to decode the meaning of their actions, especially if you just bought your dog.

One of these actions is yawning. Yes, dogs yawn and do it the same way as humans, with jaws wide open and a deep breath sometimes accompanied by a sound. And, while our yawning is mainly related to tiredness or lack of breath (yup, that’s a real reason), dogs’ yawning has different meanings.

A golden colored dog yawning

When a dog yawns, it is not just to show fatigue. It is also to let you know that they are simply bored and think that their job is done. But, if your dog is sick or has anxiety issues (like fear nervousness), yawning could be a sign of stress or boredom. Let’s take a closer look at several conditions involving yawning:

As mentioned earlier in this article, there are different meanings for dogs’ yawning:

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Yawns? / Why Do Dogs Yawn?

1. As a Conciliation Signal

If your dog has no intention of fighting, but the other dog insists on it, it will eventually get stressed out because of the insistence. And, if it gets stressed out enough, your dog will start yawning to show that it is done with the fight and wants to calm down already before something else happens that can get more serious than a simple fight can get.

Hence, they use to send a calming signal to the other dog, telling them to calm down because they don’t want to fight. It may be funny, but it’s their way to avoid conflict.

2. To Show Their Excitement

You know that dogs have feelings, too. But did you know they can be excited about something? Yes, they can, especially if you are about to take them out, give them a toy, treat, or similar, oh-so-expected event. According to an article by K9 Magazinedogs yawn to prepare their body for the following, regardless of what that action is. By yawning, they take deep breaths and fill their lungs with oxygen sent to the brain. That also increases their blood flow.

3. They Are Overwhelmed

In some cases, your dog can also yawn just because they are overwhelmed by something, and they can’t calm them down. It may be a new person or a dog it doesn’t know, and the sudden sight of an unknown object (like a ball) can overwhelm them and cause stress. But, this is not very common, and you should only be aware if your dog usually yawns after meeting new people or if it has never done that before.

4. They Are Confused

A confused dog??? Ok, this sounds a bit funny, but these furry buddies can also get confused… after all, life is confusing (*smile*). But, yes, they can get confused, especially when training them. The owner/trainer gives a command, but the dog, for some reason, doesn’t know what to do. And, the more the owner repeats the command, the more the dog gets confused. And that’s when they start yawning.

It’s not because they are bored but because they don’t know what to do. To resolve their confusion, you should delay that command for later and go on to the command they know. After a while, you can try the new command again.

5. Communication

Sometimes, your dog feels like your guardian and decides to let you know that it has other things to do other than staying at the house, i.e., play with you or chase other pets in the street. So if your dog yawns while you are asking him to go out for a walk, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to go out but wants his freedom. As far as the “fight” mentioned above is concerned, this should be taken seriously…

6. They Are Stressed Out

Another reason dogs yawn is because they are stressed out. Yup, dogs can feel stress and anxiety just like humans. But, in this case, their yawning is usually more often, repeatedly one after another yawn. Some of the reasons that cause their stress are:

  • Scolding
  • Meeting new people
  • Training
  • Dressing (putting a piece of clothing, such as a jumper in winter)
  • Kids or people fighting nearby
  • Sudden hugs etc.

It can be any event that your dog finds stressful. So, keep an eye on the situations when they repeatedly start yawning and do whatever you can to stop that situation or the cause of stress. Once the cause is removed, they will stop yawning.

7. To Show Some Love

Dogs are humans’ best friends, and that’s a fact! They are very empathetic and can feel the joy, sadness, and other emotions their owners experience. And, believe it or not, they use yawn as a way to show their love for you (the owner)! While they can hug you and lick you to show their love and devotion, they can also yawn to express their bond with you, especially when you are yawning.

8. Yawning is Contagious

Photo Credit: catahoula_pet_services

Related to people yawning and dogs yawning, you know how we start yawning when someone nearby yawns. Well, it seems that the same happens with dogs. And, while scientists still can’t figure out the exact reason why yawning is contagious, they know that the same phenomenon exists among dogs.

They start yawning when they see their owner or a family member yawning. It sounds funny, but it’s true: dogs can catch a yawn. What’s even more interesting is that they yawn only when a person close to them, like the owner, yawns, not people they don’t know or don’t like. By yawning, they also show their owners how strong their relationship is.

Moreover, dogs can catch a yawn from other dogs, not just humans. It’s exactly like we do when we see another person. Therefore, if you have more than one dog at home or tend to socialize with other dogs, the reason for your dog’s yawning may be because they saw another dog yawning. Can you imagine that? A chain of dog yawns? So funny and cute at the same time!

9. To Show Tiredness

Dogs are just like humans. They get tired, too! So if they are fatigued, they yawn to let you know that they are all done with the work you assigned them for the day. Maybe you two have spent the afternoon in the park playing catch or have been running. A day filled with activity is most definitely a reason for dogs’ yawning. So, “make their bed” and let them go to sleep to rest and get ready for the following day.

So, How Often Should You Worry?

Usually, a dog’s yawning is nothing to worry about, as mentioned above. However, if you notice your dog yawns excessively and very often, it can mean that your dog experiences something more than stress. It could be a sign of anxiety in the form of separation or fear-related fear.

In this case, it’s best to take your dog to the vet or consult with a professional trainer. A good trainer will tell you what the exact cause of this type of anxiety is so you can deal with it accordingly.

So that’s pretty much what does it mean when your dog yawns? It is essential to know what do they mean and how you can help them in these situations. Of course, signs such as panting, drooling, or anything else that can be signs of illness should be taken seriously.