You could have probably noticed your dog stretching, but you never get to understand why it does. Well, stretching is a normal behavior many dogs perform to communicate with their owners. However, as an owner, you must understand the kind of stretch your dog displays and what it means.
Dogs stretch for various reasons, including the need for exercise, signs of pancreatitis, signs of an upset stomach, splooting, desire to play, preparation for any activity, the dog enjoys it, or is tired. Stretching is a normal thing dogs do, but there are times your dog can be stretching too much.
Excessive stretching is something you will worry about as a dog owner, and except you know why dogs stretch, you will not know when the dog is stretching excessively.
Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much?
Stretching is healthy for dogs; it helps warm their muscles up and releases toxins. There are different occasions you could have found your dog doing this. Sometimes, it could be very early in the morning when your dog appears to greet you. On some other occasions, it could just be a way of getting your attention for playtime.
Since stretching is healthy for dogs, always ensure you reinforce this behavior by giving the dog some attention when it stretches. However, even though stretching could be healthy for your dog, you need to pay attention to it when it becomes too much. Sometimes, it could be an indication of an underlying health issue. We will explain more on possible reasons why your dog stretches below.
Your Dog is Having a Morning Stretch
If you notice your dog stretching more in the morning, it simply implies the dog is having some morning stretches. Just as it is normal for humans to stretch whenever we are awake in the morning, it is quite normal for dogs. When a dog wakes up, the first thing it will do is yawn and stretch.
Morning stretch often helps strengthen the dogs’ muscles, having slept in a curled position during the night. Also, it helps to keep their body prepared for the day’s activities. Immediately after this stretch, you will likely notice your dog roaming about the house.
A Greeting Stretch
The greeting stretch usually occurs more in the morning. Although, it could happen other times during the day too. If your dog comes to you, it leans backward and stretches its front legs towards you; it is a way of communicating its greetings. This form of stretch is called the greeting bow. Dogs only tend to do this stretch to people they are very comfortable with.
An Indication of Wanting to Play
Just as a similar stretch like the greeting bow, your dog stretching could indicate it wants some attention for playtime. The dog would be seen stretching its front legs while leaning down on its elbows. This form of stretch is called the play bow. The play bow is usually accompanied by the dog wagging its tail, barking a little bit, and having a happy facial expression.
So, if you notice your dog doing this, it means it wants to play. Also, if you notice your dog displaying this stretch when it sees another dog, it is a sign of informing the other dog that it means no harm and wants to play. In no time, you will likely notice the dogs playing together.
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Your Dog is Splooting
If your dog stretches more during warm weather, then splooting could be a potential reason. Splooting occurs when you find your dog lying completely flat on the floor while stretching both legs behind its back. Lying flat on floor surfaces like tiles allows the dog’s body to become cool.
This position is comfortable for dog breeds with long legs, like Labrador Retrievers and Greyhounds, and it helps them remain cool in warm weather. Some dog breeds dig holes during the summer months and lie down in a position that makes them get extra cooling on their belly.
Why Does My Dog Keep Stretching?
We have already explained some likely reasons why your dog could be stretching. If you notice any of those stretches in your dog, there is no cause for alarm, as they are completely normal. However, if your dogs keep stretching and you cannot determine the cause, it could indicate a health issue. We will be explaining some health issues that could cause a dog to stretch below.
If your dog eats or drinks almost immediately after an exercise, it could develop bloat, which often causes pressure on its stomach. When this happens, a dog could be forced to keep stretching to relieve the pressure caused by the bloat. Large breed dogs such as Great Dane, German Shepherd, Greyhound are more prone to bloat.
To be sure your dog has this condition, look out for symptoms like low appetite, rapid breathing, swollen stomach, excessive drooling, unsuccessful attempts of vomiting, and restlessness. Once you observe your dog is frequently stretching due to bloat, ensure it gets urgent vet care immediately.
Another health reason that could cause your dog to stretch is pancreatitis. When a dog is down with pancreatitis, it could be seen stretching to reduce the pain that comes with it. The symptoms of canine bloat and pancreatitis are similar and can be confusing. It requires a veterinarian to differentiate between them.
If you cannot get a veterinarian’s attention immediately, you should look out for this; if the dog is sick, weak, or slumps while standing, it could be pancreatitis. Moreover, the dog requires urgent vet care and treatment.
Dog Keeps Stretching Back Legs
Dogs do many things that humans find surprising and funny; however, most of these things are essential for the dog. You will definitely see your dog in various positions, and unless you have studied the dog, you cannot know why. One of the weirdest things dogs do is stretch their back legs.
This is referred to as Splooting, and all dogs sploot; also, depending on the flexibility level of the dog, it will engage in different poses. There are different sploot poses, full sploot, half sploot, and side sploot. When a dog does the side sploot, it sticks one hind leg out to the side while keeping the other nestled near its body.
Half sploot involves the dog tucking one hind under its abdomen while stretching the other straight back. In this position, one of its hips may be on the ground. Large dog breeds usually engage in this position. The most common sploot is the full sploot, and the dog stretches both hind legs behind its body.
One of the reasons dogs lay in this position is that it allows them to stretch their full body. Splooting allows the dog to enjoy a full-body stretch because all the hips and legs are stretched. Also, it is a very comfortable and relaxing position. Dogs prefer to lie in the most comfortable position, so if that is the position it finds, it will sploot.
Splooting is one of the few positions that cools the dog’s temperature. When dogs are hot, they press their belly on the ground to cool off. Splooting allows them to get full body contact with the ground. Splooting is an easy and natural position for relaxing.
Keep reading: Why Does My Dog Bark When I Leave?
On a normal day, you do not have to worry about your dog stretching, but as the dog grows older, it will want to spend lots of time laying in a position. This weakens the joints because it has been relaxed for a long time. The best way to deal with a dog that stretches too much is by ensuring it gets enough exercise.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.