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Why Does My Dog Yawn When I Pet Him – 10 Reasons

Most dogs love to be petted by their owners, and sometimes they do things like yawn when you pet them. Although dogs yawn for many different reasons, it can be pretty confusing to discover why your dog is yawning while you pet them. As a result, many dog owners have likely asked themselves: why does my dog yawn when I pet him? 

Dogs yawn when you pet them when they are happy and are showing affection. In some cases, yawning can be a sign of stress or nervousness in dogs.

In this article, we will be describing all of the common causes for dogs yawning while they are being petted. We will also be answering some commonly asked questions and providing you with some additional things to consider about this topic. Let’s get into it!

Reasons Dogs Yawn When You Pet Them

There are many reasons why dogs yawn, and most of these reasons could occur while a dog is being petted. Dogs yawn to express themselves, and this action could have a wide array of meanings.

The best way to discover the meaning behind your dog’s yawning is to pay attention to his body language. Here are the ten most common reasons why dogs yawn when you pet them. 

Your Dog Is Showing Affection 

Sometimes dogs yawn to show affection to the people they love, and this most commonly occurs when these people are giving them attention.

This is a very probable cause if you or another family member is petting your dog while he is yawning. Of course, dogs who yawn while being pet, for this reason, will exhibit happy, calm, and relaxed body language as well. 

Your Dog Is Just Tired

Like people, dogs also yawn when they are tired. If your dog is yawning late at night, early in the morning, or just before he takes a nap, then this is likely the cause.

Dogs who are yawning because they are tired will also usually try to lay their heads down and may even close their eyes while you are petting them. Yawning while tired is an entirely normal behavior in dogs, and it is nothing that dog owners should worry about. 

Your Dog Is Comfortable 

Your dog could also be yawning while you pet him because he is comfortable. This is especially true if you pet your dog on a particularly comfy surface such as a bed or a sofa.

Your dog may also do things like lie down and circle as a way to get even more comfortable and relaxed. Not to mention, being comfortable often also leads to feeling a bit sleepy. 

Your Dog Is Feeling Bored 

Dogs also yawn when they are feeling bored. You may be familiar with this because this is a response to boredom that is very common in people. Dogs who are yawning due to boredom may also appear to be either restless or acting sleepy.

In addition, some dogs tend to engage in destructive behaviors like chewing or digging when they are feeling bored. However, they will likely perk up at the mention of playtime or a walk. 

Your Dog Is Confused About Something

It is also very common for dogs to yawn when they are confused about something. You can tell if a dog is confused by looking at its body language.

Dogs who are feeling confused may also do things like lick their lips and tilt their heads. If you notice this behavior in your dog while petting him, this isn’t a big deal, but you can redirect his attention by asking for a simple command such as sit. 

Your Dog Is Being Passive 

Yawning is often used as a passive behavior in dogs, and it is a way for dogs to communicate that they mean no harm. Dogs may do this around strange people and dogs and in situations that may make them feel a bit uncomfortable.

For example, your dog may yawn as a passive gesture while being petted by a stranger. Some other common signs of passive behavior in dogs include: 

● Avoiding eye contact 

● Leaning on or nuzzling into their owner

● Crouching low to the ground 

● Tucking their tail 

● Freezing 

● Excessive licking 

Submissive behavior can lead to extreme anxiety or stress in some cases. As a result, you may need to remove your dog from situations with strange dogs or people, causing your dog to become overly submissive.

Proper socialization is a must, and you may need to work on this more with a qualified dog trainer if this is a recurring problem with your dog. 

Your Dog Is Stressed

Stress is yet another common reason why dogs yawn while they are being petted. This may be the reason behind your dog yawning while being pet if a stranger is petting him or if you are petting him in a new, strange area.

Stress can quickly escalate to some behavior problems in dogs, so it is always suggested that you reduce your dog’s stress as soon as possible. You can reduce your dog’s stress by removing the stressful stimuli from your dog’s environment whenever possible. 

Your Dog Is Nervous

Like stress, anxiety and nervousness can cause a dog to yawn, even while being pet. This could occur if you are petting your dog during a fearful time, such as during a thunderstorm, and when you are petting your dog in a new area that makes your dog anxious.

In addition, your dog may also be anxious if a lot of new people are around. Some other common signs of anxiety in dogs include: 

● Excessive howling or barking 

● Excessive panting 

● Excessive drooling 

● Pacing and other restless behaviors 

● Destructive behaviors like chewing and digging 

● Sudden onset of aggressive behavior 

● Having an accident inside 

Although nervousness cannot be reduced as easily as stress in some cases, there are some things that you can do to reduce your dog’s anxiety. Removing your dog from a stressful environment and putting him in a calm, quiet, and comfortable room will help to reduce his anxiety.

Visiting the vet about this issue may be a good idea if your dog is a common issue. In addition, you may also benefit from receiving help from an animal behaviorist or a qualified dog trainer. 

Your Dog Is Excited 

Excitement and anticipation can cause a dog to yawn while being pet as well. This may be the cause if your dog is yawning while you pet him after coming home.

In addition, a dog may yawn out of excitement before a game of fetch or a fun walk. You can tell if a dog is yawning from excitement based on his body language. Some common signs of an excited and happy dog include: 

● Jumping and running around 

● Panting 

● Tail wagging 

● Giving a play bow 

● Barking, whining, or howling 

Although a happy and excited dog is no problem, an over-excited dog can sometimes escalate into unmanageable behavior.

If your dog becomes over-excited, then you should place him in a calm and quiet room until he calms down. This technique is similar to that for an anxious dog, and your dog should calm down relatively quickly. 

Your Dog Doesn’t Feel Good

 Being in pain and feeling sick can also stress a dog out and make them anxious, which can make them yawn while being pet.

This is especially true if your dog is resisting being pet because the action is painful for him, and many dogs wish to be left alone when they are sick or in pain in general. Some common signs of pain and illness to look out for in dogs include: 

● Vomiting and diarrhea 

● Any signs of blood 

● limping, trembling, and having difficulty walking 

● Extreme anxiety and hiding 

● Lethargy 

● Reduced appetite 

● Insomnia

● Obsessive behaviors like pacing 

If your dog is showing symptoms of illness or showing signs of pain, then you should take them to a vet as soon as possible. A vet will be able to treat your pet or put them on a treatment plan that will put them on the road to recovery.

Once they feel better or their pain is managed correctly, your dog’s symptoms of stress or anxiety should also be reduced. 

Why Do Dogs Yawn When You Cuddle Them

Usually, dogs yawn when they are being cuddled simply because they are comfortable and feeling tired. After all, cuddling on a soft bed or sofa is an excellent way for a dog to get ready for a nap. Your dog will also appear to be content and happy when this is the cause for their yawning. 

Occasionally dogs may also yawn while being cuddled because they are nervous. This is especially true if they do not like the way they are being cuddled or being cuddled by a stranger.

You can tell if a dog is feeling nervous by looking at its body language. A nervous dog may do things like avert eye contact and tuck its tail between its legs. 

Do Dogs Yawn When They Are Happy

Dogs sometimes yawn when they are happy and excited about something. If your dog is yawning before exciting things like a walk, game of fetch, or snuggle time, then this is likely the cause behind their yawning.

Like other causes for yawning, you can tell if a dog is yawning because he feels happy by paying attention to their body language. A happy dog will likely appear to be relaxed and confident. In addition, happy dogs may also wag their tails, play bow, and run or jump around. 

Do Dogs Yawn To Show Affection

In addition to the numerous other reasons why dogs yawn, sometimes dogs yawn as a way to show their owners affection.

This type of yawning occurs most often when they receive some attention from the people they love, such as playing with them and cuddling with them. A dog who is yawning to express their affection will make eye contact and appear happy and relaxed. 

Things To Consider

There are some other things to consider when it comes to dogs yawning while being pet. These include why it is essential to watch your dog’s body language and when you should see a vet about your dog’s yawning. Here are some other things that you should consider about your dog yawning while you pet him. 

It Is Important To Watch Your Dog’s Body Language

It is crucial that you pay attention to and understand your dog’s body language. This will help you to discover the reason why your dog is yawning in specific situations.

Yawning out of stress or fear and yawning as a result of drowsiness are very different for dogs. In addition, knowing the real cause behind your dog’s yawning while he is being pet will also help you decide if your dog needs some help from a vet, animal behaviorist, and a qualified dog trainer. 

When To See A Vet About Your Dog’s Yawning

There are some rarer instances where you may need to see a professional about your dog’s yawning habits. You should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if your dog is showing signs or symptoms of: 

● Pain or illness 

● Extreme anxiety or stress 

● Separation anxiety 

● Signs of extreme or frequent confusion 

● Any behaviors that become difficult to manage, such as frequent over excitement