June 29, 2022

Why Your Dog Stretches In Front Of You

Want to know why your dog stretches in front of you so much? This article will explain why and what kinds of stretching he could be exhibiting, as well as when you should be concerned.

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Stretching is probably something you’ve seen your dog do. You probably know that dogs have a reputation for being limber. The question is: what’s making your dog stretch in front of you? Is it just to get your attention — or is it something more serious? This blog will share some different kinds of dog stretches and when you need to be concerned about your dog stretching so much.

What’s making your dog stretch?

Many pet owners are used to seeing their dogs stretch and often don’t pay close attention to one of these common dog behaviors. Stretching is a common thing dogs do. You may be correct, but we shouldn’t be worried about it because we see it as normal behavior. Most importantly, we can all agree that stretching just feels good! But note that if your furry friend does excessive stretching regularly, it may be an implication of an essential desire or implicit condition. 

Your dog had a good sleep

Dog stretching under the blanket | Why Dogs Stretch

Dogs have a unique personalities and natural behavior. If we could only speak to them, there are different reasons why a dog stretches. Just like humans, we usually stretch our bodies after taking a nap. Your little pooch’s common body language gesture may show similar behavior when he wakes up. More on the scientific side, this is an excellent way for a dog’s body to re-calibrate some joint issues or their muscles while getting the fluids moving and redistributed in their system.

Your dog wants to greet you

Sometimes your dog just wants to stretch because he's so comfortable and, of course, to show a sign of affection. This kind of action might be the case when you wake up in the morning and find your pet sleeping on top of you or curled up on your pillow. Dogs find it comforting to lie beside or on top of you. It's also possible that your dog sleeps next to you because he feels more secure with his human nearby. For some dogs, their humans represent safety, security, and comfort.

Time for some fun and exercise 

Your dog also stretches because he just wants to invite you to play around. It can be a physical indication or aggressive behavior that your dog is ready to play. If you have ever been around a puppy, you will notice him stretching and usually followed by seeing their wagging tail and a vigorous bout of playtime with other pooches or their humans. You probably know how good it feels to stand up, stretch and walk around after sitting down in one position for several hours straight. Similarly, stretching can help dogs relieve tension and muscle tightness, much like regular exercise, just as it does with humans. This act is when your dog may also need some positive reinforcement training.

Your dog may have an upset stomach

Another reason dogs stretch is because of an upset or a bloated stomach. It might be something as simple as indigestion or could be something more severe like bloat or gastric torsion. Bloat can cause gastric torsion to occur. Gastric torsion is a severe health condition in which the stomach fills with air and twists on itself, cutting off the blood flow to the heart and other organs. Dogs with deep chests are particularly susceptible to bloating. Learn more.

Different kinds of dog stretch you need to know

We could all use a good stretch from time to time. And it turns out, so can our dogs. Just like people, dogs have different kinds of stretching. Here are the ones you're most likely to see and what they mean. 

Playtime or play bow stretch

This kind of action is just another dog’s invitation to play—"C'mon! Let's do something!" This playful bow, or when a dog bows, is often accompanied by bouncing or pawing at your feet. A play bow is their way of letting you know that they are up for some fun and games, not a sign of aggression, and an important part of their social interaction with dogs. Now that you know, it's pretty much a good idea to take your playful dogs outdoors or to a dog park when they do this next time. 

Morning stretch

This behavior is your dog's version of a morning cat-like arching of the back, combined with an up-stretched hind end and stretched front paws and legs. It helps dogs extend their muscles after a good night's sleep, so don't be surprised if you come across this one right after your dog wakes up in the morning. Your dog is waking up and trying to get the blood flowing. He might also be getting ready to go out for a walk on a hot day or just want a cuddle.

Greeting stretch

good idea for greeting pet owners | Why Dogs Stretch

Greeting stretch or greeting bow is usually accompanied by lifting a leg, a dog’s way of waving hello. Dogs lift their legs for various reasons, including marking territory or relieving themselves. But when this happens during a greeting stretch, it's probably because he's happy to see you, especially if this type of stretching includes yelps or whining.

The praying position stretch

Dogs do this long stretch position by taking their front legs forward and their tail-end high up in the air. This dog often implies that they are struggling with abdominal pain or pancreatitis. It is a method dogs use to ease a channel for trapped air to be quickly released for the pain to go away. Dogs innately know to take this position in response to canine bloat. This can be considered as one of the early symptoms of pancreatitis. Know more

The sploot

This dog stretch is amusing and the most fun to watch. Splooting is quite a strange way of stretching dogs do. This is considered a talent for some dog breeds, and Corgis are well known for their cute stature when they do this position, although all other dog breeds - and even cats - have been known to achieve this position. A dog's sploot depends on the level of its flexibility.

Dog splooting became so popular that dog parents came up with several alternate terms to describe it. This position can be referred to as:

  • Flying squirrel
  • Frog dog
  • Pancaking
  • Supermanning
  • Furry turkey, turkey leg, or drumsticks

As amusing as it is, there are different kinds of dog splooting.

The full sploot

This is the most common dog sploot with Corgis, Chihuahuas, and other short-legged breeds. Dogs do this by stretching both hind legs behind their body. They look the cutest on their back legs when they do this kind of sploot.

The half sploot

You’ll be able to identify this sploot when your dog stretches one hind leg straight back while tucking the other under his abdomen. One of the dog’s hips may be on the ground.

The side sploot

Dogs do this by sticking one hind leg out to the side while his other remains lodged near his body. I guess humans do this too. Lay down, and find your most comfortable position. You might find yourself doing the side sploot!

When a dog stretching may be a cause for concern

French Bulldog experiencing joint issues | Why Dogs Stretch

Dogs always suffer in silence. Making yourself accustomed to some of their actions, such as stretching, helps you to know your pooch more on a deeper level. There are some instances that dog stretching may already be related to a serious health condition:

  • Arthritis:  A common problem for many dogs, Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints causing pain, discomfort, and stiffness. Dog cartilage within a joint will somehow change or become damaged, making the bones in the joint rub together.
  • Ataxia: It is a problem in your pooch’s nervous system, which results in a lack of coordination. This is an indication of an underlying illness or injury. Common signs include swaying gait, staggering, head tilting, and falling.
  • Hip dysplasia: A dog condition that shows an unstable or loose fit of the hip joint that usually begins as they grow. In the worst cases, it typically leads to osteoarthritis of the hip joints.
  • Osteoarthritis: A most common chronic disease dogs face. It is a progressive medical condition, a degenerative disease that worsens and becomes very acute over time. 
  • Trauma: These conditions mentioned and other injuries may result in dogs' trauma. They may be showing decreased interest in a favorite activity and dog aggression.

As a dog parent, watching your dog’s behavior closely is the best initial step you can do to identify if they may be feeling some discomfort or health issues. There are several signs and symptoms to know when stretching may cause concern.

One sign that your dog may be feeling under the weather is when you see them slowing down. In most cases, dogs slow down because they are feeling chronic pain. The other signs of pain would be sleeping longer than usual, especially in the morning. This is when you may observe a habitual stretching behavior that they didn't do before.

There are instances that dogs take some time to sit down or get up. This is another sign of pain for your pooch. Some dog owners may not notice this, but observing your dog if they are doing anything they didn’t do before, such as thinking about sitting, thumping down, or walking themselves into a laying down position, can all be indications of pain and may lead to some serious medical condition. 

Another sign dogs may be in pain is refusing to go on walks. When you notice them avoiding the stairs or having difficulty climbing, it may be one of the serious reasons they have an underlying condition. A worse scenario could be their need to “bunny hop” using both hind legs just to get through. 

What To Do If Concerned

See your dog doctor

Visit your vet if you notice your dog has issues with its joints. Your vet will be able to perform an examination and offer advice for improving your dog’s mobility and general well-being. Your doctor will also be able to pinpoint any underlying problems and, at the same time, provide you with a plan of action.

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Relieving the pain

The first step is making the joint aches and pains go away. Reduced pain can also help him be active again to maintain a healthy weight and balanced diet. The excess weight gives your dog extra stress as well, so be on the lookout for their ideal weight for pooch’s good health and longevity.

Taking High Quality Dog Supplements

Dog supplements can be an excellent way to help your dog achieve ultimate joint health. They are worth the investment, as healthy joints are essential to the overall health of your pet. Make your dogs stretch because they are happy, not in pain.

5-in-1 Multivitamin Gravy is a multivitamin that helps with anxiety and mobility issues in dogs. It also comes in a chew form that helps with hip and joint well-being, skin and coat health, and immune function. The gravy topper can be added to your dog's food for an easy-to-administer daily supplement. The multivitamin for dogs contains no unnecessary artificial flavors or additives, just the essential nutrients your dog needs. Backed by science, with the science behind each ingredient listed on their website for full transparency, their vitamins and chews provide essential nutrients that support healthy hips and joints, immune function, skin and coat health, anxiety reduction, and mobility.

The Zesty Paws Multifunctional Bites are chews that support physical performance, antioxidants, hip & joint, heart, immune, skin, liver, & gut health for dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. It has Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help support joints and cartilage.

Key Takeaway 

When your dog stretches, it is not always a cause for concern. Your dog may stretch in the morning when it wakes up and in the evening when it is tired. It may also stretch when you come home to show its pleasure at your arrival.

But we can't deny the fact that sometimes there are still some problems your dog may encounter. When you own dogs, it's important to realize when they are healthy and when they aren't, to pay more attention and provide the care they need. If you notice that your pet is moving stiffly, has any swelling or pain in its joints, or drinks more water than usual when it gets back home, you should contact the veterinarian. I’m sure you want to help your dog as soon as possible when they are in distress. Examining them by a professional can help you solve or treat the problem, especially if it’s life-threatening.