Dog stretches a lot—it is a natural behavior in animals. Have you ever seen a cat kneading? How about a leopard gecko putting all hands in the air? Such occurrences may seem pretty silly at first, but know that these are specially designed mechanisms by nature to regulate their bodies.
But what might seem to be a problem is the excess of this behavior. Dog owners often ask, “why does my dog stretch so much?”
It could be simply due to tiredness, or the behavior may be the symptom of a medical issue. In this article, we will take a closer look at all the possible drivers of dog stretching.
Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much?
1. Wanting Exercise
Dog stretching may be a sign that your dog wants to exercise. If your dog is not getting enough activity, he can begin to stretch more than usual. Some dog breeds are, by nature, more energetic than others and thus require frequent exercise sessions.
Dogs that receive little to no exercise may become sore and begin to stretch to ease their discomfort. Your dog may stretch more frequently if you have not been taking him for walks or other activities.
If your dog is stretching a lot after a long day, he may just be exhausted. This often happens just before the dog goes to bed at night when tiredness overwhelms him after the day’s activity.
However, if your dog seems overweight and not very active, such tiredness may result from a poor diet and weight. Consequently, you may need to worry a bit as this can lead to some long-term health problems for your dog, just as an overweight person is more likely to experience fatigue than someone fit and healthy.
Splooting is a way for animals to relax and enjoy themselves. It happens when they lie flat on their belly and stretch their hind and front legs. Dogs, being no exception, also do it. They usually resort to splooting more often when the weather is too hot. Some dogs may even dig holes in the ground to get more cooling on their bellies during the heat. If your dog is acting this way on a hot day, check his body temperature.
Did You Know?Research states that all dog breeds are capable of splooting to some extent. However, it was the Corgis who initially started doing it.
4. Affection and Playtime
Playful canines frequently stretch in front of their owners or other persons when they feel at ease. That is because they merely get ready for playtime by warming up their muscles and legs while subtly manifesting their affection. Of course, if the dog is acting a little playful, this is entirely natural. This kind of stretch is utilized for communicating to other dogs that the dog is not aiming to be hostile. A wagging tail and a pleasing countenance also accompany it.
Stretching is an expression of sexual intimacy, normally performed by males. Dogs can sense when another female is in heat. As soon as they get such an idea, they stand up, stretch, and prepare to mate. If your dog is stretching a lot, it might be because he has a lot of female canines around him! As mentioned earlier, dogs prepare their bodies before engaging in any activity. If it is mating, they would even stretch for that.
6. Health Issues
- Bloating: Overstretching may be a precursor to bloat. It is typically more prevalent in large breeds and is brought on by eating or drinking too soon after exercise. Swollen stomach, excessive drooling, restlessness, and nausea are typical symptoms.
- Pancreatitis: It is the inflammation of the pancreas that can cause severe irritation in the abdomen, causing a dog to stretch often to release the pressure. It usually results from the early activation of enzymes, which leads to a pancreas consuming itself. Common signs include diarrhea, vomiting, and decreased appetite.
- Acid Reflux: It is an irritable condition in dogs in which the acid from the stomach overflows into the esophagus. This can cause enough discomfort to your pet to make him stretch. Common signs include smacking lips and vomiting bile.
Should I Be Concerned?
By and large, stretching is not a problem in dogs, even if they do it frequently. Just like humans, stretching is natural for our canine fellas. In almost all organisms, muscle tone increases after a long period of rest.
Stretching relaxes the muscles and makes your dog more agile. As your dog gets older, there are some things to worry about if he stretches so much. Do not forget to take your puppy for regular veterinary check-ups. Also, regularly check his joints for signs of pain or mobility issues.
What to Do If My Dog Stretches a Lot?
- Forget About It: As mentioned earlier, stretching in all beings is a natural occurrence and rarely a cause of concern. There is a lot of high chance that your fido is doing it only to relax its muscles. So, why worry about that? You relax your muscles; let him relax his!
- Keep Him Physically Active: Since too much stretching can be a result of too much weight accumulation, you need to keep your dog lean. It is also important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But never exhaust your dog—it will only make him stretch even more.
- Talk to a Vet: If you notice a high body temperature or the signs of bloating or pancreatitis, you need to get the help of a professional. There is no better way to fix your dog’s unusual habit than to adhere to what experts say.
How to Properly Exercise My Dog to Avoid Excessive Stretching?
- Walking: Set a goal of getting your dog at least 30 minutes of walking each day. To add more fun to your walks, try playing fetch. It will also make your dog work harder, especially if the terrain is hilly.
- Hydrotherapy: It is a great alternative for senior dogs. As canines age, various knee and joint issues show up, which make them unfit for running and even walking. If your dog happens to be as such, making him swim often is a great idea.
Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much? Final Words
Dogs might stress so much generally out of dormancy or tiredness. Other than those, some health issues and conditions can also prompt such behavior in your dog. However, by and large, it is a nonissue and a normal action present in almost all living creatures. So you do not have to worry about your dog stretching so much. But if you do spot any health problems, go ahead and consult a vet.