Why Do Dogs Yawn When You Pet Them

Dogs are known to be man’s best friends for a reason. They are loyal, cuddly, and affectionate creatures that make our lives much more fulfilling. One of the things that dog owners often notice is that their pets tend to yawn when they are petted. This might seem like an odd behavior, but it actually has a lot of interesting reasons behind it.

So, why do dogs yawn when you pet them? There are several possible explanations for this behavior, and we will explore each one in detail in this article.

1. Dogs Yawn as a Sign of Stress

One of the most common reasons why dogs yawn when they are petted is because they are feeling stressed or anxious. This might happen if the dog is being petted by someone they don’t know very well or if they are in an unfamiliar environment.

When a dog is stressed, its body releases cortisol, which is a hormone that can cause yawning. By yawning, the dog is trying to release some of the tension in its body and calm itself down.

2. Dogs Yawn as a Sign of Comfort

On the other hand, sometimes dogs yawn when they are being petted because they feel comfortable and relaxed. This happens when the dog trusts the person who is petting them and feels safe in their presence.

In this case, the yawn is not a sign of stress but rather a sign of contentment. The dog might also stretch out or wag its tail as a way of showing its happiness.

3. Dogs Yawn as a Sign of Boredom

See also  can dogs eat pickles

Another possible reason why dogs yawn when they are being petted is because they are bored. Dogs need mental stimulation just like humans do, and if they don’t get enough of it, they can become restless and bored.

If your dog is yawning frequently when you pet them, it might be a sign that they need more exercise, playtime, or mental stimulation in their daily routine.

4. Dogs Yawn as a Sign of Empathy

Believe it or not, dogs can also yawn as a sign of empathy. This means that if they see someone else yawning, they might yawn too, even if they are not feeling tired or stressed themselves.

In some cases, this might happen when the dog sees its owner yawning or when it is around other dogs who are yawning. It’s a way of showing that the dog understands and relates to what others are feeling.

5. Dogs Yawn as a Sign of Social Hierarchy

Finally, dogs might also yawn when they are being petted as a way of establishing social hierarchy. In the wild, animals often use body language and other signals to communicate their status within a group.

By yawning when they are being petted, dogs might be trying to assert their dominance over the person doing the petting. This is more likely to happen with dogs that have a strong personality or are used to being in charge.


In conclusion, there are several possible reasons why dogs might yawn when they are being petted. It could be a sign of stress, comfort, boredom, empathy, or social hierarchy. As a dog owner, it’s important to pay attention to your pet’s body language and behavior so you can understand what they are trying to tell you.

See also  why are dogs better than cats

If your dog seems to be yawning excessively or displaying other signs of stress or anxiety, it’s important to address the underlying issue. This might involve making changes to your dog’s daily routine or seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

Overall, the next time your furry friend yawns while you’re giving them some love and affection, remember that there’s often more going on beneath the surface than meets the eye!