Stretching is normal behavior among dogs, and it’s also adorable to see. However, stretching can be due to a variety of reasons and it can also become excessive. So why does my dog stretch so much? Your pet might be suffering from an upset stomach, attracting a mate, or dragging its back legs.
In this post, I will discuss these reasons and if you should be alarmed about the excessive stretching of your pet.
Why does my dog stretch a lot?
The following are some of the reasons behind a dog’s excessive stretching. Take note that these are inconclusive and you should still consult the vet if you’re worried about your dog:
1. Stomach pain
An upset and aching stomach will push your dog to stretch a lot. Your dog does this in an effort to release the tension it’s feeling within the stomach.
I suggest that you check your dog’s tummy and put your ear on its stomach. If it has gurgling sounds, your dog might be having a stomach ache. You can bring your dog outdoors and see if it will eliminate.
Most of the time, stomach ache occurs when your dog gulps large amounts of water after playtime. Also, your dog probably ate too fast.
Usually, this stomach ache will be quelled by either pooping or vomiting. You should watch out for both to prevent a mess in your house.
If your dog’s apparent stomach ache isn’t going away, you should consider the possibility of pancreatitis. This condition occurs when the pancreas swells, which causes the digestive enzymes to spill over into the abdominal cavity.
This will cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite, and lethargy on the affected canine. You will also notice increased stretching as a way to ease the pain the dog is feeling.
During a pancreatitis attack, your dog will do the ‘praying position’. This is when the rear of the dog is sticking up while its head is on the floor.
Take note that pancreatitis should be taken seriously because it can put your dog’s life at risk.
3. Gastric torsion
Another health issue you should watch out for is gastric torsion. Also known as canine bloat or gastric dilation volvulus, this condition occurs when too much air and food accumulate in the stomach.
It causes intense distension, which will push the stomach to twist. In a matter of hours, this condition can take a deadly turn and even kill a canine if not given immediate veterinary care.
If your dog is pacing, stretching too much, and has an enlarged belly, you should phone the vet right away. While most cases of distension will work itself out, gastric torsion becomes deadly by the hour.
Depending on your dog’s condition, the vet will trigger vomiting to release the gas and food stuck inside. In worst cases, the vet may have to puncture a hole in the canine’s stomach to abate the distension.
Early detection and treatment will prevent gastric torsion from taking a deadly turn. This is why you should never dismiss your dog’s excessive stretching as something cute or typical.
If your dog doesn’t appear to have an upset or distended stomach, an injury might be the culprit to excessive stretching. Some dogs will hurt their rear legs and drag it, which may appear as if it’s stretching continuously.
If the stretching stops after a few seconds, your doggo is probably just flexing its hips and back. But if it lingers, you should check the dog’s back legs for potential injuries.
Try squeezing your dog’s rear leg gently and see if it will whimper in pain. Also, you should observe how your dog walks. If it drags the back legs or limps, there’s usually an injury present. You should make an appointment with the vet as soon as possible.
5. Bowing to a mate
On a less serious note, your dog’s excessive stretching might be a way to attract a mate. If your dog stretches too much when another dog is present, it might be trying to get its attention. This is the common explanation whenever two dogs of the opposite sex keep on stretching toward each other.
This gesture is like a mating call observed on almost every unfixed canine. It’s usually harmless unless you don’t want your dog to get pregnant or impregnate another canine.
Why do dogs stretch when they wake up?
It’s for the same reason why we, humans, stretch when we wake up. Dogs stretch and shake to loosen up their tight joints and muscles after hours of sleeping. This behavior can also be traced in the wild when dogs have to be physically ready to run to hunt for food or escape a predator.
Also, failure to stretch will injure a dog once it has to run fast. Even after domestication, canines still bear this ingrained trait in them.
Since dogs are active creatures, there’s no doubt that they always want to be in the run. That starts with a nice, lazy stretch after a restful slumber.
Why does my dog keep stretching his neck?
If it happens after sleeping, your dog is probably just loosening up some tight muscles. However, if the neck stretching occurs too often, you should consider the possibility of a physical problem.
The first possible reason here is a stiff neck. Like us, dogs can have stiff necks, which will they find it hard to move. This appears as if the doggo is stretching its neck continuously. This can be due to a pinched nerve that may or may not require veterinary care, depending on the severity.
Do dogs stretch when they are in pain?
Yes, dogs stretch when they are in pain. Some will take the ‘praying position’ while others will sport the ‘seahorse’ posture, which makes the body look rigid.
Aside from stretching, you should also check for eye changes in your dog to know if it’s in pain. In general, body pain will dilate the pupils. If your pooch is reluctant to move or whimpering, it’s safe to assume that it’s suffering from pain or discomfort.
If you can’t determine the cause of pain, it’s best to bring the dog to the vet’s clinic.
What does it mean when a dog stretches in front of you?
When a dog stretches and bows in front of you, it’s usually inviting for playtime. The canine’s tail will also be wagging in excitement. It’s a dog’s way of letting you know that it wants some fun.
Also, performing the ‘praying position’ in front of you is a sign that a dog is friendly. Take note that standoffish and aloof canines will never show their vulnerable side. This means that the dog feels safe and it trusts you.
Such a stretch is also called the ‘play bow’. The dog’s chest is on the ground, its rear on the air, and its tail wagging.
Why does my dog stretch so much? Most of the time, stretching isn’t a cause of concern. But if it becomes too much, your dog might be experiencing stomach pain and other serious medical conditions. If you’re worried, you can always consult the vet and have your pet checked.