Skip to Content

Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much? 7 Reasons + 3 Tips

Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much

Does your dog stretch a lot?

There are different types of stretching. The same goes for the reasons dogs do it.

You might be wondering what your dog’s stretching means…

And whether you should be concerned.

Here, you’ll discover:

  • 3 tips when your dog is stretching a lot.
  • 7 reasons why your dog stretches so much.
  • Meanings behind the different stretching positions.
  • And much much more…

Why does my dog stretch so much?

Your dog stretches so much because it makes them relaxed and feels comfortable. Or, they’re having a morning stretch. They also stretch when they have bloat or pancreatitis. It helps release the pressure off their stomach. Stretching can also be an invitation to play or a mating call. 

7 reasons why your dog stretches so much

#1: Bloat

Check your dog’s belly. Does it look swollen? Is it firm to the touch?

If yes, then your Fido might be suffering from bloat.

Bloat occurs when your dog’s stomach is filled with food, fluid, and gas. Which, as a result, will expand.

A dog parent shared that his Great Dane had a bout of bloat. One night, he found himself at the animal emergency.

He mentioned that he had been feeding his Great Dane with elevated and good-quality food. And made his dog drink plenty of water after eating.

He thought he was doing everything right. 

But he found out that eating out elevated food is a major contributing factor. And that the mortality rate for bloat is 50% with Danes. This was confirmed by the BluePearl specialists.

He had no idea that it’s life-threatening. And that giant breeds are prone to be afflicted.

According to a study, a bigger body weight is associated with increased odds of bloat. It highlights that certain large and giant breeds are at high risk.

Note: Great Dane is a giant breed. Other breeds that are also prone to this ailment include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Dobermans, Boxers, Weimaraners, and Bloodhounds.

In particular, dogs that weigh 88 lbs (40 kg) and above. But rarely does it afflict small breed dogs. Such as those that weigh 22 lbs (10 kg) and below.

One of the symptoms of bloat in canines is stretching with their front half down and rear end up. 

But it’s better to be sure by looking out for other signs.

Caution: It develops without warning and progresses quickly. It’s also a health emergency. (Like what the Great Dane had experienced.)

WebMD says these signs go with excessive stretching:

  • Pacing.
  • Drooling.
  • Acting restless.
  • Looking anxious.
  • Swollen stomach.
  • Trying to vomit, but nothing comes up.

Causes of bloat include eating:

  • Quickly.
  • Fermented food.
  • Or drinking too much.
  • Plenty of dry kibble in one sitting.

And last but not least, a lot of running or playing after they eat.

Bloat can be the reason for your dog’s stretching. They do so to relieve the pressure.

Note: According to Dr. Bell, older dogs are also at risk. After the age of 5, the risk of developing bloat goes up 20% each year. While for giant breeds, it goes up 20% each year after the age of 3.

#2: Pancreatitis

Canine pancreatitis is an inflammation of your dog’s pancreas. It’s another condition that causes pain to your dog’s belly.

And yes, causing them to stretch to relieve the pressure.

But how would you know if it’s pancreatitis?

Now, I’ll tell you about Ellie, a Miniature Schnauzer. She suffered from many symptoms.

The dog mom of Ellie shared her dog had a loss of appetite and vomiting. She also reported her being lethargic. And that she seemed to be suffering from pain around her belly.

Dr. Julie Buzby, her vet, diagnosed her with pancreatitis.

She points out that abdominal pain is a sign of pancreatitis when it’s sensitive to the touch. And is also very tense. 

Another sign is when a dog is stretching forward. The hind end is up in the air while the head is low to the ground.

In reality, the most common cause is idiopathic (can’t be determined). 

But there are risk factors such as breeds and a high-fat diet. 

Note: Inner South Vet Center says that hyperlipidemia is common in Schnauzers. It means they have excess fats in the blood. It also increases the risk of pancreatitis.

Other breeds are more prone to get pancreatitis. Such as Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, and Dachshunds.

But it doesn’t mean that other breeds can’t get this.

So the next time your pooch begs at the table, look at the food you’re eating. Greasy pork and gravy are a no-no for your Fido.

Some of the other risk factors of pancreatitis include:

  • Obesity.
  • Table scraps.
  • A high-fat diet.
  • Hypothyroidism.

#3: Invitation to play

Dog Stretches So Much As An Invitation To Play

Stretching can be a sign that your pooch is in the mood to play!

A play bow occurs when they stretch their front legs on the ground. Meanwhile, their back end is up in the air.

You might’ve seen this kind of stretching position a couple of times. But you had no idea then what your Fido was trying to tell you.

This behavior is neither a sign of aggression nor submission. Rather, an invitation to play. 

They’ll direct it at you because they don’t perceive you as a threat. 

Did you know that a play bow is also one of the hallmarks of mutual respect among dogs?

The play bow is reserved for friends that they enjoy being with. And also humans who make them comfortable.

Since it’s a positive behavior, your dog might also grin or bark in excitement.

Another sign of them initiating to play is when they paw the air or slap the ground.

Check out also: 19 Reasons Why Your Dog Winks (Back) At You With One Eye

#4: Splooting

Have you heard about “Corgi sploot”? Or have you seen one splooting?

It’s called “Corgi sploot” because of the way corgis lay down. It’s a type of stretch where they lie on their stomachs flat. And one or both legs stretched behind their body.

But it’s not only Corgis that do this adorable and snap-worthy position. Depending on their flexibility, other dogs can also sploot.

So why do they do this?

Splooting is a great way to relax their legs and hips. It also allows them to cool down by pressing their belly against the cold floors.

It’s common for puppies and some young dogs to lay like this. This is because their hips have more flexibility than those of senior dogs.

But you still need to watch out. 

Splooting might also be a cause of an injury or sickness. Such as:


Insect bites or allergies cause rashes. They occur on any part of your Fido’s body – commonly on the belly. 

These tiny red bumps are itchy and might cause your dog to sploot as a means of scratching it. 


Limping can cause your dog to sploot. It could be a result of joint issues and broken bones. 

Limps can either be gradual or sudden. Gradual limps happen slowly over time. While a sudden limp occurs right after an injury.


Your Fido might also be lethargic. If they’re splooting for long hours, something could be wrong. 

Especially if it continues for days. And you notice other clinical symptoms such as vomiting or weight loss. It can be a sign of infection or heart problem. 

Read further: Why Does My Dog Stretch Like A Cat? 9 Reasons Revealed

#5: Morning stretch

Well, Fido’s morning routine can start off like yours: a yawn and a long stretch.

Your dog might have curled up for long hours while asleep. So stretching comes instinctively in the morning. It allows them to get ready for the day.

Stretching is also essential for dogs in the wild. The muscles are at rest during their nap, making it hard for them to react to a sudden danger. 

So they stretch to reboot their system.

Dogs are active creatures. When they wake up, they’re likely to move around. They’re ready for activities.

But before all the action, they retrieve their mobility by stretching. It’s a natural signal for the muscles.

#6: Aggressive behavior

Did you know that stretching can also be a warning behavior? 

Dogs may stretch in readiness for an attack. Especially when there are strangers or potential intruders.

Even a warning for dogs that relatives bring over.

Dog trainer Stilwell says they may attack when you notice signs such as barking and growling. Also, when their ears are flat or prick up. 

They’ll also take an aggressive stance by stretching. It’s a warning for the humans and animals they perceive as a threat to back off. 

#7: Mating call

Dog Mating Call

Your Fido might be performing a stretch because they’re around a female dog. 

It’s an expression of sexual interest!

This is more common with male canines. Particularly the ones that haven’t been neutered. 

So how does this happen?

Courtship or the premating behavior will begin when the male Fido picks up the scent of a female dog in heat. Which can travel great distances.

So your Fido might also go to the neighborhood where the female resides.

When a female dog’s in heat, it means that they’re receptive to mating. As a result, their body will release hormones that male dogs can smell. 

They’ll also attract them with their reproductive odors. 

This makes males pay close attention. As well as spend some time showing courtship behaviors.

After some time, the males will perform a stretch. This means that they’re loosening up in readiness for mating. 

3 tips on what to do when your dog is stretching a lot

#1: Let your dog be

It’s common for dogs to stretch once in a while. As long as they don’t do it to attack, it’s fine.

If they don’t show signs of injury or illness, then you can consider stretching a normal behavior. 

So why not let them do their own form of yoga? Besides, it improves their flexibility and quality of life.

And on that note, you can now proceed to the next tip which is to…

#2: Help your dog stretch

Stretching is a great tool to relieve arthritic joints and reduce pain in aging dogs. Plus, to warm up your dog before exercise.

So how can you help your dog stretch?

First, remember to do it gently and slowly.

It’s important to warm the muscles. To do that, you can give a gentle massage.

This is necessary to reduce the risks of injury from overstretching.

Then start guiding your Fido to do these stretching methods:

Stretching the shoulder flexor

Stretch your dog’s shoulder flexor by lying them down on their side. It’s recommended when your dog has joint issues. If your dog doesn’t suffer from such, they can do it in a standing position.

Gently grasp their forearm in front of the elbow. Then, stretch it forward. Hold it for 15-30 seconds. Then, do the same thing with the other forearm.

Stretching the chest

Have your dog in a sitting position. Gently move their limb away from the chest to the side. Hold it for 15-30 seconds. Then repeat with the other side. 

Stretching the hip flexors

Have your dog in a standing position and extend the hind limb backward. Keep your dog’s pelvis and back parallel with the ground.

Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and do it as well with the other side.

Stretching the back

Get some treats because you’re going to need them with this method.

Have your dog in a standing position. Then, get your dog to follow the treat towards their tail. Their body should bend in a C-shape. 

You can also get them to follow the treat between their front legs. At this point, they should do a front bend. 

#3: Take your dog to a vet

Make an appointment with your vet for an evaluation. Especially if the stretching continues and your dog shows signs of illness and injury.

They’ll be able to feel your dog’s knees, hips, or do a neurological examination to look for back pain.

They can also help with other necessary treatments. 

People also ask:

Why does my dog keep stretching his back legs?

Your dog keeps stretching his back legs because it feels good.

They may do it with their belly against the cold floor to cool themselves down.

This kind of stretching is called “splooting”. The back legs are stretched while the belly lies flat on the floor.

It’s common in short-legged breeds such as Corgis and Chihuahuas. Though, other breeds can also do it depending on their flexibility.

They may engage in such an adorable position because:

  • It cools body temperature.
  • It provides full-body stretch.
  • It’s relaxing and comfortable.

But in some instances, it may be a cause for concern. For example, when your Fido has hip and joint issues, they’ll sploot to ease the discomfort.

Sploot type of dog stretching may be related to:

  • Injury.
  • Trauma.
  • Arthritis.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Osteoarthritis.

Why do dogs stretch when they wake up?

Dogs stretch when they wake up to get their muscles ready for activity. The muscles are inert and at rest while sleeping. So stretching warms them up and gets the blood flowing.

Morning stretching is a healthy and natural habit. It even strengthens your dog’s muscles and makes them ready for running.

Isn’t it adorable when it’s the first thing you see from your pooch in the morning? They’ll extend their legs and sometimes give their body a good shake.

Why does my dog yawn and stretch so much?

Your dog yawns and stretches so much because they’re tired. Dogs yawn when they’re tired or stressed. They may also stretch to relieve back pains caused by overexertion.

Was your Fido busy throughout the day with a lot of training and physical or mental activities? If it’s common for them to yawn and stretch before going to bed. Then stretching is a sign of fatigue.

If they wake up in the morning with their energy back, then that’s more likely the case. But they might be sick if it persists.

There’s a difference between “just tired” and sick. To rule out any sickness. lookout for these signs:

  • Drooling.
  • Losing weight.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Dry or itchy skin.
  • Drinking too much.
  • Coughing or sneezing.
  • Dry, red, or cloudy eyes.

Why does my dog stretch when I pet him?

Your dog stretches when you pet him because they’re comfortable with you. It’s an engaging stretch that communicates a bond between you two. Sometimes they’ll hold steady eye contact with you while their ears are relaxed.

They will direct this stretch at people they don’t perceive as a threat. 

It can also mean that they’re in a playful mood. Your Fido may also bounce and stretch against you. 

Do dogs stretch when they are in pain?

Dogs stretch when they’re in pain. Especially when they’re suffering from bloat or pancreatitis. Both of these make your pooch uncomfortable. So they’ll stretch to release the pressure off their stomach.

Bloat occurs when their stomach is filled with gas. It’ll twist upon itself so both the entrance and exit become blocked.

Giant dog breeds such as Great Danes and German Shepherds are more prone to suffer from bloat.

Pancreatitis occurs when your dog’s pancreas is inflamed. Like bloat, it causes pain around the bellies, which causes discomfort. 

Your dog can be at risk when their diet is high in fat. Too much bacon, beef, and gravy can put your dog’s health in danger.