Why Do Dogs Yawn?

Posted by Stacey Venzel
yawning dog

Do dogs yawn the same as humans?

You've probably seen a dog yawn when he stretches, oftentimes right after you ask, "Do you wanna go outside?"

Dogs yawn in anticipation--essentially when they're excited about something. But they can also yawn when they're feeling stressed.

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Yawning is known to be contagious among humans, but dogs will also yawn when they see their human yawn. This tends to happen more often when the dog is in the presence of a familiar person, particularly someone with which the pup has a strong bond.

A study done at the University of Tokyo in Japan concluded that yawns, especially passed contagiously, happened between pets and people close to them.

"Our study suggests that contagious yawning in dogs is emotionally connected in a way similar to humans," said Teresa Romero, who ran the study.

dog yawning

Many animals yawn, though much research still remains to understand exactly what causes a yawn, why it occurs, and how it is contagious. Social behavior in horses has been known to play a role in equine yawning.

If you notice a dog yawning, take a moment to assess your dog's body language. Dog trainers will tell you to try to use calming signals if there is a chance the dog may be stressed.

But if the pooch just wants to go outside and play, then by all means, get at it!

Do you and your dog often pass yawns back and forth? Tell us about your experience with contagious yawning in the comments below!

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Why Do Dogs Yawn?