Why is My Dog Yawning So Much?

If your dog is anything like ours, they spend their days lounging around, switching up nap locations in between meals, walks, and play sessions. So when you look over to see them yawning away, you may be wondering, “With such a relaxing lifestyle, why is my dog yawning so much?”

Believe it or not, yawning is not always reflective of being tired. Instead, it can be reflective of a range of emotions in dogs, from happiness and content, to stress and anxiety. But to really determine the root cause of your dog’s excessive yawn behavior, it helps to understand what causes dogs to yawn, and why – and the Happy Puppy Tips team is here to help!

Our writers have gathered the information you need to determine if your pup’s yawning is just business as usual, or the cause of a health ailment you may need to address. Read on as we dive into it.

Why Do Dogs Yawn?

When we need to wake up a tired brain, either from boredom or exhaustion, we yawn. But for dogs, yawning can be a way to express a range of emotions and environmental changes. As an example, yawning is most likely to occur in a warm room, since a yawn floods the brain with oxygen and has a cooling effect. So when dogs experience a warmer rise in temperatures, they’ll yawn as their bodies adjust.

But that’s not the only transitional element that leads your pup to yawn. Neuroscientists have performed extensive research on yawning that shows that, for both dogs and humans, yawns often come during moments of transition from one behavioral state to another. These include the process of waking up, falling asleep, shifting from an anxious state to a calm state, or moving from boredom to alertness.

However, there are three common behavioral and environmental shifts that are causing your dog to yawn more than usual: 


For dogs, yawns can be a physical reaction to stress and a way to try and calm themselves. For example, you may notice your pup yawns more than usual during situations that are particularly stressful for them, like a trip to the vet or during a thunderstorm

On the other hand, dogs can also yawn to avoid a stressful situation and deflect a threat. As an example, if another animal is approaching your pup, your dog may avert their gaze and use a yawn as body language to signal to say they feel threatened or anxious, and want to avoid a conflict. 


Depending on the situation, dog yawning can translate to excitement. Excited yawns are also usually paired with a bit of a breathy “howl,” which also reflects pure excitement for what’s going on in the moment. 

For example, if you grab their leash for a walk and they begin running around with a gaped mouth, they’re telling you how excited they are in anticipation for their walk. 


It’s no secret that yawns are contagious – and not just between humans! The same concept applies to dogs, and there’s a bit of scientific evidence to back it up. A study done by British psychologists determined dogs are as susceptible to the contagious yawn as people are. Don’t believe it? Yawn in front of your pup to see if it works! 

More often than not, yawning is just a part of your dog’s normal day to day bodily functions. 

But if you notice your dog is yawning more often or in rapid succession, you definitely want to pay attention. 

Excessive yawning—or a string of yawns one right after the other—paired with other common signs of anxiety (like panting, lack of appetite, and hiding) can be a signal that your dog is in distress. Try to calm their environment and remove them from the stressful situation, and contact your vet so you can work on a remedy plan to get your pup back to normalcy.

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