Why Do Dogs Sigh? The Science of a Dog’s Deep Breath


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Why do dogs sigh? Sometimes, when your dog sighs, it's hard not to feel a little concerned.

You might be wondering why your furry friend is taking a deep breath and why they seem so unhappy.

Is your dog stressed out? Sick? Depressed? The answer is actually a lot more complicated than you might think.

In this blog post, we will explore the science of why does your dog sigh, and what it means for your pup!

Dogs sigh for many reasons

Just like humans, they might sigh when they're content or stressed, when they're trying to get your attention, or when they're in pain.

However, the most common reason why dogs sigh is to release built-up energy and tension.

That said, let's have a look at the most common reasons why dogs sigh:

Stressed or anxious

When dogs are stressed, their bodies produce a hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol is responsible for the fight-or-flight response, which helps animals (and humans) survive in dangerous situations.

While this stress response can be beneficial in short bursts, it's not meant to be continual.

When cortisol levels are constantly high, it can lead to health problems like weight gain, heart disease, and anxiety.

Consistently high stress and anxiety levels are not normal, and should be checked by the vet when you can!

Uncomfortable or in pain

Dogs might also sigh when they're uncomfortable or in pain.

If your dog is sighing and also panting, pacing, whining, or shaking, it's important to take them to the vet to rule out any medical problems.

There could be an underlying health issue causing your dog to feel discomfort, so it's always best to err on the side of caution.

So if your dog's frequent sighing is accompanied by the above symptoms, as well as a lack of energy or appetite, it's a good sign to bring them to a vet for a checkup. (source)

Attention-seeking behavior

Another reason why dogs sigh is to get our attention. Dogs are very good at reading human body language and vocal cues.

They know that we tend to respond positively to certain behaviors, like sitting and shaking hands.

So if your dog wants your attention, they might try sighing to see if it gets them the response they're looking for.

So yes, sometimes a dog sighs a lot to literally get your attention.

This may also be a sign that your dog isn't getting enough attention from you, or possibly enough mental stimulation, or interaction with their favorite humans.

Or possibly a combination of the three.

Releasing tension and calm down

When dogs are tense, their muscles tighten and they start to feel anxious.

Sighing is a way for them to release that tension and calm down.

It's similar to the way humans might take a deep breath when we're feeling stressed.

So next time your dog sighs, don't worry! They're probably just trying to relax.

Saying goodbye

No, not goodbye into the afterlife - when you go to work, or leave the house with them.

Some dogs also sigh when they're about to say goodbye to their humans.

This might be because they know that you're leaving and they don't want you to go.

Or it could be a way of trying to get your attention so that you'll stay with them a little longer.

Either way, it's a pretty sad moment for both of you - if it's a local grocery run and they all dogs in, maybe bring them there, too!

So why do dogs sigh? It could be for any number of reasons—they might be stressed, in pain,

Contented and happy

When your dog sighs and is also wagging their tail, it's a good indication that they're contented and happy.

This is usually accompanied by a relaxed body posture. So if you see your dog sighing and looking content, there's no need to worry!

So if you ever wondered 'why does my dog sigh when I pet him' - now you know. He's just really contented with life (and you petting him)


Sometimes, your dog might sigh out of boredom. This can happen when they're not getting enough mental stimulation or exercise.

If your dog is yawning and sighing a lot, it might be a good idea to take them for a walk or play some games with them to tire them out.

A tired dog is a happy dog!


So what does it mean when a dog sighs?

Well, it could range from just normal boredom, to relaxation and contentment, to possible signs of distress.

As always, if your dog is accompanied by other symptoms, it's always best to take them to the vet just to be sure.

But in most cases, a dog's sigh is nothing to worry about. So the next time you hear your pup sigh, just give them a little cuddle and let them know that everything is alright.

about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.

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