Why Do Dogs Sigh?

If you’ve ever noticed your dog lying down after a long walk on its favorite spot and giving a big sigh, you probably witnessed one of the most satisfying aspects of dog ownership: a contented pup.

But why do dogs sigh? And do dogs sigh for the same reasons that humans do?

Dogs use various sounds and gestures to communicate, and a dog sighing can mean more than one thing. Yes, dogs do sigh when they are content. Still, a dog sigh needs to be considered with the rest of its body language to be correctly interpreted. Constant sighing, for instance, might be a sign of a deeper issue.

Therefore, if you find yourself asking, “why does my dog sigh?” we’ll need to unpack the topic a bit further.

What Does It Mean When My Dog Sighs?

Sighing amongst canines usually communicates either contentment, relaxation, or disappointment. However, when taken in the context of other behaviors, a sigh can also indicate pain or other health concerns, especially those related to inactivity.

Therefore, it’s essential to read your dog’s sighing in the context of its environment or what it has just been doing, as well as the rest of its body language to know what it means.

Sighing to conclude an activity and show relaxation

According to Stanley Coren, the most common reason dogs sigh is after they do something satisfying and want to relax for a while. For the owner, this is usually a sign of a job well done.

In this case, your dog might just have come back from a run or played a game of fetch with you in the garden. They usually make their way to their favorite sleeping spot, plop down with their head on their paws, or stretch out and release a sigh of contentment.

Their eyes are usually soft and only half-open during this sigh, indicating happiness and the need to relax for a while and have a nap.

Sighing to show disappointment

Yes, just like us, dogs sigh to show disappointment. It’s a simple way of revealing their emotions, although it is often overlooked.

A sigh of disappointment can be distinguished from a sigh of happiness, firstly by how alert your dog is at the time and how wide their eyes are.

They will usually be looking straight at you and making eye contact, rather than the soft, half-closed eyes of the contented sigh.

You can also tell what’s disappointing your dog based on what you are doing. If you eat the last slice of pizza but didn’t share any with your dog, or if you pick up the leash and put it down again without going for a walk, you might hear the sigh of a bummed-out canine.



Enjoy this blog? Let's stay connected ;)