My Dog is Stretching a Lot - What It Means and What To Do

You’ve probably seen your dog stretching pretty regularly over the years.

Sometimes they do it before or after taking a nap or when they’re letting you know, they want to go outside.

But if your dog is stretching more than usual or seems to do so in a strange way, it could potentially (though rarely) be a sign that you need to look into this.

Did you know that digestive problems like dog bloat can cause dogs to stretch constantly?

It occurs when Fido's stomach twists on itself due to gas buildup.

This could be a potentially fatal ailment and needs emergency veterinary care.

Dogs may therefore stretch to ease the discomfort brought on by the bloating.

According to studies, not only is this problem more common in larger breeds, but the risk also rises with advancing age.

Dog is Stretching a Lot

My Dog is Stretching a Lot: What It Means and What To Do

It Can Be a Sign of an Upset Stomach

A dog may be stretching a lot to attempt to release pressure build-up in the stomach.

As mentioned, one of the more common warnings from veterinarians is about canine bloat, but not all pet owners know how serious this condition actually is.

When gasses build up inside your dog’s tummy, the abdomen begins to stretch and push up against the other surrounding organs.

Check your dog’s stomach.

Does it look overly round or emit any gurgling sounds? Is it warm to the touch? Is your pup drooling excessively?

If so, these are all signs of dog bloat, which is serious and can be fatal if not treated quickly enough.

To avoid this from happening, pay attention to how much water your pup drinks when they come in from playtime.

Allow their breathing to slow for a few minutes and allow their temperature to drop.

Please give them a reasonable amount of water, and remove it once they’ve had enough to hydrate a little, but not so much that they’re gulping down an entire bowl.

Additionally, it would help if you didn’t feed your dog until its breathing completely returned to normal.

If you struggle with a canine who gobbles up their food within a few bites, try using a puzzle bowl instead so that they’re forced to eat individual pieces.

Some claims have been made that elevated dog food bowls may prevent canine bloat; however, there is no evidence of that, and it appears to be a myth.

In fact, some studies show the opposite – that raised bowls may cause bloating in dogs.

Dragging of the Hind Legs

Dragging of the Hind LegsGenerally, this isn't a cause for concern. When it happens for the first time, it can be scary to see your

Fido pulls themselves across the grass, hind legs dangling behind them.

While there could be a potential for an injury, more often than not, they’re probably just trying to stretch out their hips and back.

Some canines are a little more flexible than others and enjoy doing their own little form of yoga whenever needed.

If you’re unsure, check if your dog isn’t in serious pain.

Gently squeeze and apply pressure to the paws, ankles, legs, and hips, and observe the dog's reaction.

Don’t forget to run your hand along the inner thigh to check for strains.

If your pooch is experiencing any discomfort, back off immediately – it's a clear sign you may need to schedule a veterinarian appointment.

Do not bother with the possible injury any further to avoid more harm or risk getting bitten.

Unaltered Pets

Some dogs who haven’t been fixed will often perform a “bow” for would-be suitors.

It works almost like a mating call and is not something to be concerned about.


Like canine bloat, a dog with early stages of pancreatitis may try to lengthen their abdominal muscles to take pressure off of its stomach through stretching.

The symptoms for the two are very similar and can be confusing, which is why it's so important to get your dog to a vet if they appear to show any such signs.

If your pet appears to be feverish, hunched over when standing, or weak, along with a similar distended belly accompanied by bloat, pancreatitis is always possible, and an immediate vet appointment is needed.


SplootingIf you’ve never heard this term before, splooting means you have a dog who likes to lie down completely flat and stretch out with its belly on the floor.

Labs and Greyhounds have long legs that need plenty of room to extend their limbs when lying down; splooting is just a way for them to feel a little more relaxed.

You’ll see more dogs doing this in the summertime when the weather gets warmer – they'll be digging holes and setting their bellies inside while they lie in a “sploot” position to get some cooling on their bottom area.

Wanting More Exercise

If your dog wants more exercise, it will do stretches.

In some cases, not exercising may make your dog sore.

If you notice lots of stretching and have high energy, take your dog on more walks or play fetch. 

Your Dog Just Likes It

As with humans, some dogs will stretch just because they like how it feels.

Stretching is Rarely a Cause for Alarm

Generally, a lot of stretching is not a cause for concern.

As the dog ages, you may see them stretch, sploot, grunt, and gurgle more often.

They’re not as flexible, and their digestion is questionable at times.

Extra stretching here and there in their natural reactions to such things, and as long as you’re still taking them to the vet for regular checkups, you don’t need to stress over it.

If you feel like you need to do something to help your pup with flexibility and decrease obsessive stretching, consider taking them out for a swim or try hydrotherapy.

They’ll likely benefit from it even if they aren’t stiff, and it’ll also help give them some low-impact exercise regularly.

Regularly inspect your pet's knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles for any swelling or difficulties with mobility.

Dog is Stretching a Lot

How Can You Tell If You Should Be Worried About Your Dog Stretching?

In situations where my dog is stretching a lot is rarely cause for concern; how do you know if you should be worried?

Ask yourself the following questions to figure it out. 

  • When did it start stretching more?
  • Does it stretch more at a certain time of the day?
  • Have we changed your dog’s routine recently?
  • Does your dog seem to be in pain?
  • Does it have any injuries? 
  • Does your dog have any other symptoms? (such as vomiting or labored breathing)

What to Do About Your Dog Stretching a Lot

If you thought about those points and are a bit worried, try confirming that your dog gets enough exercise.

If your dog is still stretching a lot and you’re concerned or notice other symptoms, take your pet to the vet.

Dog is Stretching a Lot

Still Not Sure Why My Dog Is Stretching a Lot? And Other Common Questions and Answers

We want you never to have to worry about your dog and why it is stretching a lot.

That’s why we compiled this list of FAQs about my dog stretching a lot and giving you all the above information. 

What Does It Mean If My Dog Stretches a Lot?

There can be plenty of reasons your dog stretches a lot. It can be relaxing, part of mating, or just normal behavior after a nap.

Although rare, stretching sometimes indicates your pooch is in pain. If your dog stretches more than normal, consult a vet. 

Do Dogs Stretch When They Are in Pain?

Some dogs may stretch when they are in pain. Others may stand very rigidly. It depends on your dog.

Just be on the lookout for unusual behavior and take your dog to the vet if you notice anything odd. 

Why Does My Dog Keep Stretching Its Front Legs?

Your dog may just be stretching because it’s relaxing or got up from resting. This type of stretching may also indicate pain.

Pay attention to other behavior to see if you should be worried. 

Why Is My Dog Getting Bigger?

If your dog eats too much and doesn’t get enough exercise, it can gain weight. Your dog may also gain weight if it has a medical condition or is on a new medication. 

Why Does My Dog Keep Staring at Me?

Dogs commonly stare at their humans as a way to show that they love you. If your dog is staring at you, take it as a sign of love.

Why Your Dog is Stretching a Lot: Before You Go

It may be a clue that your dog is ambivalent if it stretches out a lot to welcome people, ask to play, and display conflicting emotions.

Nobody can blame dogs for enjoying a nice stretch; after all, who doesn't?

However, excessive stretching or modifications to stretching routines may point to underlying medical conditions like pancreatitis.

As a fur parent, you should watch Fido's stretching routine and get advice from the vet if you see any changes.


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My Dog is Stretching a Lot - This is What It Means and What To Do

Shelly lives in Iowa with her husband and Australian Shepherd named Tex. She's been an animal lover since she was a child. Currently, she enjoys reading and writing about dogs, and spending time with her family and getting involved in all things pets.