Behavior

Why Does My Dog Sigh?

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Author: Jacob Kay

Your dog sighed when you ruffled their head and patted their back. They let out another sigh after dinner and another after a walk. And you wondered to yourself: Why Does My Dog Sigh?

They’re not taunting you, or maybe they are. We’re going to find out together why your pup sighs. It’s for the cutest reasons. So strap in, and let’s find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Humans sigh to express sadness, relief, or tiredness. It’s different in dogs. They sigh to communicate emotions whether it be positive or negative.
  • We can tell the emotion they are trying to express through their eyes. If they have half-closed, droopy eyes, it suggests they are happy and content. If your pet has its eyes fully open, it suggests that your pet is disappointed or upset.
  • Your pooch may sigh when they’re cuddled up next to you. This indicates, they’re content and love to be in your arms. They may sigh after playing with you, expressing disappointment that the fun day is over.
  • It can also be a behavior they have picked up from you. You may notice that they sigh back at you after you sigh. They may be acting in this way to get attention; they most likely want to be caressed.
  • Sighing is usually nothing to be concerned about. However, if they start showing other symptoms like lethargy and nose leaking mucus or pus, it is time to show the vet.
why does my dog sigh?

What Is Sighing?

Oxford Languages defines sighing as: “a long, deep audible exhalation expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or similar.” It aligns with us humans. We sigh after a long day’s work, usually expressing relief. We sigh in frustration after fights with loved ones when we cannot come to a resolution.

But, it’s different in dogs. A sigh can indicate both positive and negative emotions. It depends on their eyes. If they sigh with their eyes half open, they are experiencing contentment and pleasure.

dog eyes half open

When a sigh is accompanied by eyes wide open, it indicates disappointment and sadness.

dog eyes open

Why Does My Dog Sigh?

Dogs sigh when they’re content with their life, they sigh before going to bed. You’ll notice they sigh when they’re cuddling you. They are expressing that they want nothing more in life than to be with you.

After a long day of fun and playing, they sigh because they’re disappointed their fun day is over. Maybe they are relishing the memories and hoping they have a fun day again.

dog looking out the window

You return home from work to find your dog sprawled on the floor sighing, they’re bored. It’s best to get some chew toys and puzzles to keep them engaged. Doggy daycare is another great option, it’ll help them socialize with other pets. After all, dogs are not isolative creatures, they are the most extroverted.

A well run doggy day care centre can be fantastic for your dog,” says an expert from Blue Cross. “Giving them a safe place to be while you’re not there and with lots of varied activities to help keep them mentally stimulated.

It can also be a learned behavior that your pet picked up from you. This is called mirroring[1]. It helps them understand human actions and instructions better. And if you entertain them for long, pat them when they sigh or things of that sort, they might associate sighing with getting attention. It is up to you, how you go about dealing it.

When Sighing Can Mean More?

When the sigh becomes more often, a high-pitched whistle also follows it. It could suggest respiratory issues such as asthma. This is concerning behavior and as a pet parent, you should get your local vet’s opinion.

If they have become lethargic, and are gaining weight. It can point towards serious ailments such as hypothyroidism and heart disease.

lethargic dog

In case of wheezing and discharge from the nose (mucus or pus) a trip to the vet Is necessary to diagnose if they are struggling with some kind of allergies or serious Lung and Airway Disorders[2].

It is always smart to see a vet and share your pet’s change in behavior. Just like humans, you should ensure that your pet gets a whole body checkup with blood work at least once a year.

FAQs

Why does my dog sigh?

Dogs sigh for various reasons. It can be because they’re happy and content or because they’re disappointed and upset. You can easily tell what they are trying to express from their eyes if they are half-closed or fully open.

Why does my dog sigh when she lays down? 

Dogs sigh because they are content and feel sleepy. This will probably be followed by a good stretch. Just like humans, it is a way to release tension.

Why do dogs sigh when you hug them?

A sigh can convey trust and comfort. They feel at home in your arms. You can sigh back to convey the same emotions. At times you can play a little game where you sigh back and forth.

Why is my dog sighing when I pet him?

They are comfortable and feel adored. You may also notice that their eyes are half shut and their ears have drooped. Give them some scratches and rub and they’ll doze off right then and there.

Why won’t my dog stop sighing? 

For the most part, it is nothing to be worried about. Sighing is just another way dogs communicate with us. However, if the sighing has a sharp whistle sound at the end, it can indicate respiratory problems. If your dog has become lethargic and is showing other changes, it’s best to consult a vet.

Conclusion

Dogs are very vocal in their communication. They growl, bark, whimper, and even sigh. Their body language paired with sighing can communicate a lot. It suggests that they are calm and relaxed when their ears are drooping.

We hope we answered the question: Why do dogs sigh? Now, it’s better to get back to cuddling your doggy.

References:

  1. Dogs mirror owner’s stress. ScienceDaily.
  2. Respiratory problems in dogs | Trudell Animal Health.
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About
Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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