My Dog Keeps Stretching Neck and Looking Up! Why?

It’s normal for long-term dog owners to keep track of their dog’s physical and behavioral changes. After all, small changes like sudden eye drooping and nose dripping could indicate a larger issue. So if your dog keeps stretching its neck and looking up, we understand why you’d be worried – this is a new and unusual behavior. 

But why does your dog keep doing this? Should you be concerned? Is it a sign of neck injury? Is there something you can do to keep your dog from doing this? 

Well, these are the questions we are going to answer in this post. So sit back and relax. By the time you’re done reading it, all your concerns on the matter will have been alleviated.  

Why Does My Dog Keep Doing This?

A lot of times, dogs stretch their necks while looking up to show affection towards their owner or simply to shake off stiffness. In some dog breeds, this is a part of their daily routine – they may even use it as a way to intimidate smaller dogs. However, sometimes this behavior indicates bloating, injury, stress, or illness. As such, you should always keep an eye out for other symptoms that accompany constant stretching and looking up.

Some breeds of dogs, such as the Greyhound, generally stretch and look up frequently. This is part of their normal behavior and could even be a way that they show dominance. But even if your dog is not a Greyhound, you need to keep in mind that dogs stretch more as they get older – it’s a way for them to deal with stiff joints and muscles. It could even be the way they signal to you that they want to take a walk or play. 

But if you have a puppy that is constantly stretching its neck and looking up, it could be anxious and stressed. Alternatively, they could be bloated, have an upset stomach, or are having trouble swallowing food. In rare cases, they could have a chest injury, vestibular disease, or pancreatitis. 

Should I Be Concerned if They Keep Doing This?

Generally, you should not be worried about your dog frequently stretching its neck and looking up unless this behavior is accompanied by other symptoms. Such symptoms include nausea, vomiting, restlessness, excessive drooling, swollen stomach, and rapid breathing. These indicate a serious health issue and require immediate medical intervention.

If a dog who keeps stretching and looking up is also drooling excessively and has a swollen stomach that is warm to the touch, it could be suffering from canine bloat. Generally, bloated dogs stretch and extend their necks to alleviate the pressure caused by the bloat. Don’t mistake this condition for a small one, though. Canine bloats can be deadly if treatment is delayed – they can even make your dog’s stomach flip over.

Another deadly health condition associated with neck stretching and looking up is pancreatitis. This disease is caused by pancreas inflammation. Its major symptoms are weakness, fever, severe pain, swollen stomach, and vomiting. Sometimes, your dog may even vomit blood. 

What Can I Do to Keep My Dog from Doing This?

If your dog has always been stretching its neck and looking up since it was a puppy, this is probably a part of its natural behavior and can’t be stopped. However, if this is new behavior, consider calming your dog by doing activities it enjoys, such as walking or playing. Beyond that, avoid overfeeding it and giving it too much water – this can cause canine bloating. Also, if you notice that your dog has difficulty swallowing food, take it to the vet.

Leaving this condition unchecked and letting your dog struggle through the eating process can make it regurgitate, stretch its neck, and look up at you. This is usually an indication that some food or fluid is trapped in your dog’s throat. It could also indicate that your dog has some lesions or sores in its esophagus. Either way, this condition causes dogs a lot of pain – some can even reject food because of it.

Also, always remember to be gentle with your dog and avoid taking them to places where they can easily fall or get hit. Remember, when your dog experiences some chest trauma, its heart and lungs may get damaged, causing breathing problems. Due to the discomfort that this causes, you may notice that your dog frequently stretches its neck and looks at you. That’s why it’s important to not only learn first aid for dogs but also get protective gear for your dog when necessary. 

Could My Dog Possibly Have a Neck Injury?

When dogs have neck injuries, they neither stretch their necks nor look up – it actually hurts when they do. Instead, dogs with neck injuries keep their heads down and avoid turning them to any side. Sometimes, they may even have neck muscle spasms and refuse to eat from their bowls. And if you attempt to move them or force them to eat, they may whine, cry, or yelp in pain.

Generally, neck injuries and pain in dogs are caused by external trauma, cancer, infection, and neurological diseases like cervical disc disease. So if you notice that your dog has some neck pain, take them to the vet immediately. Also, keep in mind that if your dog is a Dachshund, Beagle, Chihuahua, or French Bulldog, they are predisposed to cervical disc disease. 

Other breeds of dogs tend to only get this disease later on in life as part of the aging process. Apart from the symptoms associated with neck pain, cervical disc disease can also cause weakness in limbs and paralysis. In some extreme cases, it can even cause breathing problems – this is particularly common when the disease affects the area near your dog’s shoulder. Ultimately, this is the most severe form of this disease and requires immediate medical intervention. 


If your dog keeps stretching its neck and looking up, it’s usually not something you need to worry about. This is a part of many dogs’ natural behaviors and can help them get your attention, show their anxiety, and even try to dominate other dogs. However, if this behavior is accompanied by other signs of illness or discomfort, it’s always best to take your dog to the vet. Even if the vet eventually gives your dog a clean bill of health, the trip is never a waste of time – at the very least, it will alleviate your anxiety.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!