My Dog Stretches Like A Cat – Why?

There are plenty of good explanations why your dog stretches like a cat, including to greet you, as part of their daily routine or because they’re tired. While it may look funny, more often than not, your dog is stretching because they feel comfortable around you. 

If, like us, you’ve sat and wondered why your dog is stretching like a cat, then you’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll look into some of the possible explanations for why your dog is displaying this behavior and what it might mean.

Top 7 possible reasons your dog stretches like a cat

To greet you

Dogs don’t just use stretching as a way to soothe aching muscles; they use it to show you they love and care for you too! By your dog stretching like a cat in front of you when you’ve come home from a day at school or work, your dog is attempting to greet you and tell you they missed you! Contrary to popular belief, your pooch didn’t just wake up from a nap on the sofa and decide to stretch off. Next time your dog greets you with a stretch, pat them on the head to say hello to them too!

Because they’re tired

It’s not unusual for dogs to stretch more when they’re sleepy or have just woken up from a nap. If your dog tends to stretch more after they’ve had a good sleep or after a long walk, it’s likely because they’re tired.

Because they have an upset stomach

If you notice your dog excessively stretching, it can be a warning sign of an upset stomach. When your pooch feels pressure in their abdomen, they may stretch as a way to release any built-up gasses. The best way to understand if stretching like a cat is a sign of an upset stomach is to check whether your dog’s stomach looks too round, out of the ordinary, or warm to touch. Suppose your dog displays signs of a bloated stomach, and you’ve noticed they’re more tired than usual. In that case, you should consult your local veterinarian. 

Because they need more exercise

Suppose you have a particularly energetic dog such as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Greyhound, or Labrador, and you’ve noticed them stretching more than usual. In that case, it could be a sign of needing more exercise. Dogs tend to stretch when their muscles are sore, and not getting enough exercise may cause their muscles to seize up a little. You can combat this by ensuring your dog gets the recommended amount of activity for its breed and size.

To attract a mate

More often than not, your dog will stretch with its front paws low to the ground with its rear end in the air. This is the most common stretch referred to as ‘downward dog’. If your dog does this, especially around other dogs, it can signify trying to attract a mate. This is perfectly normal behavior if your dog hasn’t been neutered.

They like the feeling

Dogs love doing things that make them feel good, and, let’s face it – nothing quite beats a big stretch when you need it, and it’s the same with dogs! Stretching triggers positive endorphins in your dog’s body, making them feel great. Stretching also helps your dog relax before sleeping. 

To prepare for exercise

Just like how humans stretch before physical activity, dogs do too! Dogs recognize that stretching prepares them for exercise, and you may notice your canine companion stretching before you set off for a long walk. Stretching helps warm up your dog’s muscles and helps blood flow around the body better, helping your dog run around and play fetch effectively. 

Should I be worried when my dog stretches like a cat?

Stretching is an entirely normal and healthy part of your dog’s everyday routine and isn’t usually a cause for concern. If you notice your dog has difficulty stretching or is stretching more than usual, you should contact your local veterinarian to understand whether your dog has an underlying condition.

What should I do if my dog stretches like a cat a lot?

Your dog stretching is usually nothing to worry about – in fact, it’s a normal part of their everyday lives. If you’re concerned about how much your dog is stretching, below are a few things you can do to try and get them to stretch less.

Increase your dog’s exercise

It may not always be possible to take your dog out for a long walk. But ensuring you give your dog the recommended amount of exercise for its breed and size will help ensure your pooch is kept healthy and happy. Consider walking your dog before and after work, or hire a dog walker to do it when you can’t.


As we’ve mentioned above, it’s entirely normal for your dog to stretch a lot. If your dog hasn’t started doing it more often than usual and isn’t showing any signs of illness or injury, then it’s not a cause for concern.

Take to the vet

If your dog has been stretching like a cat more than usual or is showing signs and symptoms of being poorly or injured, then your best bet is to take your dog to your veterinary clinic. By taking your dog to the vet, you can rule out any illness or injury and get expert advice on your dog from a trained professional.


Your dog’s stretching isn’t usually anything to be worried about. It’s likely they find it relaxing, but it can also be used as a way of communicating with humans and other dogs. Your dog will feel the benefit of stretching their muscles before activity – just like humans do! Be vigilant if your pup is stretching to get rid of pains in its abdomen area or joints. 

Overall, stretching is part of your dog’s healthy lifestyle and should be encouraged as it’s beneficial to your dog’s muscle, bone, and joint health. Stretching is especially beneficial in older dogs who suffer from joint problems as it can help them function better and decrease pain. 


  • 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!