February 22, 2021

Why dogs let out that dramatic sigh

Why dogs let out that dramatic sigh
Dr. Chris Brown

It's as dramatic as it is loud. So not surprisingly, a lot of pet parents want to know why they do that big sigh... Well, here's your answer!

You’d have to be in another room not to hear it. Or possibly another suburb. That loud sigh when dogs (and some cats) sit or lie down provides endless amusement (and confusion) to the not so hairy human family. Is it contentment or frustration? A happy sigh or an exasperated groan? Well, brace yourself. It can be both.

Try to see the exhale as an exclamation point to what they’re already saying with their actions. Here's what I mean...

If they’re lying down on the rug after a walk and their dinner with their eyes starting to close then the sigh is a sign that life probably can’t get much better. Well, that is until you do the same thing tomorrow night. Please and thank you. In this zen state, the big in-breath and sigh also has an added benefit in bigger dogs. It actually means their diaphragm pushes their full stomach (and other internal organs) further away from their lungs. Meaning they can breathe more easily and sleep in a more relaxed state.  

However, if they’re sitting obediently while you finish off the very last mouthful of your steak dinner they had dibs on, then that’s a groan with frustrated feeling. The same goes for if they’re lying there listening to a stress inducing storm rolling in or even the neighbour’s dog bark. After all, that exhale is there to amplify their feelings.

A clue is often in the eyes. If they’re wide open think frustrated groan. If they’re almost closed then relax. They’re sigh-zing up a contented sleep for the ages...


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