Yawning, while a strange concept, is a shared trait amongst both people and animals. Creatures yawn for several different reasons and that is no different for your German Shepherd. An occasional yawn during the day or a few at night is no cause for worry, however, it can be concerning as an owner if your German Shepherd yawns excessively.
Why Do German Shepherds Yawn So Much?
Your German Shepherd might be yawning so much for several reasons. It might be really tired, stressed, bonding, or not having any interest in what’s happening. German Shepherds are vocal and mouthy dogs so it is no surprise that they can communicate so much in a simple yawn.
Keep reading to get to our list of the 4 most common reasons for chronic yawning in your German Shepherd.
Yawning Because of Stress
If your German Shepherd is feeling stressed or anxious, it might start yawning frequently. Yawning is a stress-coping mechanism for most dogs, so you are likely to see your German Shepherd yawning if faced with a stressor.
If you notice your German Shepherd yawning during a car ride, during storms, during loud noises, or anything else that your dog tries to avoid, they are yawning out of stress. Your German Shepherd might also yawn when faced with a stranger to show their discomfort around the unfamiliar person.
Stress is usually the cause of excessive and worrying yawning. You can either remove the stress trigger when you notice your German Shepherd yawning a lot or you can work with a trainer to desensitize your German Shepherd to the trigger. That way your German Shepherd will be able to relax again.
The traditional meaning of yawning is to show that someone or something is tired. If your German Shepherd yawns a lot at night or after a lot of activity, they are probably just very tired.
There is usually no reason to worry about this cause of yawning unless you notice your German Shepherd having a lot of sleep difficulties on top of it.
If your German Shepherd is having sleep difficulties, there may be an external cause to the problem. Check your German Shepherd’s sleeping environment to make sure they have a comfortable space to sleep in.
A big cause of sleep difficulties in dogs has to do with the temperature. Make sure it’s not too hot for your German Shepherd to sleep through the night.
Of course, also make sure that your German Shepherd is getting enough exercise. These dogs have a lot of energy that they need to use up and exercise is how they get rid of that energy.
Without the proper amount of exercise, that energy will stay pent up which can result in many behavioral challenges. A big challenge that might be faced is the inability to fall asleep at night.
Your German Shepherd might also struggle to fall asleep due to a poor diet or feeling unwell. Fatigue can happen when your dog doesn’t get the right kind of nutrients so be sure to give them food that is made for what they need.
If your German Shepherd is also feeling sick, then they might not be able to sleep either. In that case, take them to the vet so they can get the right treatment.
Have you ever started yawning because someone you were with yawned? Well, this phenomenon happens amongst dogs as well. Your German Shepherd may be yawning because you or another dog yawned around them.
Sharing a yawn can also be seen as a bonding moment for dogs. When you have an extremely loving dog such as a German Shepherd, sharing a yawn can be a sweet way to bond.
They see it as sharing something with their owner or family and it can help develop a stronger owner-dog relationship.
People might yawn because they are bored with something, which is one of the reasons that a student will yawn during a class. Dogs also yawn when they aren’t interested in something, and it shows that they are bored.
Earlier it was discussed that a German Shepherd might yawn around a stranger because that stranger is causing them anxiety. However, a German Shepherd might also yawn around a stranger because they aren’t interested in them.
This can happen when you go on a walk with your German Shepherd, and you stop to talk to a neighbor. Your German Shepherd might start to yawn to say, “I’m getting pretty bored, let’s continue walking.”
A German Shepherd might also yawn to show indifference to conflict. If your German Shepherd ends up faced with an aggressor, they will yawn to show that they don’t want trouble and yawning can calm the aggressor down.
In a more realistic setting, your German Shepherd might yawn when they get in trouble to try to get you to calm down.
Can My German Shepherd Be Yawning Too Much?
With there being so many reasons why your German Shepherd may yawn, there isn’t a limit to what becomes excessive yawning. If you are concerned with the level of your German Shepherd’s yawning, take note of what other behaviors it is demonstrating.
Earlier it was discussed that a German Shepherd will yawn a lot when faced with stress. This behavior can also be paired with pacing, excessive panting, whining, or even hiding.
While a little bit of stress once in a while isn’t harmful, excessive stress can have harmful effects on your German Shepherd. Learn what is causing this stress and try to remove it for the time being. You can also have a trainer help desensitize your German Shepherd to the stressor.
Another situation where yawning can be concerning is if your German Shepherd is having problems sleeping. We already talked about the reasons for sleep troubles such as temperature and illness.
If your German Shepherd is excessively yawning because they aren’t getting enough sleep, they will also show fatigue, lack of interest in other activities, and lethargic behavior.
If you believe that your German Shepherd is having problems falling asleep for non-environmental reasons, you might want to take it to the vet. That way, the vet can check for any underlying conditions.
How To Help Your German Shepherd
If you think that your German Shepherd’s yawning is a cause of concern, there are things that you can do to help your German Shepherd.
Make sure that your German Shepherd is getting the right kind of food. Dog food that focuses on clean ingredients and strays away from grains is the direction you want to go in. Your German Shepherd might also have an allergy to some kinds of dog food and you should switch the kind of dog food you have to remove that reaction.
Get a dog food meant for medium-large dogs and has the proper ingredients. If your German Shepherd has food issues, try dog foods meant for sensitive stomachs. If you don’t know where to start with finding a different food, contact your vet to get their recommendations.
German Shepherds need around an hour of exercise a day. This can be done through walks, playing outside, or taking your German Shepherd along on outdoor adventures. Without the proper amount of exercise, your German Shepherd won’t be able to get rid of the insane amount of energy that they have.
This can then cause both behavioral and health problems for your German Shepherd.
A Good Sleeping Environment
Having a proper sleeping environment that is comfortable is essential for your German Shepherd to get enough sleep at night. Different dogs have different sleeping needs and you should do what works best for your German Shepherd.
Whether it’s a crate or a dog bed, make sure that your German Shepherd has enough cushioning in their sleeping area. Also, make sure that it’s not too hot or cold in the house so that they can sleep comfortably.
When in Doubt, Call the Vet
It’s okay if you are still at a loss of what to do about your German Shepherd’s yawning. If you need the extra consultation, bring your German Shepherd to the vet so they can get a look at the issue. The vet might be able to suggest a solution that you didn’t even think of.
German Shepherds communicate with vocalizations and their mouths. They can communicate a lot by just yawning from them being bored to them being sleep-deprived.
Reasons for yawning in German Shepherds include being tired, stressed, or trying to pacify an aggressor.
Normally, yawning isn’t a cause for concern. Everyone, both people and dogs, will yawn sometimes. However, excessive yawning can mean that a problem is happening and needs to be looked into. These problems usually stem from sleep problems or excessive stress.
If you think that there’s a problem, be aware of the other behaviors that your German Shepherd is showing. Those behaviors can narrow down what might be wrong.
But who knows, your German Shepherd might be yawning because you yawned or to make you yawn back. To dogs, yawning is a bonding strategy.