Why Do Dogs Grunt When They are Relaxing?

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He could grunt as a sign that he's perfectly happy and relaxed.
He could grunt as a sign that he's perfectly happy and relaxed. (Image: Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You’re surely used to decoding the sounds your four-legged friend makes when he’s barking and growling. But that low-toned grunt he lets out when he’s stretched out relaxing can be harder to interpret. In most cases, this peculiar noise is just part of his personality -- it might happen more frequently as he gets older. Grunting could also be a sign that he’s in pain. Just to be safe, you’ll want to take your pooch in for a checkup.

It Feels Good

You surely know how satisfying it can be to curl up in bed after an incredibly long and stressful week at the office. It just feels good to be able to clear your mind and relax. Same goes for your pooch. After a stressful day of missing you, shredding his favorite toy and waiting for what seemed like forever for dinner, he’s tuckered out. When he snuggles into that perfectly padded spot on the bed or gets up after a snooze, he may let out a grunt as he relaxes and stretches his muscles.

He’s Spooked

Watch your pup as he starts falling asleep. Odds are, he probably twitches, moves his eyeballs and even “runs” while he’s lying on his side. During this state of pure bliss, it’s possible for your dog to dream. But not all of those dreams are pleasant. Your canine buddy could be grunting as he snoozes because he’s having a nightmare. Or maybe his hearing is declining and he heard an odd noise as he was trying to relax. His grunting noise might stem from being spooked as this unfamiliar sound startled him in a vulnerable state.

His Bones Hurt

It’s natural to have a little bone and joint pain as you get older, just as it is for your pooch. Letting out a little whimper or short grunt as he changes positions can be a side effect of some of the discomfort he experiences as he changes positions. Let your veterinarian know about his quirky new sounds. If arthritis is kicking in, your vet may suggest supplements or medications to ease your cuddly friend’s pains.

Something is Wrong

Grunting can certainly be a sign that something is seriously wrong with your canine’s health. Respiratory issues can make it difficult for him to breath, particularly while he's curled up in a ball. His low groans may actually be him trying to catch his breath or struggling to breathe through constricted airways. Of course, grunting could also be a sign that he’s in serious pain. Maybe he has some kind of growth or other issue that causes him discomfort each time he rolls over on it. Aside from his grunting noises, if you notice that he’s refusing to eat, having declining energy levels, trembling or experiencing difficulty getting around, it’s definitely time to take your pup to your veterinarian.

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