What Does It Mean When A Dog Sighs?

Be honest – what is cuter than hearing sounds coming from your little furry friend? Maybe you’ve heard a little whine or a little adorable sigh, whatever the case – it’s super cute. 

The thing is, we don’t know what the dogs are trying to convey to us when they’re making these sounds and the meaning can often be lost in translation.

One aspect of being a dog owner is trying to understand what your little friend is trying to communicate with you. 

With this in mind – you could be asking; “what does it mean when the dog is sighing?”. Is the dog just being overdramatic like a child, or do they actually want to tell you something?

In this guide, we look at all of this and determine what your canine companion is hoping to tell you. 

What Is The Root Of Their Sighing?

For years, experts have debated exactly what the dogs are trying to tell us when they sigh. Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry answer for this, but there are some things we can do and use some deductive reasoning and come up with an answer. 

The first thing we know is, when the dog lets out a sigh – they’re trying to audibly vocalize their feelings and emotion. Just like humans, when we sigh, we’re communicating without actually speaking to bring across an emotional feeling. 

Normally for us, a sigh is an audible expression of feeling “fed up”, or sad or disappointed.

Even with humans, it’s not simple to know what we’re trying to say without saying it – and that is why, if a human sighs, you normally have to follow up with a question of “what’s wrong?” to find out the problem.

Unfortunately, with pups – they cannot speak to us, so it’s not that simple. So the way we have to determine what the dog is trying to say is by using and employing a little patience and a bit of observation. 

Observations of the dog’s other activities are key. Let’s explore an example. Say you’ve just come back from a long walk or playtime with your furry friend.

You walk back through the door, they drink some water and head for their comfortable place. Maybe that’s a doggy bed, the sofa or a crate. 

They then lie down, get comfortable and before they put their head down to rest and relax – they let out an audible sigh. This is normally a sign of happiness and a feeling of contentment.

They’ve had their fun, they’ve been fed and watered – and now they simply want to relax. 

However, you might deduce that maybe they’re feeling disappointed that the fun is over. Like a child at the park whose parents now tell them that they have to come home now – they often sigh or complain.

In this instance, you’ll need to assess the dog’s body language and determine if it is disappointment or contentment. 

Some experts believe that if a dog sighs with their eyes half-closed, this indicates contentment. In fact, you’ll notice puppies often sigh this way when they’re around their mothers’ after feeding time.

If your dog has their eyes open when they’re sighing, it could indicate disappointment – but there’s no cemented evidence of this. 

Puppies often sigh if they want to go to sleep too. Maybe you’re away from their normal sleep-spot and they’re trying to tell you that they really need an area to get comfortable in.

Again, in these circumstances – it will ultimately come down to the other factors going on around you and the dog, and their other body language. 

Learning And Acting On Your Dog’s Communication 

It’s crucial that you study your dog’s communication, body language and sounds. Vocal and non-vocal communication can be key to knowing what your pooch is trying to tell you or indicate to you. 

Different breeds of dogs will communicate differently. Some are far more vocal, whereas others are very quiet. The commonality with them all though is that they will try to communicate with you eventually. 

It’s a good idea to get a notepad and scribble down some notes of things you notice when your dog sighs. Are their eyes open? Have you just been for a walk?

Have they been fed? All of these factors alongside the breed and age of your dog will be a great way to analyze what the dog is looking to tell you. 

Facial expressions of your dog are often overlooked. Dogs can only communicate in certain ways as they do not have the linguistic capacity to speak our language or write things down, obviously.

Take a look at your dog when you’ve done things you’re sure they like – note down how their face looks. 

When they’re sighing, take a look at their facial expressions now. How do they differ? What do their eyes look like? What about the rest of their body? Are they sitting, hiding, slowly moving? 

What To Do If Your Dog Sighs A Lot 

Although being content and possibly disappointed are the usual reasons that the experts lean to when a dog is sighing, there can be a lot more at play than just this. 

In some circumstances, and this will depend largely on the breed of your dog, sighing from the dog can indicate they are dealing with an illness or injury. 

Of course, you’ll likely notice if they have injuries to their legs or maybe a cut somewhere – but oftentimes, there are injuries internally that they are dealing with.

If you think your dog is sighing much more than normal and for seemingly no reason – it’s wise to seek out veterinary advice and get your friend checked out. 

If your dog isn’t injured, happy or disappointed – they may be trying to warn you of something in the house or nearby. The only way you’ll be able to make an informed decision on what the dog is trying to tell you is by creating that notepad profile on the dog’s actions and possible emotional connection. 


Sighing can be indicative of many different emotions, whether that is a dog or a human. The only way to assess what they’re trying to tell you is through deductive reasoning and even then – it’s mostly speculation.

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