Why Do Dogs Sigh and Moan?

Why Do Dogs Sigh and Moan?

Why Do Dogs Sigh and Moan?

Have you ever wondered why your dog is sighing or moaning? Many pet parents would love to know what their pup is saying.

Sometimes a dog will sigh or moan when they are feeling content. They may be relaxed and getting ready for a nap, or they may have just finished a satisfying play session with their favorite human. In contrast, your pup may not feel well and is asking for your help.

Pay attention to your dog’s physical response to figure out the message they are sending. If you would like to know more regarding why canines sigh and moan, read this article.

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What Your Dog is Telling You When They Sigh and Moan

We all adore our dogs and want to know how to interpret their language. Since they cannot form words, we must rely on their noises and try to grasp what they may be communicating.

 A dog can sigh or moan for various reasons. From expressing contentment to telling us that they do not feel like their usual happy-go-lucky self, your precious pooch is saying something worth understanding. The following include some possibilities:  

“I Feel Happy”

If you hear your pup sigh or moan, they may communicate that they are happy and content. You may be giving them some love and petting them in all the right spots, and they want you to keep stroking their belly or scratching behind their ears. Below are some of the signs your dog is feeling happy.

  • Relaxed body and tail
  • They are wagging their tail
  • They expose their belly and invite you to rub
  • They are tilting their head while looking at you

Your dog may also feel good after a long walk or rousing game of frisbee, and they let you know with a slight sigh or moan. At first, you may confuse their sigh or moan with a growl, but if you see these signs, it likely means they are happy and full of glee.  

“I Am Frustrated”

Your canine companion may sigh because they are frustrated. After all, you have decided to end playtime sooner than they wanted. Or, if they are being held back from something that excites them, like another dog in the park, they may sigh.

Sometimes your dog is frustrated that you are not paying attention to them, which is when you would likely see them pawing at you out of frustration. They may look up at you with their signature puppy dog eyes, which is not fair considering it is way too adorable to resist.

“I Do Not Feel So Good”

Sometimes your pup may sigh when they are not feeling well and want to express this to you as a way of asking you for help. Often, arthritis is the culprit, as it can cause a lot of discomfort in your four-legged family member. Some signs your typically playful pooch is not feeling so good include:

  • Reluctance to get up from lying down or moving
  • Limping or lameness, especially after exercise or play
  • Difficulty getting in or out of the car or up and down the stairs
  • Stiff, swollen, or sore muscles or joints and decreased mobility

Sickness is not just limited to arthritis, though. It could also be an illness, like a respiratory issue or a cold that your pup can not shake. Remember that if your canine is hurting from arthritis, their sighs and moans may become more constant. If you see and hear increased moaning and lethargy, reach out to your vet for a visit.

“I Am Bored, Mom (or Dad)”

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Your pup might be sighing and endeavoring to get your attention. They may be bored and want to play or go for a walk. Spending quality time with your pup is essential to alleviate boredom and mentally and physically stimulate them. Signs your dog is singing the boredom blues include:

  • Big messes when you come home from being away all-day
  • Constantly trying to get attention from you or being overly persistent
  • Jumping up on you or jumping on your guests in the home
  • Inappropriate chewing on furniture or other household items

There are ways you can assist your canine in beating monotony. You can get them a KONG toy and fill it with peanut butter or their favorite treats, and they will have to figure out how to get the tasty goodness out of it. Finding ways to relieve their boredom can also help your favorite canine with separation anxiety.

“I Feel Sad”

If your sweet pup becomes forlorn when you leave for work in the morning, and your typically spunky, energetic dog has a sad expression, they may be depressed. They may also be gloomy if they are behaving more tired than usual.

Just like boredom, if your dog becomes unusually clingy or needs constant attention, it could indicate that they are sad or melancholy. If you see any of these signs and your pup has been sighing or moaning frequently, they may need you to help cheer them up.

Other Sounds Your Dog Makes

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Your dog communicates their emotions through their distinct vocalizations and body language. Sighs and moans are often indicative of contentment. You should likewise pay attention to their body language when they are producing the noise. There are also other sounds your pup may make to demonstrate their feelings:

(Specifically) Low-Pitched Moans 

Low-pitched moans are typical in puppies. They generally signify happiness and overall satisfaction with their lives. Puppies often moan like this when they are around their littermates or mothers very early on in life. Moaning is generally not a concerning sign.  


Whining may be a sign of distress, especially if your dog’s whine slowly rises in pitch. Contentment is often expressed differently, as their whine quickly drops in pitch or remains the same throughout the pitch. Whines can also be a question, like “will you play with me, mommy?”


Growling during play is not a sign of aggression. It implies that they are having fun and enjoying themselves. However, you should watch for a change in their tone while growling. It could be a concern if their growls get lower and their teeth are showing.


Obviously, it is more than normal for your dog to bark. However, there are different types of barks. If your canine is yapping and wagging their tail, they are happy to see you. A dog barking at another dog could be a warning. The pitch of the bark explains the different emotions they could be experiencing. A high-pitched bark is a friendly greeting, but a low pitch bark is a warning.  


Your dog may sigh or moan for any number of reasons. They may be expressing everything from happiness to disdain. You should always be concerned about their body language and facial expressions. If your pup seems to be sighing or moaning a lot and you suspect they may be sick or in pain, do not hesitate to get them to the veterinarian.

For pet parents in the Manhattan, NY and Brooklyn, NY area, Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group has four locations conveniently located and ready to serve you. To make an appointment, visit our website today! 


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