Why Does My Dog Keep Stretching His Back Legs? (7 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
dog stretching back legs

Dogs are known for their enthusiastic stretching, but sometimes this behavior can be excessive or accompanied by other signs of discomfort. If you’ve ever wondered why your dog keeps stretching his back legs, you’re not alone.

While there are several reasons why dogs might stretch excessively, it’s important to pay attention to other signs of illness or injury.

Here are seven potential reasons why your dog might be stretching their back legs:

1. They Want To Play With You or Other Dogs

If you’ve ever wondered why your dog keeps stretching his back legs, there are a few possible explanations.

One is that they want to play with you or other dogs. When dogs stretch their hind legs, it’s often a sign that they’re eager to run and have fun.

Here are some activities you can do with your dog to help them release their energy:

Take Them for a Walk

Walking is not only good for your dog, but it’s also good for you! Walking helps to socialize your dog, and it’s a great way to bond with them. It’s also a great way to keep them fit and healthy.

Walks can be short or long, depending on your schedule and your dog’s energy level. You can also mix up your walking routine by taking them to different parks or trails.

If you live in a rural area, you might even want to try hiking with your dog. Just be sure to stick to trails that are appropriate for their level of fitness and comfort.

Play Fetch With Them

Of all the games you can play with your dog, fetch is perhaps the most classic. Not only is it a great way to burn off some energy, but it’s also a great way to bond with your furry friend.

To play fetch, all you need is a ball (or any other toy that your dog likes to chase) and open space. Once you’ve got those two things, simply toss the ball and let your dog do the rest.

Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to bring it back to you time and time again. Just be sure to have some treats on hand to reward them for their hard work!

Go to the Park and Let Them Run Around

One of the most obvious things to do is take them for a walk or run in the park. Most dogs love nothing more than exploring new smells and chasing after a ball, and this is a great way to bond with your pet while getting some fresh air.

If your dog is particularly energetic, you could even try playing fetch or Frisbee. Just make sure to bring along some water for both of you to stay hydrated.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more low-key activity, you could take a leisurely stroll around the park instead.

Train Them a New Trick

If you’re looking for something fun to do together, why not teach them a new trick? It’s the perfect way to spend some quality time together while also giving their brain a good workout.

And who knows, you might even end up with a new party trick! The possibilities are endless, from teaching them to sit or shake to more complex tricks like playing dead or rolling over.

Just remember to keep it positive and have patience, your dog will soon be impressing everyone with their new

2. The Dog May Be Stretching To Relax or Relieve Tension in the Muscles

Many people think that the stretching their dogs do is simply a way to stay limber. While this may be partially true, there is another reason why dogs stretch their back legs. The dog may be stretching to relax or relieve tension in the muscles.

Dogs are constantly moving around, running, jumping, and playing. This can lead to tight muscles and even pain. Stretching helps to loosen the muscles and relieve any tension or pain. It is also a way for dogs to stay healthy and avoid injury.

If your dog seems to be stretching more than usual followed by signs of discomfort or pain, they may have a muscle injury that requires treatment. Here are a few tips on how to help relieve muscle tension in your dog:

Provide Plenty of Fluids

One of the best ways to relieve muscle tension in dogs is to make sure they’re well hydrated. Dogs need plenty of fluids to stay healthy, and dehydration can lead to cramping and stiffness. If your dog is feeling tense, offer them fresh water and encourage them to drink often.

Gently Stretch or Massage the Affected Area

Another way to help relieve tension in your dog’s muscles is to gently stretch or massage the affected area. This can help to loosen up tight muscles and increase blood flow to the area.

This can be done either by you or a professional. If you’re going to do it yourself, be sure to use gentle pressure and go slowly. You don’t want to cause your dog any pain.

Try Hot or Cold Therapy

As any pet owner knows, our furry friends can sometimes experience muscle pain and tension just like we do.

While there are a variety of medications that can help to relieve these symptoms, there are also some simple home remedies that can be just as effective.

Hot or cold therapy is one such remedy. For example, you can apply a warm compress to soothe tense muscles or a cold pack to reduce inflammation.

You can also alternate between hot and cold treatments to provide even more relief. Whichever method you choose, be sure to use caution.

3. The Dog May Also Be Trying To Relieve Pain in the Back Legs or Hips

If your dog is stretching his back legs more often than usual, it’s possible that he’s experiencing pain or discomfort in that area.

Dogs typically stretch their legs after sleeping or lying down for a long period of time, so if your dog is suddenly doing it more frequently, it’s worth paying attention to.

There are a number of potential causes of pain in the back legs or hips, including arthritis, hip dysplasia, and muscle strains. If you notice your dog stretching his back legs more often, make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

In the meantime, here are a few treatment options your dog may find helpful:

Administer Pain Medication

When your dog is in pain, it can be heartbreaking to see him suffer. Fortunately, there are a variety of pain medications that can help to relieve his symptoms.

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a common type of pain medication for dogs.

They work by reducing inflammation and swelling, making it easier for your dog to move around.

Opioids are another type of pain medication that can be prescribed for dogs. They work by blocking pain signals from the brain, providing your dog with relief from even severe pain.

If your veterinarian prescribes pain medication for your dog, be sure to follow his instructions carefully.

Physical Therapy

For dogs dealing with pain in their back legs, physical therapy can be an extremely effective treatment option. Unlike medication, which only covers up the pain, physical therapy works to treat the underlying cause of the pain.

Through a series of exercises and massages, physical therapists can help to improve the range of motion and increase blood flow to the affected area. This can not only help to reduce pain in the short term, but it can also help to prevent future injuries.

In addition, physical therapy can be customized to each individual dog, making it a safe and effective treatment option for a wide range of conditions.


Hydrotherapy is a type of physical therapy that uses water to help relieve pain and promote healing. It can be especially helpful for dogs who are recovering from an injury or surgery.

The buoyancy of the water helps to take pressure off of the joints and muscles, while the resistance encourages proper muscle development. Hydrotherapy can be done in a pool, lake, or even in the shower.

Just be sure to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity as your dog becomes more comfortable with the water. With regular sessions, hydrotherapy can help to improve your dog’s mobility and quality of life.

4. If the Dog Is Older, They May Be Stretching To Alleviate Stiffness in the Joints

As dogs age, they often start to experience stiffness and discomfort in their joints. This is especially common in breeds that are prone to arthritis, such as labradors and golden retrievers.

One way that dogs may try to alleviate this stiffness is by stretching their back legs. This is why it’s important to be aware of your dog’s age and breed, as it can help you to better understand why they’re stretching their back legs.

There are a few things you can do to help him feel more comfortable as he ages, including:

Administering Joint Supplements Such As Glucosamine and Chondroitin

One of the most effective ways to help an older dog with joint problems is to give them joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements help to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints,, making it easier for your dog to move around.

Putting Your Dog on a Weight-Loss Diet

If your dog is overweight, putting him on a weight-loss diet can be extremely beneficial in terms of his overall health. Not only will it help to reduce the strain on his joints, but it will also lower his risk of developing other health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Feeding Him a Diet That Is High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for dogs of all ages, but they can be especially helpful for older dogs. They help to reduce inflammation and keep the joints healthy and lubricated.

You can find omega-3 fatty acids in both animal and plant sources, so be sure to include them in your dog’s diet. Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids

Use an Orthopedic Bed or Cushion

One way to help make your older dog more comfortable is to use an orthopedic bed or cushion. These beds provide extra support for your dog’s joints and help to evenly distribute their weight.

This can take a lot of pressure off of their sore joints and help to reduce the pain they are feeling.

In addition, orthopedic beds are often made from materials that are specifically designed to keep your dog cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This can be a godsend for older dogs who are especially sensitive to temperature changes.

5. He Could Be Trying To Tell You That They Want More Exercise.

Dogs are a lot like people in the sense that they need to exercise in order to stay healthy. If your dog is stretching his back legs, he may be trying to tell you that he needs more exercise.

All dogs need at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. This can be in the form of a walk, a game of fetch, or a trip around the agility course.

If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, he may start to experience health problems such as obesity, joint pain, and muscle weakness.

6. Stretching Could Be Their Way of Relieving Boredom

As any dog owner knows, a bored dog can be a destructive force. Without enough to do, dogs will often become restless and start chewing on furniture or scratching at doors and walls.

To avoid this, it is important to provide both physical and mental stimulation for your dog. Lack of physical activity is one of the most common causes of boredom in dogs.

A dog who does not get enough exercise will often become restless and destructive. To avoid this, make sure to take your dog for daily walks or runs and provide plenty of toys for them to play with.

In addition, boredom can also be caused by a lack of mental stimulation. Dogs need to be challenged mentally in order to stay happy and engaged. One way to do this is to teach them new tricks or give them puzzle toys to play with.

7. It Could Be a Sign of an Upset Stomach

If your dog is stretching his back legs and he has also been vomiting or has diarrhea, it could be a sign that he is experiencing an upset stomach. Here are a few things you should know about upset stomachs in dogs:

Causes of Upset Stomach in Dogs

There are many possible causes of an upset stomach in dogs. It could be something as simple as eating too much, or it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Common causes of an upset stomach include dietary problems, such as eating too much fat or not getting enough fiber; gastrointestinal infections, such as parvovirus or coronavirus; and allergies, which can be to food, environmental triggers, or medications.

Less common causes include pancreatitis, cancer, and neurologic conditions. If your dog has an upset stomach, it’s important to watch for other symptoms that could indicate a more serious condition.

These include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool, weight loss, and lethargy. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, you should take him to the veterinarian right away.

Tips for Preventing Upset Stomach in Dogs

One of the best ways to prevent an upset stomach in your dog is to feed them a high-quality diet that is rich in nutrients and easy to digest.

You should also avoid making sudden changes to your dog’s diet, as this can lead to digestive problems. If you do need to make a change, do so gradually over the course of a week or so.

In addition, make sure to provide your dog with plenty of freshwaters to drink.

Another way to help prevent upset stomachs is to keep your dog away from table scraps and other human food. Many human foods are not good for dogs and can cause digestive problems.

Home Remedies for Upset Stomach in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing an upset stomach, there are a few home remedies you can try to help him feel better.

One of the most effective is to give your dog a canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is rich in fiber and helps to absorb excess water in the gut, making it an ideal food for dogs with diarrhea.

You can add a spoonful of pumpkin to your dog’s food or give them pumpkin puree as a treat.


If your dog is stretching their back legs followed by other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or blood in the stool, you should take him to the veterinarian right away. These could be signs of a more serious condition.

Otherwise, if your dog is otherwise healthy and he is just stretching his back legs for no apparent reason, there is no need to be concerned. It is likely just a sign they want to get up and move around.

Thanks for reading! I hope this article was helpful.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.