I bet not a lot of people know about the expression “dog prayer position” It is similar to the position assumed by Muslims when they pray, hence the name “prayer position”. Most people probably think their dog wants to play when it lies down on its front legs with its back legs stretched forward.

While this might be the case in some situations, there are times when a good time is the farthest thing when a dog is in this position.

Prayer Position in Dogs

The prayer position occurs when the dog stands on its hind legs, with its front legs stretched very far away from its body, with its torso lying on the ground. The position sometimes includes a cat’s hump. This stretching position is an intuitive attempt by the dog to relieve the abdominal cavity caused by severe pain.

The dog is also quite restless at this point and might experience some stomach bloating. The dog can be seen pacing up and down, switching positions between lying, walking, or crouching; it can be a very uncomfortable feeling.

If you ever come across your dog in this position, something is definitely amiss. This position could be caused by a stomach torsion, an intestinal obstruction, or a ruptured bowel. Either way, you have to act fast to save your dog. Call a vet and get your dog examined as fast as possible.

Our pets communicate with us in different ways we just have to be patient and observant enough to understand this. You also need a large dose of empathy to correctly interpret or understand some of the signs they give off.

Some of these signs can be completely harmless while in some cases it might be an indication that your dog’s life is at risk.

When your Dog Simply Wants to Play

But then again, what is referred to as the prayer position could simply be your dog wanting to have some fun. Not every prayer position is an indication of a fatal illness or condition.

When your dog is jumping around with other dogs and laying on its front legs with its rear up while barking and giving a cheeky laugh, it simply wants to play. When it wakes up from a long nap and stretches with its butt in the air while producing a long yawn, there is no cause for alarm either. Sometimes it is their way of stretching their limbs after being in the same position for a while.

This is why context is essential when determining whether or not your dog is in a prayer position and if medical attention should be sought.

Furthermore, if your puppy stretches while active and frolicking around with other dogs, it is only a game prompt and not a cry for help, so there’s no need for alarm. The same thing also applies to older dogs. Extended yawning is also sometimes mistaken for the prayer position. If the dog stretches after waking up and seems otherwise fine, then it is definitely not in a prayer position.

This is just their way of letting you know they’re okay and ready to move on to the next activity. It could also be their way of inviting other dogs to come to play with them. This is normal behavior and might occur several times.


When the “Prayer Position” is an indication of Hidden Danger

In both scenarios, the dog is visibly stretching, so how do you know which situation is normal and which requires an emergency trip to the vet clinic? If your dog exhibits any of the following behaviors when stretching, then you should be concerned:

  • If the stretch occurs when the dog is defecating
  • If the stretching persists for no reason when you take the dog for a walk
  • If the dog slides on its buttocks while stretching
  • If the dog refuses to eat
  • If the dog’s stomach is severely bloated
  • If it comes with heavy pantingIf the stretching comes with fever, vomiting, foul-smelling belchen

  • If the dog is extremely restlessIf the dog experiences apathy whereby he barely seems interested in anything
  • If the stretching comes with a “cat hump”

The Importance of the Prayer Position in the Health Diary of a Dog

The importance of the prayer position in a dog’s health diary cannot be overemphasized.  A good medical history will provide information on what your vet must know to take proper care of your dog.

One way to provide this valuable information to your veterinarian is by observing your dog carefully. These observations will help the vet arrive at a more precise diagnosis and get a clearer picture of what is wrong with your dog.

This is why dog owners should pay close attention to their dogs especially when they appear to be in a prayer position. A good dog health diary should contain information like:

  • When you first observed the prayer position, in what context, and how long did it last?
  • When does the dog imitate the prayer position, for example, is it after meals?
  • Is the dog bloated?
  • Has the dog’s general condition deteriorated?
  • How is the dog’s defecation?
  • Is the dog vomiting?
  • Are there other symptoms of pain, like the (cat hump)?

How to Help your Dog in this Situation

You need to take immediate action if you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog. Get your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic as soon as possible. A stomach torsion or intestinal blockage could be life-threatening so every minute counts.


Why the Need for Haste?

Why the rush you might ask? The prayer position is actually a symptom of a worse condition. The constant change in position is because the dog is constantly trying to alleviate some pain and discomfort.

It would also be great if you could call the clinic ahead to inform them so they’ll be ready for you when you eventually arrive with your dog.

The best way to avoid danger is to pay attention to your dog’s moods and behavior patterns as this could ultimately save its life!

Categories: Dogs

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