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Dog splooting is super adorable, but it can also be something to worry about

Dog splooting may be cute, but here's when to keep an eye on your pup

A tan French Bulldog sploots on the ground
Pond5 / Imago

We love our dogs for so many reasons, and there’s no denying how much they make us laugh. Just look at all the hilarious dog videos on social media! From cute training fails to rescue dogs experiencing new things, there’s no shortage of adorable viral canines.

One video trend has pet parents and vets alike doing a double-take: dog splooting. This odd lying position may look quite cute, but it’s not always as innocent as it may seem. In many cases, splooting itself isn’t a cause for concern, but you may want to contact your veterinarian if you notice your dog in this position while experiencing some other issues.

So what are we talking about exactly? Here’s everything you need to know about dog splooting and when it may indicate a problem.

A corgi puppy lies on the floor with their legs out behind them
Daniellshea / Pixabay

What is dog splooting? You’re sure to recognize it when you see it

This one is for all the yogis out there: Dog splooting looks an awful lot like Sphinx pose! When a dog is in this position, they’re lying on their stomach with their back legs straight out behind them instead of tucked under their body.

A sploot might look like a few different things. These are the most common poses you’ll see, according to Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital.

  • The full sploot: When a pup lies belly-down with both hind legs stretched out behind them, as described above.
  • The half sploot: When a dog assumes the sploot position with one back leg stretched out and the other tucked under their body like normal.
  • The side sploot: When a pup lies on their stomach with one or both legs pointing to one side instead of straight behind them

Though dogs have been splooting for ages, this particular term has gained much traction online in the last year. The National Canine Research Association of America (NCRAOA) notes that this position may also be called:

  • Frogging, frog legs, or frog dogging
  • Pancaking
  • Superman

What would you name this unique pose?

A close up of the back half of a dog lying on the beach with their hind legs straight out
КРИСТИНА Игумнова / Adobe Stock

Why do dogs sploot? Is splooting a bad thing or nothing to worry about?

There’s no denying that this unique stretch is 100% cute, but why do dogs do it? As it turns out, it depends on your dog’s breed and age. The NCRAOA explains that several smaller breeds, like corgis and chihuahuas, can have more leg flexibility than other pups. For them, splooting can be a normal lying position or even a good stretch.

For pups whose breeds don’t fall into this category, assuming a sploot position can be a positive, negative, or completely neutral sign. Most of the time, though, it’s not a cause for concern. According to Top Dog Health, you may notice younger dogs lying like this more often than older canines, but that’s just because younger dogs tend to be more flexible.

Any dog can get a nice stretch from this position, but they can lie like this to cool off, too. Your pup might just be a bit warm if you notice them tummy down on a cool surface like tile or hardwood. Hey — you might want to try it for yourself during the next heat wave!

The back half of a fluffy dog lying with their back legs stretched straight out
galitskaya / Adobe Stock

When dog splooting is a cause for concern, especially in older dogs

Though splooting is often not a problem, it might be worth a closer look if you notice your dog suddenly picking up this behavior. Puppies will frequently look to the older dogs around them when learning new behaviors, but an older dog who starts splooting might be doing this out of discomfort.

An older dog who sploots could be dealing with a muscle or joint issue that makes them want to stretch. The NCRAOA notes that a sploot could favor an injury, an arthritic hip or knee, or even the beginnings of canine hip dysplasia. To determine if this is the case, keep an eye on their walking and other movements, as well as any differences in behavior. In the end, a trip to the vet never hurts — especially if you notice any differences in the way your fur baby walks or behaves!

Top Dog Health reminds pet parents to pay attention to their pet’s skin too. Splooting can be a way of cooling and calming hot or rashy skin, so make sure to take a look at their underside as well.

French bulldog puppy splooting on tile floor
yhelfman / Shutterstock

How to keep dogs with joint pain comfortable when they start to sploot

Although a sploot is often a sign of relaxation, it can also be a sign of a larger concern. If you already know that your dog is dealing with something like arthritis or hip dysplasia, though, there are a few things you can do to keep them as comfy as possible. You don’t have to move your arthritic dog if they settle into a sploot position, but offering a dog bed or a spot on the couch, for example, can provide more cushioning on their joints. In some, more severe cases, physical therapy or dog-friendly joint supplements can improve your fur baby’s health, too.

Don’t be alarmed by these possible implications of splooting — they aren’t common. They can also be caught and cared for quickly under your watchful eye, so a sploot here and there isn’t necessarily a reason to worry. Just sit back, grab your camera, and enjoy the furry adorableness of your pup’s funniest-looking stretch. If it doesn’t put a smile on your face, what will?

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Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
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