Could your dog's innocent stretch be a sign of cancer?

sign of cancer?
(Image credit: TikTok)

One perfectly normal and common behaviour seen in dogs of all shapes and sizes is bowing – that downward-facing-dog big stretch. But, now one TikTok user says it could also be an early sign of cancer, particularly if your pup holds the position for an abnormal length of time or starts doing it more often than they ever have before.

@sweetteatate is using TikTok to bring awareness of the fact that bowing can offer dog relief from stomach pains, and that it was the first warning sign that her dog Barley had cancer when he began doing the pose out of the blue, quickly followed by lumps and weight loss, which led to a shocking diagnosis of stage five lymphoma.

Her TikTok video, showing her pooch bowing, reads: "If your dog ever does this, out of nowhere, please take them to the vet immediately".


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Many people have commented on the normality of dog's bowing, while others have agreed with @sweetteatate, explaining it was an indication that their pup was in late stage illness too.

Courtney Flagler commented: "Ignore the comments. I know what you mean. It’s a different stretch. You know they are uncomfortable. I wish I would have known sooner too💔" and Cactus Kid adds: "people that aren't getting it; it's a painful stretch, it seems innocent but he's in pain :( he still wants to full stretch but it's hard"

No Way agrees: "It’s when they hold this stretch for a long time like 10 seconds+ and having a blank stare. My chi did this when she had a foreign body blockage" as does April Schweikert: "For everyone saying it’s a stretch!! It’s called the praying position and is a sign of pain", who is backed up by Tabitha "Dr Tee", who explains: "Vet here. This is the “praying position” and if prolonged or suddenly frequent, it is indicative of abdominal pain which has many causes."

So, if your dog seems to be attempting the bow but looks awkward or if they don't usually stretch this way and suddenly begin doing so, make sure you get your precious pup to the vets - it's better to be safe than sorry!