Dogs can Catch them from People

This is an interesting reflex we share with our pets, quite literally with our dogs. It has long been recognized that when you yawn after seeing someone else do it you are showing empathy. Until recently it was believed that only other humans and great apes could catch human yawns.


Now we know better. Research has shown that dogs catch human yawns; of 29 pet dogs tested, 72% yawned when they observed an unfamiliar person yawning. This is better than the rate of catching yawns between humans. Maybe our dogs are more empathic than we are.


More on yawning next week. (Let’s be clear: That’s more on yawning-not moron yawning.)





Why do Pets Yawn? Why does Anybody Yawn?

Urban legend has long held that yawning is triggered by low oxygen levels in the blood. Well, it just ain’t so. Administering oxygen doesn’t have any impact on the frequency of yawning. In fact, even fetuses yawn because, as it turns out, yawning cools the brain.


According to researchers, Gallup and Gallup, when we or our pets are inactive blood flow to the brain slows down and the brain heats up. But, like any high-powered computer, our brains work better when cooler. When we’re sleepy, or waking up, yawning cools and revs up the computer. Personally, I yawn plenty. I could be a hot head or maybe I’m just a pooped puppy. I’m going back to bed.