The meaning behind your dog's yawn revealed

Human Yawns Are Contagious For Dogs

We all yawn when we're tired -- but for pooches, the move may be more than just an incredibly adorable sign of drowsiness.

Studies have shown that a pup's yawn can sometimes be a sign of stress, but it may actually be a sign of empathy too.

SEE ALSO: Dog dubbed 'world's loneliest' lands a role in the upcoming 'Transformers' movie

Researchers at the University of Tokyo took a group of 25 dogs and had their owners and total strangers yawn in front of them.

Not only did the canine's "catch" yawns from humans, but they yawned more frequently when their owner did, suggesting the reaction is strongly impacted by deep emotional bonds.

Dogs obviously can't tell us about their emotions -- but since contagious yawning is a key sign of empathy among humans, many experts feel it's a great way to tell how Fido is feeling.

According to Dr. Brian Hare from Dognition, who is partnering with Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND to drive awareness of canine cognition, this behavior may have enabled canines and humans to form bonded groups as well, helping to secure precious pooches with the status of man's best friend they hold today.

So if you find yourself wondering if your favorite pup really cares for you, just stretch back and yaaaaaaaawn.


To celebrate Pet Appreciation Week from June 5 - 11 check out more of these fun facts about your favorite critters:

(Photo courtesy of Purina)

Related: Also see these adorable yawning animals:

Animals yawning
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The meaning behind your dog's yawn revealed
A camel yawns before competing on July 24, 2015 in the western town of Pornichet before competing in one leg of the first French camels race championship. AFP PHOTO GEORGES GOBET (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)
A female brown bear suckles cubs on June 18, 2015 in the semi-wildlife animal park of Les Angles, southwestern France. AFP PHOTO / RAYMOND ROIG (Photo credit should read RAYMOND ROIG/AFP/Getty Images)
A lion yawns at the zoo in Erfurt, eastern Germany, on June 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / MARTIN SCHUTT +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read MARTIN SCHUTT/AFP/Getty Images)
BAD SCHANDAU, SAXONY, GERMANY - 2015/05/10: A male European Lynx (lat.Lynx lynx) is yawning, the mouth is wide open. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 23: A small pup yawns as young volunteers train with the dogs on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Denver Dumb Friends League hosted their Pawsitive Service Club teach-in for kids ages 8 to 11. Childrend learned about pet body language and safety around pets. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
SANTA BARBARA, CA - APRIL 18: A sea lion makes its way onto the sand at Gaviota State Beach, entertaining dozens of sunbathers on April 18, 2015, near Santa Barbara, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers, the coastal region of Santa Barbara has become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
This photo taken on April 22, 2015 shows 'JK' a pet male monkey belonging to Jamil Ismail (Jamilkucing), yawning inside a cage at Jamil's house in Kuala Lumpur. Jamil, a 45-year single Malaysian man, has unusual pets -- two macaque monkeys. JK and Shaki, both nine years old, usually ride with Jamil on his motorcycle and they often have dinner together in public restaurants, drawing instant public awe. At times Jamil uses the two monkeys, who sometimes wear traditional Malay clothes and other costumes, to act in advertisements and perform stunts in public areas. The monkeys which cost 56 USD each and receive regular medical check-ups, are regarded as his family and move freely within his house. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 06: A Corgi yawns on the second day of Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre on March 6, 2015 in Birmingham, England. First held in 1891, Crufts is said to be the largest show of its kind in the world, the annual four-day event, features thousands of dogs, with competitors travelling from countries across the globe to take part and vie for the coveted title of 'Best in Show'. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Male Red Cheeked Anthias, Pseudanthias huchtii, Alam Batu, Bali, Indonesia (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
SURABAYA, INDONESIA - JANUARY 09: A Hippo yawns in the water at Surabaya Zoo on January 9, 2015 in Surabaya, Indonesia. In the midst of prolonged internal management conflict over the treatment of animals, Surabaya Zoo starts the new year cheerfully with the presence of two new members, a baby Hog Bawean deer (Axis kuhlii) on January 1 and a baby Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) on January 2. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
RAMAT GAN, ISRAEL - 2014/12/27: A cheetah yawning in Ramat Gan Safar. The Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan (Commonly known as the Safari Ramat Gan) is the largest collection of wildlife in human care in the Middle East. More than 700,000 visitors pass through the gates annually. (Photo by Laura Chiesa/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Bengal Tiger yawns in its enclosure in the Shanghai Zoo on November 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 07: A Samoyed is seen yawning during Dog Lovers Show at Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park on November 7, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
A lion is seen at the Rosy Walther zoo in El Picacho, 5kms north of Tegucigalpa, on September 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Cascade red fox kit yawns on a snowbank near its den just off the Paradise Valley Road at Mount Rainier National Park Monday, July 11, 2011. (Dean J. Koepfler/Tacoma News Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
A cat yawns as it enjoys the spring sun in front of a house in Sieversdorf, eastern Germany, on March 31, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DPA / PATRICK PLEUL / GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A six-month old Indian white tiger cub yawns at its enclosure at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on March 29, 2014. The three cubs, which have yet to be named, were presented for their first public viewing at the zoo. AFP PHOTO / Noah SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)
A zoo keeper holds a howler monkey baby during a press presentation in the zoo of Szeged, Hungary on August 14, 2013. The monkey, born on July 20, is nursed by the zoo keeper as its mother does not feed it. AFP PHOTO / CSABA SEGESVARI (Photo credit should read CSABA SEGESVARI/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: A dog yawns while waiting for its owner to vote on Election Day on November 5, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is running against Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota in a highly anticipated mayoral campaign. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A meerkat yawns on June 13, 2013 at the Sababurg animal park near Hofgeismar, western Germany. AFP PHOTO / UWE ZUCCHI / GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read UWE ZUCCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
A six-month-old white lion cubs yawns during the presented of the new program of the Circus Krone in Munich, southern Germany, January 29 2013. AFP PHOTO / VICTORIA BONN-MEUSER GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read VICTORIA BONN-MEUSER/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY JUSTINE GERARDY A cheetah yawns at The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) center in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, on August 13, 2013. The CCF started breeding Anatolian livestock dogs to promote cheetah-friendly farming after some 10,000 big cats -- the current total worldwide population -- were killed or moved off farms in the 1980s. Up to 1,000 cheetahs were being killed a year, mostly by farmers who saw them as livestock killers. But the use of dogs has slashed losses for sheep and goat farmers and led to less retaliation against the vulnerable cheetah. AFP PHOTO / JENNIFER BRUCE (Photo credit should read JENNIFER BRUCE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Californian sea lion yawns in his enclosure at the Zoologischer Garten zoo in Berlin on August 15, 2012. AFP PHOTO / BARBARA SAX (Photo credit should read BARBARA SAX/AFP/GettyImages)
(GERMANY OUT) Male African Lions ( Panthera leo ) on a road, Kruger National Park, South Africa (Photo by Mayall/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
NORDAUSTLANDET, NORWAY - UNDATED: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) A polar bear yawns in preparation for a nap on the sea ice off the coast of Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. With ice in the polar regions disappearing at record speed this hunting polar bear is literally taking a leap of faith jumping between two ice caps. The amazing picture was taken by American wildlife photographer Rebcecca Jackrel during a 22-day sailing expedition to capture the bears in their natural environment. The photographer, from San Francisco, travelled to the islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet in the independent archipelago of Svalbard to stake out her subjects. There she spent three weeks in a tiny boat watching more than twenty different bears go about their daily routine of hunting from the ocean. (Photo by Rebecca Jackrel/Barcroft Media/Getty Images)
The world's most famous polar bear Knut yawns in his enclosure at the zoo in Berlin on December 10, 2010. Meteorologists forecast fresh temperatures and some precipitations for the German capital. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
A female hippopotamus calf born in the Berlin zoo on August 9, 2010 watches her mother 'Kathi' yawn in their enclosure in Berlin's zoological garden, August 24, 2010. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
New Born Cheetah Cub, South Africa (Photo by Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 05: Hasani, a six month-old Western Lowland Gorilla, yawns as he plays in the gorilla exhibit during his first public viewing at the San Francisco Zoo June 5, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Hasani, who was born on December 8, 2008, has been hand-raised by zoo staff after being rejected by his mother at birth. A surrogate gorilla mother was trained to care for Hasani and has accepted the newborn. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 25: Alligator by Turner River, Everglades, Florida, USA (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

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