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What to Make of Your Dog's Howling

September 15, 2020

Does your dog howl? It’s something that a lot of dogs do, especially breeds like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Foxhounds, Coonhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies, and Dachshunds. But what causes this behavior? Learn more about your dog’s howling in this article and find out if it’s a cause for concern.


W  hen is Howling Normal?

Wild wolves—ancient ancestors of your domesticated dog—used howling to communicate with other pack members. It also served to warn other animals to stay away from their territory. Most often, your dog’s howling is an instinctual behavior related to doggie communication. Remember: your pup is a pack animal! 


Many dogs howl because they’re responding to some kind of stimuli in their environment; an ambulance siren in the distance or the mailman approaching your front door, for instance. Fido might also howl when he’s found something enticing, like a bone they buried in the flowerbeds. And dogs might even howl to “warn” other people or animals off from their territory, just like wild wolves do.


When is Howling Bad? 

Howling is perfectly normal most of the time, but there are instances in which it’s not such a good thing. One possibility is stress and anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety often vocalize loudly. You’ll probably notice other signs of separation anxiety accompanying the howling, like urinating in the house and destroying property.


Dogs may also howl in response to physical pain; things like arthritis or dental disease could be the root cause. If you see other signs of pain like sensitivity to touch, unusually aggressive behavior, or excessive panting, this could be the case. And if your dog has seemingly started howling out of nowhere, pain could be the cause of that behavior. 


What to Do if Fido Won’t Stop Howling

Can’t get your dog to stop howling? Pay a visit to your local vet’s office. You’ll want to have any medical concerns diagnosed and treated. If Fido’s howling is only a behavioral issue, your vet might recommend training or even anxiety medication. 


To learn more about howling and other dog behaviors, call your vet’s office. We’re always here to help!

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