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What to Make of Your Dog's Howling

September 15, 2020

Have you ever heard your dog howl? It’s something that many of our canine friends do, especially certain breeds. But what’s the story behind this common behavior? Read more from a trusted Carroll vet to learn more about howling and whether or not it’s a cause for concern.

W  hen Howling is Normal

Your dog’s ancient ancestor, the wild wolf, used howling as a way to communicate with other pack members as well as warn other animals to stay away from their territory. So, most of the time, your dog’s howling is instinctual. Your pup is a pack animal, after all.

One normal reason for a dog to howl is in response to stimuli in their environment, such as an ambulance siren in the distance or the mailman approaching the front door. Fido might also howl when he’s found something exciting, like a bone he buried in the flowerbeds last summer. It’s also possible that your dog howls to “warn” other people or animals away from their territory, just as wild wolves might do.

When Howling is Bad

Although howling is a perfectly normal behavior most of the time, there are some reasons it might be a bad thing. One is stress and anxiety—separation anxiety in dogs is common and often triggers loud vocalizations, including howling. If your dog has separation anxiety, he will probably exhibit other signs when left alone, like eliminating in the house and destroying furniture or other property.

It’s also possible that your pup is howling as a response to pain, perhaps caused by a physical injury or a medical problem, such as arthritis or dental disease. This is especially likely if you notice other signs of pain accompanying the howling, like sensitivity to touch, unusually aggressive behavior, or excessive panting. If your dog has never howled before, but has suddenly started, pain could be the cause.

What to Do if Fido Won’t Stop Howling

If you can’t get your dog to stop howling, pay a visit to your Carroll vet. First, you’ll want to have any medical concerns dealt with if they’re present. If howling is strictly a behavioral issue, your dog may need training or even anxiety medication. Your Carroll vet can help.

Set up an appointment at our office if you’re concerned about your dog’s health or behavior. Our team is always here for you!