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What to Make of Your Dog’s Howling

August 15, 2020

Have you ever heard your dog howl? It’s a behavior that many of our canine friends exhibit, especially certain breeds like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Dachshunds, and Huskies. Ever wonder what’s behind this unique behavior? Read on as a animal hospital Heath shares more about howling and whether or not it’s a cause for concern.

When Howling is Normal

Your dog’s ancient ancestor, the wild wolf, used howling as a way of both communicating with other pack members, as well as warning other animals to stay away from their territory. Most of the time, your dog’s howling is an instinctual behavior related to communication. Your pup is technically a pack animal, after all.

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

When is Howling Bad?

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

It’s also possible that your dog is howling as a response to pain, perhaps caused by a physical injury or a medical condition like arthritis or dental disease. This is especially likely if you see other signs of pain accompanying the howling, such as sensitivity to touch, unusually aggressive behavior, or excessive panting. And if your dog never howled before, but just started doing so recently, 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 Heath vet. You’ll want to have any medical concerns dealt with first, if they’re present. If howling is purely a behavioral issue, your dog might need some training or even anxiety medication. Your vet Heath can help.

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