Have you ever heard your dog howl? It’s something that many of our canine friends do, especially certain breeds like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Dachshunds, and Huskies. But what’s behind this unique behavior? Read on to learn more about your dog’s howling and whether or not it’s a cause for concern.
Your dog’s ancient ancestor, the wild wolf, used howling as a way of communicating with other pack members and warning other animals to stay away from their territory. So, most of the time, your dog’s howling is an instinctual behavior related to communication. Your pup is a pack animal, after all.
One normal 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. Or, 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 away from their territory, just as wild wolves might do.
Although howling is a perfectly normal dog behavior most of the time, there are reasons why it might be a bad thing. One is stress and anxiety—separation anxiety in dogs is common and often causes loud vocalizations, including howling. If your dog has separation anxiety, he or she will probably exhibit other signs when they’re left alone, like 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 problem like arthritis or dental disease. This is especially likely if you see other signs of pain accompanying the howling, like sensitivity to touch, unusually aggressive behavior, or excessive panting. And if your dog never howled before, but has suddenly started, pain could be the cause.
If you can’t get your dog to stop howling, pay a visit to the vet’s office. First, you’ll want to have any medical concerns dealt with if they’re present. If howling is purely a behavioral issue, your dog might need training or even anxiety medication. Your vet 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!