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What to Make of Your Dog's Howling

September 1, 2020

Has your dog ever let out a howl? It’s something that many of our canine friends do, especially particular breeds like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Dachshunds, and Huskies. Ever wonder what’s behind this unique behavior? Read on as a Jefferson County vet shares some interesting insight about your dog’s howling and whether or not it’s a cause for concern.

W  hen Howling is Normal

Your pup’s ancient ancestor, the wild wolf, used howling to communicate with other pack members and warn other animals to stay away from their territory. So, most of the time, your dog’s howling is an instinctual behavior related to the same innate reasons. Your pup is a pack animal, after all.

One natural reason for a dog to howl is as a response to stimuli in their environment, such as an ambulance siren in the distance or the mailman approaching your front door. Or, a dog 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 a wild wolf might do.

When Howling is Bad

Although howling is typically a normal dog behavior most of the time, there are some instances when it might be a bad thing. One is stress and anxiety—separation anxiety in dogs is common and often triggers vocalizations, including howling. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, he or she 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 dog is howling as a result of 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. If your dog never howled before, but has suddenly started, pain could very well 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 Jefferson County vet’s office. First, you’ll want to have any medical issues dealt. If howling is purely a behavioral issue, your pup might benefit from training or even anxiety medication. Your Jefferson County 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!