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What to Make of Your Dog's Howling

September 1, 2020

Does your canine pal like to howl? This is something that many of our canine friends do, but it’s especially common in certain breeds like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Dachshunds, and Huskies. What’s behind this unique behavior? Read on to learn more! A local vet talks about your dog’s howling and whether or not it’s a cause for concern below.


W  hen Howling is Normal

Fido’s ancestor, the wolf, uses howling as a way of communicating with other pack members. Wolves also howl to frighten prey and warn other animals to stay away from their territory. Basically, your furry pal’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 when they’re responding to stimuli in their environment. This could be an ambulance siren in the distance or the mailman approaching your front door. Fido might also howl when they’ve found something exciting, like that bone he buried in the flowerbeds last summer. Your dog might also howl 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 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. Fido may howl to let you know where he is. If your canine pal 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 pooch 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 pup never howled much 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 furry pal to stop howling, pay a visit to the vet’s office. First, you’ll want to have any medical concerns dealt with. If your pup’s howling is purely a behavioral issue, Fido 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!

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