Have you ever heard your dog howl? It’s something that many of our canine companions do, especially certain breeds that are predisposed to such behavior, including Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Dachshunds, and Huskies. Below, an experienced Lonoke County vet shares insight on dog howling and whether or not it’s a cause for concern.
When Howling is Normal
Your dog’s ancient canine ancestor, the wild wolf, engaged in howling as a way of communicating with other pack members and to warn other animals to stay away from their territory. So, in most cases, your dog’s howling is an instinctual behavior related to communication. They’re still pack animals, after all.
Another normal reason your pup may 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 he finds something exciting, like a bone he’d 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 a perfectly natural canine behavior most of the time, there are reasons why it might be a red flag. One is feelings of stress and anxiety—separation anxiety in dogs is common and often causes loud vocalizations, including howling. If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, he or she will probably exhibit other signs when left alone, like eliminating in the house and destroying furniture or other property.
There’s also a chance 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 particularly likely if you notice other signs of pain accompanying the howling, such as sensitivity to touch, unusually aggressive behavior, or excessive panting. If your dog never howled before, but has suddenly started, pain could be the cause.
What if Fido Won’t Stop Howling?
If you can’t get your dog to stop howling, contact your Lonoke County vet. First, you’ll want to have any existing medical concerns dealt with. If howling is strictly a behavioral issue, your dog may need training or even anxiety medication. Your Lonoke 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!