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What to Make of Fido’s Howling

September 2, 2020

Has your dog ever let out a howl? It’s something that many of our canine friends do, especially certain breeds who are predisposed to this behavior, like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Dachshunds, and Huskies. But what does all this mean? Below, a Villa Rica Area vet shares insight about your dog’s howling and whether or not it’s a cause for concern.

When Howling is Normal

Your canine companion’s ancient ancestor, the wild wolf, used howling as a tool to communicate with other pack members and to warn other animals away from their territory. In most cases, your dog’s howling is simply an instinctual behavior related to communication. Your pup is a pack animal, after all.

Another completely normal reason for a dog to howl is in response to stimuli in their environment, such as an ambulance siren in the distance or a delivery driver approaching your front door. Or, Fido might howl because he’s found something exciting, like a bone he 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 do.

When Howling is Bad

Although howling is a perfectly normal dog behavior most of the time, there are some instances when it could be cause for concern. One is stress and anxiety—separation anxiety in dogs is common and often can result in loud vocalizations, including howling. If your dog has separation anxiety, he will probably exhibit other signs when he’s left alone, like eliminating in the house and destroying your 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, such as arthritis or dental disease. This is especially likely if you notice other signs of pain accompanying the howling, like sensitivity to touch, unusual aggression, or excessive panting. If your dog never howled 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 dog to stop howling, a visit to the Villa Rica Area vet is probably in order. First, you’ll want to have any existing medical concerns dealt with properly. If the howling is purely a behavioral issue, your dog might need training or even anxiety medication. Your Villa Rica Area 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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