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Make Sense of Your Dog's Howling

October 1, 2020

Has your dog ever howled? It’s something that many dogs do, especially certain breeds like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Dachshunds. What’s the deal with this behavior? Read on as an Ontonagon vet explains dog 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 way of communicating with other pack members and warning other animals to stay away from their territory. So, in most cases, your dog’s howling is an instinctual behavior related to communication. After all, your pup is a pack animal.

Another normal reason for a dog to howl is because they’re responding to stimuli in their environment, such as an ambulance siren or the mailman approaching the 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 pooch howls to “warn” other people or animals away from their territory, just as wild wolves might do.

When You Should be Concerned

Although howling is a perfectly natural dog behavior most of the time, there are a few instance in which it might be a red flag. One is stress and anxiety—separation anxiety is common in dogs and is often accompanied by loud vocalizations, including howling. If your dog has separation anxiety, he or she will likely exhibit other signs when left alone, such as eliminating in the house and destroying furniture or other property.

It’s also possible that your dog is howling in response to pain, perhaps caused by a physical injury or a medical condition like arthritis or dental disease. This is especially likely if you notice other signs of pain, like sensitivity to touch, unusually aggressive behavior, or excessive panting. And if your four-legged friend 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 Fido to stop howling, it may be worth paying a visit to your Ontonagon vet’s office. First, you’ll want to have any medical concerns dealt with if they’re present. If howling is deemed to be purely a behavioral issue, training or anxiety medication may be the next step. In either case, your Ontonagon 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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