5 Reasons Why Dogs Howl

We've all heard our dogs howl at some point and wondered what is going through their head. Here are the 5 reasons why dogs howl and what they mean.

We’ve all heard our dogs howl at some point and wondered what is going through their head. The truth is that we still don’t fully understand the reasons, it is understood that howling is another form of communication outside of barking and shrieking.

5 Reasons Why Dogs Howl:

  1. Separation anxiety: This commonly occurs when a dog has left home alone or separated with its owner. This is important to note since howling is often paired with other behavior such as pacing, scratching, and digging.
  2. Health issues: As howling is another form of communication, it’s possible that your dog is trying to alert you to something that is physically wrong with them. If your dog begins howling more frequently or in a shrieking manner, it’s recommended that you check your dog for any visible injuries. If none is found and your dog continues to howl, you should take them to your veterinarian.
  3. Sounds: There are certain sounds that can trigger your dog to howl, the most common being in response to a siren. Since dogs generally start and stop howling based on when they hear the sound, it is normal and is just a dog being a dog.
  4. Communicating with other dogs: One of the theories around why dogs howl is that they’re bored or lonely. Another is that howling is similar to a long-distance phone call since the sound dogs make when howling can travel greater distances than barking, thus alerting dogs to their location or needs.
  5. To alert their owner of danger: To get the attention of their owner, dogs may resort to howling. This is similar to howling in response to a siren. It’s your dog is a dog and is normal behavior.

3 Types of Howling

There are three reasons why dogs howl, bark, and bay. The beagle breed is the most likely to “bay” which is described as sounding alarmed that quarry is nearby. Here are the three types of howling as defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

  1. Howl: to utter or emit a loud sustained doleful sound or outcry characteristic of dogs and wolves
  2. Bark: of a dog to emit or utter its characteristic loud explosive cry
  3. Bay: of a dog to bark (as at a thief or at the game it is pursuing) especially with deep prolonged tones.

Now that you understand the types of barking, howling and baying, it’s important that attempt to understand what your dog is trying to communicate to you.