Why Do Dogs Howl? These Are the Top 7 Reasons


Some dog behaviors are easy to interpret, like the pleading look your pup sends your way when you’re eating a juicy hamburger. (Yep, it wants a bite.) But other behaviors are downright perplexing, leaving you to wonder, Why do dogs bark when there’s nothing to bark at? Why does my dog sigh? Why does my dog tilt its head? And why does my dog howl seemingly without reason?

Is all the howling driving you bonkers? To get to the bottom of your pup’s loudest pastime, we turned to the pros. Read on to get the answer to a question all pet owners have asked at some point: Why does my dog howl?

Top reasons why your canine is howling

Not even scientists know why dogs howl at certain times. That said, the dog’s ancestor, the wolf, offers clues that may help answer questions, like “Why does my dog howl?” and “Why do puppies howl?”

1. It’s getting back to its roots

Breeds that can trace their roots back to wolves, like the husky, Alaskan malamute, Akita, and Shiba Inu, are more inclined to howl, says Stephen M. Katz, VMD, general practitioner and owner of Bronx Veterinary Center and founder of pet CBD company Therabis. Yet all types of dogs, including calm dog breeds, are capable of rising to the occasional howl, so what does dog howling mean?

“It’s not so much that dogs howl because they are anxious, but rather as an atavistic response to bring their pack back together,” Dr. Katz says. That is, your pup’s howl may be a throwback to its ancient roots. “When a dog’s pack—which now consists of its owners or family—is out of sight for long or not providing the attention the dog wants, these breeds use their vocalizations to signal to the ‘pack’ that it’s time to get back together.”

Every dog has the potential to be a howler or a barker, but canine experts say these breeds make the quietest roommates.

2. It misses you

Two tell-tail—er, telltale—signs of separation anxiety are howling and acting out destructively, says Dr. Katz. “The best way to help a dog that is acting out in these ways is to get them outdoors and running around,” he says. “This helps dogs get out that extra energy they have stored up.”

Dr. Katz also recommends CBD dog treats, which he says help dogs maintain calm energy and overall comfort. If that doesn’t do the trick, these products can help your dog stay busy (and avoid separation anxiety) while you’re at work.

3. It’s communicating with other dogs

Whether it’s the primitive howl of wolf dog breeds or the melodious baying of hound dogs, the sound in concert can raise some questions: Why do dogs howl together? Do they have a secret language we don’t know about?

Well, sort of. “Dogs in the wild used to howl to communicate with each other over long distances,” says Dr. Katz. “In our urban world, howls from the pack are replaced with sounds like sirens and music, but dogs still have the atavistic response of howling back.”

In other words, your howling pup may be communicating with other dogs or even stimuli like music or fireworks. As most canine owners know, dogs are scared of fireworks (hence the cries), but you can take steps to calm your anxious doggy.

4. It’s just doing its job

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