Howling is a common character of dogs and most dogs have howled at least a few times in their lives. Yet, it’s quite rare since they do it sporadically which makes us wonder what can be the actual reason behind it. Another fascinating thing about howling is that dogs usually do this at night.
Some researchers say that dogs are descendants of wolves and they have retained the wolf’s habit of howling. Then there are others who spread the myth that the dog has seen some supernatural creature. So what is the actual reason behind the howling? Is there any reason to worry? We’ll discuss that and more in this article.
Why dogs howl at night?
Howling is another way of communication for dogs other than barking. The reasons your dog is singing in that high pitched voice include:
- Seeking attention- Your dog might be feeling ignored despite his constant efforts which may result in howling. Some breeds like Siberian Huskies and Beagles are more vocal than others which explains why dogs howl more than others.
- Alert their owner- Your dog might have seen a thief or some suspect roaming around. If you don’t listen to his barks, he may start howling.
- Response to high pitched noise- Dogs can listen to sounds of frequency up to 40kHz as compared to humans’ 20kHz. He might start howling in response to such a high-frequency noise. They naturally have the tendency to respond to such noises coming from a distance because of the wolves’ trait to stay in a pack.
- Anxiety- If the dog hasn’t met the owner for a long time, he may express his grief through howling. It’s often accompanied by digging, scratching and other such activities.
- Medical issues- Your dog might be experiencing unbearable pain due to some internal injuries or issues. If your dog is howling frequently or in a shrieking tone, you should check for possible injuries or consult the vet ASAP.
- Communication- Dogs howl at times to call out other dogs in their area. If your dog is friends with other dogs in your neighborhood, he may start communicating with them using this technique. It’s irritating but natural for your dog to do that.
Are dogs sad when they howl?
While little research is there to prove whether they’re sad we have a judgment from the study of common behavior of dogs. Dogs aren’t sad when they howl and perhaps are calling out their friends to alert them and so on. But there’s a certain kind of howl that may signal that your dog is sad and in pain.
If your dog is hurt or scared, he might start howling which here is an extension to the ‘yelp’ sound they make. A moudornful howl certainly means your dog is sad or in some kind of trouble. It’s important to note that happy and relaxed dogs don’t usually howl which takes us to the next question.
Do dogs enjoy howling?
There are two pieces of evidence to explain the fact that dogs don’t actually enjoy howling. Firstly, the dog may howl in pain or in grief when he’s missing his owner. This straightaway eliminates the possibility of enjoyment in such cases which can be further consolidated by the fact that happy and relaxed dogs don’t howl.
Additionally, dogs howl to send out some kind of message or when they are in need of something. Be it for getting your attention, alerting you of suspicion or calling out other dogs, they are in some kind of need which explains that dogs don’t enjoy howling.
Why dogs howl in winter?
Being a dog owner, you would have observed that your dog starts barking excessively at times in winter. Dog barking complaints are at an all-time high in winter. This is mainly because the dog is feeling cold and uneasy. If the discomfort reaches its unbearable level, your dog might start howling at that time.
Ensure a cozy, warm blanket for your dog in winter and offer him a place inside your home as the kennel may get unbearably cold. You should also feed him meaty raw bones and healthy food to keep himself energetic and warm.
Is howling bad for dogs?
Howling isn’t bad for dogs unless it’s due to a medical concern. As discussed above, a sudden injury, abdominal pain or discomfort, and other such ailments might be the reason for your dog’s howling. It may also point to a disease named dog dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction which can cause your dog to howl.
Older dogs are more likely to suffer this disease which leaves them in a confused or anxious state of mind. It’s a neurological issue and causes recurrent as well as mournful howling. You should consult the vet if you observe a prolonged howling in a shrieking tone.
Otherwise, it’s all fine and your dog is looking for new ways to make his presence felt around you.