Why Do Dogs Howl?

Dogs howl to communicate.


Why do dogs howl? Howling is just one of the many ways that dogs communicate. Some dogs only howl in short bursts once in a while, while others sing their wolf song loud and proud.

Wolves, coyotes, and dogs both howl socially. They might howl at the start of a hunt, or to announce their arrival or signal the location of their home den. Howling can also be a territorial declaration to tell other canines to stay off their turf.

While our pet dogs don’t need to howl for the exact same reasons as their wild cousins, dogs still howl for these purposes. Your dog might howl with excitement at the start of a walk, or to call you back home when you leave for work. She could also be communicating with other dogs in the area.

Howling May Indicate Pain

A dog howling can also indicate pain. If your dog’s howl sounds different or if howling is an unusual activity for her, a vet visit may be in order.

Why Do Dogs Howl at Night?

Dogs howling at night is no different than howling during the day. Your dog is simply communicating with you or other dogs in the area. She may also be howling out of boredom.

Why Do Dogs Howl at Sirens?

Sirens can sound very similar to a dog’s howl and may stimulate your dog to respond in kind.

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Kate Basedow, LVT is a long-time dog enthusiast. She grew up training and showing dogs, and is active in a variety of dog sports. She earned her Bachelors Degree in English from Cornell University in 2013, and became a licensed veterinary technician in New York in 2017. She has been writing professionally about dogs for most of her life, and has earned multiple awards from the Dog Writers' Association of America. Kate currently has three dogs at home, as well as a cat, two zebra finches, and six ducks.