Why Do Dogs Howl at Night?

by Victoria
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We love our dogs and all their quirky ways of communicating. Howling is one of the ways a dog can communicate how they’re feeling. But, why do dogs howl at night? Many of us dog owners are curious why. It’s not just that dogs are channeling their ancestor wolves – our dogs are trying to tell us something!

Knowing what our dog means or needs is important to know, especially if it wakes us up at night!  So, we are diving headfirst into the reasons why dogs howl at night.

why do dogs howl at night?

Asserting Territory

Our dogs love us and want to protect our homes. When a dog senses another dog nearby, it may howl to announce and assert its presence in the home. It is a signal that your home is off-limits to any stranger.

This behavior reminds us of our dogs’ ancestors – wolves. This rings even more true as dogs also howl to gather their tribe. Now, your dog isn’t planning on gathering all the dogs in the neighborhood to form an army… Your dog’s howls are most likely to signal its fellow tribe, aka you!

Hearing noises you may not hear

Dogs have impressive hearing capabilities. This makes them very sensitive to specific kinds of sounds, causing dogs to howl at night when things are a little quieter.

We are not saying that your dog hears ghosts in your house. Rather, your dog hears noises near and far that we may not hear. High-pitched sounds in particular catch our dog’s attention. In fact, dogs can hear pitches that are too high for humans to pick up on.

So, why do high pitches cause dogs to howl? Tying into a dog’s territorial behavior, dogs are historically predators. Therefore, these sounds closely mimic another dog’s howl or a small animal nearby. This instinctually inclined our dogs to howl.

why dogs howl at night

Responding to dreams

Ever wonder why dogs howl at night, in the middle of deep slumber? It’s most likely because your dog is experiencing an intense dream. That’s right – dogs dream too!

Vivid dreams can cause dogs to howl, wag their tails, whimper, or even bark. It may seem a little strange at first. But, the best thing you can do is let your pup sleep, even if the howling woke you up. Just like a sleep-walking human, waking your dog during a dream can really disturb them. It breaks their REM cycle, upsetting their night’s sleep. Plus, your dog may be so startled that it may react aggressively.  Would you be happy if you were woken up out of an awesome dream?

Dealing with anxiety or loneliness

Crying or howling at night is often associated with puppies. But, full-grown canines can also experience loneliness and a need for attention at night too.

Anxiety or loneliness is a very common reason for a dog’s nighttime howling. Dogs are super loving and loyal. When left alone for bedtime, they may feel really lonely, even if you thought they were used to sleeping alone. Some dogs struggle immensely with separation anxiety their entire lives.

Oftentimes, your dog’s feelings of anxiety or loneliness can result from more obvious circumstances. You may have moved to a new home, with brand new scents that your dog is unfamiliar with. Or, maybe you didn’t let them sleep in your bed that night. Surrounding your dog with toys, blankets, and other things your dog is familiar with can help them relax and feel right at home.

why do dogs howl at night?

Dogs Howl When They Feel Pain

When dogs howl for extended periods of time at night, it could mean that they’re in pain. While our dogs may seem human a lot of times, their cries for help are a little different than ours. This goes especially for internal pain that we humans. can’t see.

Howling is a way for our pups to tell us they need us. If you find your dog continuously howling, it most likely means your dog is reaching out for help. Unless the howling stops in a short period of time, it’s always wise to take your dog to the vet to discover the reason behind your dog’s pain.

Experiencing Hunger

Yes, just like us humans, dogs can crave a midnight snack, too. When dogs do not eat enough through the day, or long gaps between meals, they are in need of a little more calories. This will help them maintain their energy and, of course, sleep better!

Dogs howl at night for various reasons. If you or someone you know has a howling pup, share this article with them – it may help them discover exactly why their dog may be keeping them up at night.

Canva scared dog

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