Why Do Dogs Howl?

Dogs are peculiar animals but are so lovable even with their strange instincts.

Howling is one of those innate instincts passed down from ancient wolf ancestors. It is in their DNA and who can blame them for that?

Here are some curious reasons why your canine howls:

Dogs and wolves separated from a common ancestor thousands of years ago – around 34,000 to be exact.

1. Calling the Pack

It is well-known that dogs belong to a pack. That’s the way their social structure has worked for the past centuries. In our modern world a dog’s family is his pack.

When he howls he is alerting his family to come to him. Thousands of years ago reasons for howling may have included finding food or warning for predators.

Now your dog may howl to alert you about an intruder or call you when he is feeling scared.

2. Separation Anxiety

This is a main cause of howling as dogs may feel anxious without their owner and rely on their primal instincts to return the pack to safety. When a member of the pack is missing they may howl which, translated, would say, “I’m here, come to my voice”.

This behavior is seen in pups calling for their mother.

Dogs are affectionate and good-natured beings who can get attached to their owners easily.

However, it is important to give the dog some time away from its owner as separation anxiety is not good for your pet.

3. Happiness

Some dogs howl as they are overexcited (like humans do when they yell out of excitement). They may also be howling to get their owners attention. After all, howling is just another way of communicating in dogs.

Wolves don’t necessarily howl at the moon. They are nocturnal, and need to communicate, so howl at night. They throw their heads back, which makes them seem to be howling at the moon. Wolves howl regardless of the fullness of the moon. Therefore, wolves and dogs howling at the moon may indeed be a myth.

Sonorous howling can be quite startling and usually occurs at odd times. But we need to realize dogs communicate in complex ways very different to humans.

However, there has been cases of dogs howling due to health issues when something is seriously wrong and they may be in pain.

If you are concerned why your pet is howling contact your Vet and check your dog for any visible injuries.

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