Why Do Dogs Howl At Night? Is It Normal? Reasons Why They Do That

Aryan Khanna
Mar 07, 2023 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Oct 23, 2021
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Two Siberian huskies raised their faces up and howl

Dog owners, in particular, and mankind, in general, have always been curious about dog howls and the reason behind it.

We have always associated a dog howling with its ancestors, wolves. Wolves are animals living in the wild but are well known for their howling attribute, and it is believed that dogs have followed the same behavior.

Dogs have taken after wolves quite a lot especially in regard to howling in order to call its pack members. More or less everyone has heard a dog howling, usually late at night.

This vocalization is not done by only certain breeds of dogs as every dog howls, maybe some more than others. There are several underlying reasons which provide us some clarity on this attribute of dogs.

It sure is annoying at times; a dog owner does not want to wake up in the middle of the night because of a howling dog for some unknown reason. An interesting fact about dogs howling is that dogs are known to howl to even announce their presence to another dog.

The most common myth behind dog howling is that it is a signal that there soon is going to be a death.

People all over the world believe that if two dogs howl together, it signifies the death of a male and three dogs howling together points towards a female death.

It is also believed that the direction the dogs look in while howling is the direction in which the victim is present.

These are just myths that have been present in human society for decades now, and there is no scientific evidence backing such theories, although researchers believe that dogs can sense someone's illness or detect if someone's going to die using their sense of smell and other unknown means.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about why dogs pant so much and why dogs drag their butts here on Kidadl?

When dogs howl at night, what does it mean?

Other than a couple of superstitions that we believe about dogs howling, there are several scientific reasons why dogs howl at night. They can be broadly categorized as anxiety, separation issues or even a form of communication.

It is possible that at times, when dogs howl, it doesn't mean something very significant, but at times, dogs howl to signal something they have discovered or even to express grief and pain. Some of the most relevant meanings behind a dog's howl are discussed below.

The most known meaning of a dog howling at night is that it is suffering from anxiety, separation anxiety to be precise. A dog's howling is a way of your pet calling for you, seeking your attention.

This kind of behavior is mostly seen when a dog is newly adopted or in puppies who are very young.

They do not like the idea of staying alone for long hours at night as they still haven't completely adjusted to their new surroundings and the routine. Maybe you can notice this behavior even in adult dogs at times when they are left alone at home for long hours, even during the day.

This can be linked to their ancestors, wolves as well. A wolf also howls at night to call its pack members.

If you have made changes in your dog's food or bathroom routine recently, the howling might be a way to express confusion about the change in routine. Dogs prefer to stick to a schedule and a routine and follow it at any cost.

Any change in that schedule is not appreciated by your dog.

There are several other reasons that lead to a dog's howling which we will be discussing later in the article. What we can now understand is, dogs do not howl for no reason, it isn't something they do randomly for fun, and there is always an underlying reason regarding a dog's howl.

What causes dogs to howl at night?

The question that has bamboozled every dog owner is, why does his or her pet howl at night? For that matter, why does your neighbor's dog howl as well?

Reasons are majorly behavioral such as separation anxiety and communication issues but if it is a case of pain and agony due to an injury, go see a veterinarian. Some primary reasons for dog howl at night are discussed below.

Dogs often howl at night to seek your attention; this happens in cases when owners can't devote a minimum amount of time to their pets.

If your dog spends a lot of time alone, it gets lonely and craves attention and affection from its owners.

Although an owner must spend time with his or her dog to keep it active and provide it mental stimulation, the owner must not encourage its behavior of howling at night by giving it treats as it might end up encouraging it to repeat the pattern.

Keep in mind that your dog might be howling to avoid a toilet accident that might otherwise happen if it isn't helped.

Another understandable cause is an existing physical injury or an illness your dog is currently suffering from.

Your dog might be howling out of excessive pain or distress. If you aren't aware of any health-related issue which might make your dog howl at night, contact a vet and have your dog checked out.

Dogs naturally tend to hide their pain and emotions, so its owner might not be able to understand if it's suffering from an issue.

It's best to visit a vet.

Hearing noises is another probable cause behind your dog's howling, and this is a more relevant cause if your dog doesn't howl every night or howls only in a particular part of your home. A dog howls and barks at hearing any sort of unknown noises.

It could be a rat or it could also be an intruder breaking into your house at night.

It has been noted that dogs sometimes howl if they are hungry; this can happen if your dog isn't receiving enough nutrients in its food.

If your pet is developing from a pup to an adult dog, its appetite would increase, and you need to notice these changes and act accordingly.

A dog owner often believes that dogs howl when they hear sirens such as that of a fire truck or an ambulance, and they think that these sounds hurt a dog's ear but that might not be the case.

Researchers and dog behavior consultants haven't been able to pinpoint any particular reason which causes dogs to howl at sirens as they howl at various high-pitched instruments as well.

What they do believe is it is something that is connected to their ancestral root, the wild animal the wolf.

Dogs get alerted when they hear sirens and howl, and breeds like boxers and Boston terriers are known to exhibit this behavior more than any other dog breed. When a dog trainer is training guard dogs or search dogs, they teach them to howl at any suspicious object or if they detect any smell.

A howl or a bark are the only ways dogs use communication to draw attention, so they resort to those methods when necessary.

Cute wine cellar dog howling and barking outdoors.

Is it normal for dogs to howl at night?

Every other dog is known to howl at night; if your dog howls at night it is not something to be alarmed about. If it happens every night though, you might want to contact a vet or work on the potential reasons why your dogs howl at night.

Another cause is when other dogs such as that of your neighbor or stray dogs near your house's location howl, your dog responds to it by howling.

Isolation anxiety along with separation anxiety is a very common cause among pet dogs which often leads to them howling and barking.

If your pet dog is left alone for long hours, especially during nighttime when it doesn't get to see either you or any of its fellow companions for eight to nine hours at a stretch, the dog gets anxious and howls.

It also resorts to chewing rubber objects or the foot of any furniture. Dogs are known to get irritated and triggered by noises such as those of a mouth organ, a repetitive alarm clock sound or the sound of any other high-pitched musical instrument.

There are no concrete reasons behind this as it is how dogs are and when they feel irritated, they resort to howling at the very top of their voice.

Another reason why you often notice stray dogs howling at night is, during the daytime, they tend to rest and are more active during the evening and nighttime.

Due to less traffic during the midnight and early morning hours, dogs tend to socialize, and thus, communicate via howls with another dog. Your pet dog is a creature of the same species, and thus, responds to the howl it hears.

Moreover, dogs howl during daytime as well, but owing to all the noise and the hustle and bustle, people perhaps can't hear their howls.

On the other hand, when dogs howl during the night, the noise is more significant owing to how quiet the nighttime is.

What can you do when your dog howls at night?

Even though it is not unusual for your pet dog to howl at night, it might get irritating for you to hear your pet howl at midnight when you are trying to get some sleep. At the same time, it might so happen that your dog is howling out of discomfort.

There are thus a number of tips you can use to reduce the dog howling at night.

Dogs often howl when they don't get enough food and feel hungry late at night. It is important you get your dog the required amount of nutrition especially in the case of a pup transitioning into an adult dog.

Also, make sure that there is a considerable time gap between your dog's dinner time and its bedtime.

You do not want your dog to eat and then immediately sleep.

The ideal situation is when your dog has enough time to digest its food, it feels tired and then goes to bed, and there are higher chances that your pet will then peacefully sleep.

Additionally, take your dog out for a walk before it goes to bed and make it pee; it often is the case that dogs howl at night in order to avoid an indoor accident.

You must keenly notice the changes in your dog's routine when it starts howling at night as it could be due to a change in its surroundings such as the arrival of a new pet or sleeping in a new location.

Dogs take some time to settle in and adjust themselves with changes so give your dog a couple of weeks after shifting it to a new room.

If the howling continues, then you can visit a vet or a dog behavior specialist.

Providing your dog with enough physical and mental exercise is also very important.

Dogs tend to become lazy and inactive when you don't play with them. They eventually develop ailments due to inactivity such as arthritis or in some cases they just aren't tired enough to sleep.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do dogs howl at night, then why not take a look at why do dogs digorwhy do dogs lick wounds?

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Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Aryan Khanna picture

Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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