Do you ever wonder why dogs howl? Scientists have been baffled by this subject for years, but we may now have an answer. Recent research has shown that dogs howl for a variety of reasons, including to communicate with other dogs, to show excitement or joy, and even to mourn the death of a loved one. This article will explore the science behind dog howling and discuss the different reasons why your dog might be doing it!

For thousands of years, humans and dogs have been friends, and dogs may bark to communicate with us. However, dogs also bark at their own kind. However, there are several reasons given below why dogs howl:

When the Dog Got Separated from Its Family 

Evidence has shown that dogs howl when they get separated from other members of their pack, such as when a dog is at home alone while the owner is out of the house. These social interactions between canines appear to be innate - something that’s built into every canine’s genome, even the domesticated ones!

When a dog is in a new environment, it will often vocalize in an attempt to find others in its group. Research shows that when a group of young dogs is isolated from each other, each one will howl in the hopes of attracting other dogs so they can socialize.

The Howl of Natural Instincts

Dogs also howl for reasons related to their natural instincts. Like wolves, dogs are pack animals that evolved behaviors designed to keep them safe and help them survive.

One of these behaviors is the instinct to protect their territory, which means howling is often used as a warning signal. When one dog detects an intruder in its area, it will howl as a way to let other members of the group know about the threat.

Howl for Self-Defense

Dogs may also use this sound as a defense mechanism if they feel threatened by some other animal - some dogs who have been victims of abuse or violent encounters with humans have been known to react aggressively themselves when they hear another dog nearby howling.                   

When the Dog Is Joyful

Dogs also howl out of excitement and joy. When a dog is excited, it often wants to communicate this feeling with other dogs. Howling is a great way for dogs to express their happiness - you may even notice that your pet gets especially enthusiastic about the sound! Sometimes, dogs will even howl when they’re playing with humans or other animals.

Howling to Inform You About an Injury or Illness

Dogs often howl when they’re in pain or sick. Veterinarians consider this sound to be a symptom of pain, and it’s estimated that up to 10% of dog owners have reported hearing their dog howling due to a recent injury or illness.

When Your Dog Needs Love and Comfort

Some dogs try to express the fact that they need help from you by howling. For example, if your pet is home alone all day while you’re at work, he might start making noise as a way of telling you he wants your company.

Howling at the Scent of a Dead Animal

We mentioned that dogs often bark around the corpses of other creatures - but why? One theory suggests that dogs bark around dead bodies because they can smell death. The scent of a dead animal is an unusual object, which triggers their natural curiosity about what has happened.

Mourning for a Loved One’s Death

Perhaps one of the most interesting reasons why dogs howl is because they’re trying to mourn the loss of another member of their pack. Just like people, when canines are exposed to death in their close community, they react with sadness and grief. Dogs have been observed howling over graves in order to honor deceased members of their families.

It’s been observed that dogs will even howl over the bodies of cats or other animals they have been friends with in the past. In one case, a dog was observed howling for hours over a stuffed toy wolf, which he had been sleeping with every night for years!

This behavior has been observed in domestic dogs as well. Many times, when a dog passes away suddenly and unexpectedly, its pet companions have been known to react in strange ways - from barking to howling to chewing through carpets. One English bulldog named Roxy refused to eat after her owner died suddenly in his sleep.

Another dog became depressed and excessively lethargic after losing his canine brother.

As you can see, there are many reasons why dogs howl, and the reaction isn’t always easy to interpret.

How to Manage Persistent Howling

If your dog is howling on a regular basis, there are some steps that you can take to manage this issue:

  • Ensure that the dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation. A tired and cooped up canine can easily lose itself in howling
  • Spend time training your pet and educating yourself about proper canine behavior
  • Spend quality time with your dog - even if they don’t want to be social, you never know when they’ll decide they’ve had enough of you!

Finally, if all else fails, make sure to let it be known to friends and neighbors that you’re not able to help with the problem at the moment. After all, dogs aren’t just pets, they’re members of your family.


Whether your pet is howling because it’s lonely or exciting, trying to scare away an intruder, expressing its sorrow over a lost loved one, or any other reason: we can all agree that this beautiful sound has become synonymous with the canine species itself.

Dog howls are as unique as they are; each one sounds different depending on what kind of mood or situation it’s coming from. The next time you hear your dog sounding off, consider these reasons before thoughtlessly calling out “stop that racket!” Howling might just be the best way for them to tell us how they feel!

People Also Ask

Frequently Asked Questions

When a dog howls, what does it mean?

Dogs howl for many reasons. A clear cry of fear or pain is different than when they are thinking out loud to themselves or expressing happiness. Or it can be vocal communication between dogs. If you live in a neighborhood with lots of dogs, sometimes it will sound like a chorus of howling. This is just their primal instinct to communicate with each other. That is why they can be heard for miles!

When a dog howls at the door, what does it mean?

It might mean they want you to open the door and let them outside. Or it could be that your dog is just howling because they hear a noise that interests or intrigues them. If it’s near mealtime, the dog may just be practicing their begging skills to try and entice you into giving them food!

What does a dog howling in the middle of the night mean?

It might mean they’re lonely, scared, or maybe even bored! Many people who have dogs that howl at night usually end up getting them a companion - either a dog or a stuffed animal. It’s a good idea to keep a few on hand in case your dog decides to start howling out of the blue!

Why do dogs howl before they die?

This is a mystery that scientists have not been able to fully figure out. It’s believed that dogs “howl” due to some sort of neurological issue, but whether the howling occurs before or after death is currently unknown. Some studies have shown that dogs will howl at times when they are very ill, while others show that the dog will howl right before dying. The findings are not consistent, which means scientists still don’t know what a dog howling in this circumstance is trying to tell us. We just know that it bothers people and they hope that we can understand why they do it one day.

Why do dogs howl when the moon comes out?

Some people believe that dogs howl at the moon because they’re trying to tell other canines that they are there. However, this doesn’t explain why domesticated dogs who don’t live in packs will start letting out howls whenever it’s nighttime. It has been theorized that dogs might be attempting to mimic the cries of their wild ancestors. For example, some people believe that dogs are trying to communicate with wolves.

What causes dogs to scream when they hear sirens?

If your dog starts howling whenever the siren goes off, it might be because they are scared of loud noises. If this is the case, it’s best to stay calm and comfort them until the noise stops. They’re more likely to stop howling if they know it’s not scaring you! If your dog is responding with excitement instead of fear, it might be because sirens make them think of the arrival of food.