Friday, October 5, 2018

Why Do Dogs Howl?

Why Do Dogs Howl?
Some dogs bark, some dogs whine and some dogs howl. But why? All three are instinctive methods of communicating, but howling tends to be more of a primitive trait that is found in certain breeds. Breeds that tend to howl more include: Huskies, German Shepherds, Beagles and other types of hounds.

Reasons for Howling
·         Greeting others
·         Friendly play with other howling dogs       
·         Attracting attention
·         Response to high pitched noises (e.g. ambulance)
·         Pain or discomfort
·         Separation anxiety and loneliness

While howling dogs can be both entertaining and annoying, two of the reasons for howling could signal an important health issue:

Pain or Discomfort
Some pets may howl because they are in physical discomfort.  You might hear the howling when the pet gets up or down.  If so, your pet could have arthritis, hip dysplasia, a torn ligament or some other health issue that needs to be addressed by your veterinarian.  

Separation Anxiety
If your pup howls when you are gone it could be Separation Anxiety. The howling is a way for them to try to reconnect with their pack (you).  A howling dog is lonely and crying out for help. Separation anxiety can get worse with time if not addressed and although you may not be home to hear the howling it can be very disruptive to your neighbors and cause problems.  It also causes a great deal of stress for your pet.  The good news is that there ways to help a pet with separation anxiety.

Steps to Help Your Dog With Separation Anxiety

1.  Leave for short periods of time and build up the length of time slowly
2.   Walk your dog before leaving
3.   Give your dog something to do when you are gone (a toy, chew toy, music playing, etc)
4.   See about having a neighbor's dog to keep them company (many neighbors are happy to reciprocate) 
5.   Get a pet sitter or neighbor to check in on your pet during the day
6.   Take your pet to a doggie play facility  
7.   Consider getting another pet
8.   Use natural supplements for calming before you leave

Ask Ariel offers calming supplements that can help your pet with separation anxiety.  Please email us to learn more.