Dog Howling in Sleep – Ultimate Guide

Our furry friends enrich our lives with great joy and affection and grow to be appreciated parts of our families.

We are attentive to our dogs’ needs as dog owners, guaranteeing their health, happiness, and well-being.

However, there are times when our beloved dogs show odd habits, particularly while they are sleeping.

dog howling in sleep

The increasing number of dog howling in sleep is one such intriguing phenomenon. Pet owners can find these strange vocalizations disturbing and wonder what they are.

To understand the mysteries surrounding dog howls in sleep, we dig into the fascinating world of dog sleep patterns in the article below.

By understanding the possible reasons and effects of these howls, we seek to clarify for dog owners who may be confused or worried by these howls and throw light on this interesting aspect of the life of dogs like us.

What causes dog howls in sleep?

Dog howling in a dream can mean that the dog is dreaming or is otherwise engaged in activity while sleeping.

The majority of pet owners have no idea why dogs howl while they sleep.

This could be the result of several factors that could cause their canine friends to start howling when they are dozing off.

1.   Feeling annoyed or irritated

This is another reason why dogs cry when they sleep. A dog might howl if it’s upset or unhappy.

Some dogs can get irritated by the music or even become triggered if they hear it throughout the day.

Even when a dog is sound asleep, other noises like sirens, electronic beeps, and alarm clocks might make them scream.

2.   Loneliness distress

A dog can get lonely and develop odd habits if you or your companions leave them alone for an extended period.

Do you ever leave your dog home alone only to come home to discover your carpet completely ruined and your furniture smashed?

Many dogs experience isolation anxiety regularly, and because of this, you could even hear people say things like, “My dog just howled in his sleep.”

When left alone, you’ll also notice that they behave unexpectedly.

3.   Response to loud noises or sounds

Your dog could start howling if someone makes a disturbance in front of dogs or if other dogs start howling. Why was my dog howling in his sleep just now?

These were some typical causes for dogs to howl, which is a behavior that comes naturally to them.

Their screams can be set off by a select few high-pitched noises, such as those made by fire engines, ambulance sirens, or even certain musical instruments.

Also Read: Cardigan Welsh Corgi Puppies – The Ultimate Guide

4.   Medical Issues

You may have seen stray dogs barking when they got accidental wounds. My dog howls at night; why? Your dog can howl if they are ill, experiencing bodily discomfort, or experiencing suffering from within.

Therefore, you must check for physical damage and make sure your dog isn’t unwell if it is howling nonstop. It is critical to get your dog to a veterinarian for care if there are any obvious wounds.

dog howling in sleep

5.   Trying to Get Attention

Dogs need a lot of attention; thus they frequently engage in various tricks to attract it.

When they are anxious or lack physical activity, they want adequate attention, and if their needs aren’t met, they may behave inappropriately.

Such behavior could include a dog howling in the middle of the night, which is a common tactic for attracting attention.

6.   Anxiety about separation

Dogs still have a strong sense of separation anxiety because they are pack animals. Even stray dogs show the same tendency, as well.

When a member is missing or they become separated from the pack, they start to howl. When their mother isn’t present, puppies frequently hear howling while they are asleep.

7.   Seizures

A seizure or neurological issue can lead a dog to shout and twitch while sleeping. You won’t be able to tell the difference between seizures and dreams by howling.

However, during seizures, twitching may be more ferocious. Even while they are sleeping, dogs can twitch, and when they are having seizures, the twitching can be strong or uncontrolled.

8.   Disorder of REM sleep behavior

A condition known as REM/ Rapid Eye Movement sleep behavior disorder, often known as sleepwalking, can affect some dogs.

A dog often acts out his fantasies, attacks anything in the house, and exhibits other common behaviors like yelling and howling.

9.   Ageing

Dogs begin to have dementia as they age naturally and as time goes on.

Old dogs crying at night might just be a method for them to convey their uncertainty if you have seen changes such as declining vision or memory loss.

How to stop the night time Dog Howling in Sleep?

How do I get my dog to quit howling at night? Discovering the cause of your dog’s howling is the first step.

You could record such events in a diary that you keep. This will enable you to spot a pattern that can help you locate the reason.

Additionally, attempt to stand close to where they sleep at night to check for any potential environmental causes of the howling.

Here are some tactics to stop it once the cause has been recognized:

  • The first step is to ignore your dog when they howl for attention. Don’t even try to speak to them or even look at them.
  • Teach them that howling is a poor strategy for attracting attention. However, do not scold them if they howl at night because doing so can encourage the tendency.
dog howling in sleep
  • Make sure your dog exercises throughout the day so he can discharge any stored energy. He will be able to sleep soundly that night because of this.
  • Start by introducing your dog to brief periods of isolation to get rid of the howling that comes from separation anxiety.
  • This can include going away for a short while. This time frame might be gradually extended. After the period of isolation has ended, give your dog some space.
  • They will learn from this that separation only lasts for a short time, and they should be prepared for it.
  • Take your dog to a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist if you are unable to determine the source of excessive barking and night time howling or if the cause is extreme separation anxiety.
  • They might require expert counterconditioning and desensitization sessions.

Also Read: Dangerous Foods for Dogs: A Complete Guide to Keeping Your Canine Companion Safe

Ways to Make the Dog Howling in Sleep Calmer

These suggestions can be useful if your dog frequently has dreams or howls when awake because of anxiety or fear.

  • If your elderly dog likes roaming at night and appears confused, a night light can be useful.
  • A dog who struggles to fall asleep due to disturbances can get relief from white noise.
  • In your dog’s sleeping area, a DAP diffuser can be calming.
  • Take a temperature measurement. Your dog could struggle to fall asleep if it’s too hot or chilly.
  • Check your house for animals. If your dog is barking, vocalizing, and staring at the walls at night, there can be a family of nocturnal animals living in your walls, attic, basement, or balcony.
  • Determine whether your dog is experiencing any hidden anxiety triggers in their daily lives and take action to reduce them.
  • Inquire with your veterinarian about dog-friendly soothing supplements and sleep aids. Read more about dogs howling here.
dog howls in sleep

Myths about dog howling in sleep

Medication alone will treat it.Dogs that die while they sleep frequently don’t need to be medicated. The howling can frequently be calmed or reduced by understanding its root causes and dealing with possible triggers.
A dog who screams while sleeping is about to die.Contrary to the myth, death howls during sleep are not indicative of impending death. They are often harmless and a normal part of a dog’s sleep behaviour.
It is a sign of pain or suffering.Dog howling in sleep are not necessarily a sign of pain or suffering. They can be a manifestation of dream experiences or emotional responses within the dream state.
Only old dogs scream while they are sleeping.Dogs of any age can howl in death while they are sleeping. It can happen to puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs alike and is not just a problem for elderly dogs.
It is a call for help or distress.It is often not a call for help or an indication of distress. They are primarily a vocalization occurring during the sleep cycle.
Dog Howling in Sleep

5 Warning Signs Your Dog May Be Near Death

1.   Breathing heavily

If your dog is breathing hard, that is one of the first, biggest, and most devastating symptoms; it might be very close to the end.

This isn’t just “panting,” so if your dog starts to breathe heavily after a vigorous game of fetch, don’t worry.

However, there can be a problem if simply moving across the room makes them pant as though they have finished a marathon.

Major warning signs include straining and sticking up their neck, breathing through their mouths that appear to be gasping, and a failure to simply lie down quietly.

They are at the very least a reason to suspect there is something seriously wrong and to contact your veterinarian right away.

At worst, it might be an indication that your dog is near death, in which case you’ll need to take prompt action to rescue them or, if you’re unable to do so, at the very least, ensure that they don’t suffer while they pass away.

Also Read: Red Golden Retriever Puppies – Ultimate Guide

dog howls in sleep

2.   Depression, slow down, and boredom

Everyone gets tired occasionally, and your dog is no different. However, if they stop playing, never seem to have any energy, always appear grief-stricken, or become withdrawn and unconscious, there can be a problem.

Although some of this can be due to their body falling or mobility issues, the mental component is also clearly there. Dogs have strong emotional intelligence and can experience depression when faced with old age and death.

3.   Coordination Loss

Loss of coordination is a terrible sign for your dog’s health, whether it’s the result of developing neurological disorders or just the body’s ageing.

This can include your dog losing the ability to stand up, walking around irregularly, or struggling to judge the distance in front of them effectively.

The latter of these could be brought on by a decline in coordination and eyesight, both of which could indicate that they are reaching the end.

4.   Variations in Mood

We change as we get older, and those changes aren’t necessarily for the better.

Similar to how dementia, memory loss, physical weakness, late-stage Parkinson’s, and other illnesses that can affect people’s mental abilities can cause their personalities to change, the same is true for dogs.

Your dog can indicate they’re near the end if they have changed from a happy, enthusiastic dog that was once the light of your life to a bitter, grumpy old lump who refuses to move and yells or screams at any request.

5.   Stops Consuming Food and Drink

Something is wrong if your dog approaches the bowl but shows the same level of disinterest in eating or drinking repeatedly throughout the day.

Dogs often enjoy eating and playing, and this last activity causes them to become thirsty enough to need liquids.

Dogs are often enthusiastic eaters, so depriving them of food while they are also losing weight is a double whammy that usually indicates that your dog is, at the very least, seriously ill.

Of course, you don’t want your dog to go to the other extreme and turn into a pig.

But you should first try mixing up their meals before you get too worried. If you ate the same thing every day, especially if it was dry kibble, you’d become bored too.

If you’re giving them dry food, switch to wet food or give them their favorite foods. If they continue to refuse food after a few days, you should take them right away to the veterinarian.

dog howls in sleep

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For pet owners, dog howling in sleep can be a confusing phenomenon that frequently causes worry and confusion.

It’s important to realize that these vocalizations, which usually happen when a dog is sleeping, are natural and do not indicate danger or distress.

We can make sure our dogs are in good health by keeping an eye on their sleeping habits, providing a calm atmosphere, and obtaining veterinarian advice when necessary.

Let us treat dog howls in sleep with understanding, providing comfort and care for our furry friends.


Q: When a dog howls does it mean death?

A: No, a dog’s howl does not always indicate that it is time to die. For dogs, howling is a natural vocalization technique that serves a variety of functions.

Dogs may howl to communicate, express their feelings, or respond to certain situations. It’s important to realize that howling is mostly just a natural habit and not a sign of impending death.

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