It is the middle of the night. You hear your dog howling. Did he find a raccoon, or a squirrel maybe? So, you get up and check, only to realize that your dog is howling in his sleep. Sometimes, it will let out a little bark, or maybe move its paws.

But, with a dog howling at night, you can’t help but worry. Is it normal? What do dog howls mean when the dog is asleep? Here, we will take a closer look at dog howls. We compiled a practical guideline that will answer all your queries. Let’s jump right in.

Sleeping dog. It's hard work watching your dog sleep. I am very thankful to God for this faithful companion and the calmness she spreads.

What Does It Mean When My Dog Howls When Asleep?

Wondering what do dog howls mean? Dog howling in sleep means that they are most likely dreaming. They can also growl, whimper, and bark. Dogs have a similar circadian rhythm to humans. Even if they sleep more than two segments a day, dogs still experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In other words, your dog can dream just like you do. (1)

Quick eye movements, twitching muscles, and vocalizations are often a sign of REM sleep. This is the phase of sleep when dogs start dreaming. Want to track their sleep? Check out the Fi Sleep Tracking for Dogs. It can shed some light on your dog’s resting pattern and restfulness. (2)

Should I Be Worried?

So, is dog howling in sleep bad for their health? No. It could simply mean that your dog is having an unpleasant dream. Sometimes, they can combine their howling with growling or barking. This too is a normal reaction, considering they have a bad dream.

Unless your dog has symptoms of a sleep disorder, the howling at night is nothing to be worried about. If the dog does feel uncomfortable due to a recent injury or illness, and this is causing them pain, then they can howl to show their unrest.

dog sleeping in dog bed

Some older dogs can also excessively howl when confused or anxious. If your dog is always on your mind, then talk to your vet. They can give you the guidance you need. But, don’t obsess over your dogs too much. Helicopter parenting can be very annoying for a dog.

Just let your pet enjoy their freedom and live their lives to the fullest. If you want to get some reassurance that your dog is nice and safe, then use a Fi Smart Dog Collar instead. You can track your dog anywhere at any time. Offering you practical monitoring while your dog is running wild.

What Dog Breeds Howl the Most?

Dogs may be likelier to howl as they grow older. This is especially seen in senior dogs with a loss of hearing or vision. Of course, your dog can be perfectly healthy and still howl. Although howling is common for all dog species, some breeds like to howl more than others. These include: (3)

  • Huskies
  • American Eskimo dogs
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Most hound breeds (such as bloodhounds, beagles, basset hounds, etc.)

Huskies keep howling, whining, and “talking” because of their wolf ancestors. This is their primary form of communication. But, the dog howling at night isn’t necessarily a behavioral trait. It can happen from time to time or it could be infrequent enough that you can just wait it out and let it pass.

Is a Dog Happy When It Howls?

Have you been asking yourself why would a dog randomly howl? Do you want to know the reasons dogs howl? Howling is a go-to option for dogs eager to communicate. They will use howling to steal your attention, particularly when you are busy doing something and you don’t give them the cuddles or kisses they want.

Howling when awake is used to make contact. It is a way of announcing their presence so that you will have no other choice but to respond and give them attention. Every dog howls differently. Some sound like a siren of an emergency vehicle, others use a high-pitched sound. Nevertheless, it’s normal for your dog to howl even if it is happy. (4)

My black pug Toshi sleeping on his newly acquired Casper mattress bed.

How to Stop Dog Howling in Sleep?

Many things can happen in your dog’s dream. These dreams could be pleasant with a fair degree of regularity. But, they could also be uncomfortable and make them growl or howl in their sleep. So, what can you do to change that?

The best way to mitigate the problem is to approach it when the dog is awake. What you can do is make sure that the dog has the best and most comfortable experience. Give your dog the time of their life, so that they can dream of good things.

Of course, this isn’t a guaranteed solution, but it can give your dog a lot of energy and opportunities to alleviate restlessness and unease. Remember, it’s always a good idea to build a positive connection with your dog.

With a simple exercise, you can keep the stress at bay. And with a home full of positive and happy memories, your dog will treasure every second they spend there.