Why Do Dogs Howl? — 6 Controversial Myths Put To Rest

dog howling in front of a brown kennel

Dogs tend to have some scary antics attached to their funky personalities.

Riddle me this – Who is a dog’s ancestor?


And what do wolves do?


Yes, that’s right “howling” is an absolutely cute and sometimes terrifying ancestral thing a dog does.

Especially at 3 o’clock in the night!

And you go like.

So why do dogs howl you ask?

There are many underlying reasons to reasons why your dog howls. 

The main ones being territoriality, long-distance communication, loneliness, and injury.

One of the ways dogs try to communicate with humans is through howling.

The innate sound a dog makes from deep within his throat when he holds his snout high, purses his lips, and howls like a wolf.

Although howls can be frightening, you should not be concerned unless there is a medical reason for them.

So here we are writing this article for our fellow pup-parents, to end your curiosity at once.

After reading this article, we hope it will all make sense to you, and you will be less scared.

Admit it, evidently, you are here to rule out the scary part.

So, grab a drink, relax and enjoy this piece.

Why Does My Dog Howl? 

Husky Dogs howl with a black background

Howling, like many other canine habits, has its own ancestral roots.

We’ve all heard our dogs howling and wondered why they’re channeling their inner wolf all of a sudden.

All pets, including our adorable baby dogs, not only communicate instinctively but have also learned to interact with us in a variety of different ways.

Three very common methods dogs use to get our attention and ahem… their message across is by howling, whining, and crying.

We have to try to meet them halfway, pay attention, and connect the dots to understand them.

Why Is My Dog Howling All Of A Sudden?

Basically, he is just trying to convey something to you, we know he has tried yipping, barking, muffled snorts, even sneezing.

You have to listen.

That howling dog sound might be his last resort to get your attention.

Fun Fact
Baying is a separate form of communication altogether. It’s often confused with howling. It’s a series of quick energetic bursts of sound, rather than the melancholy tone of a Hound dog’s howling.

Every canine that’s a descendant of the wolf howls.

Then they would howl to pinpoint their whereabouts.

Later it was to keep intruders at bay and now it’s come down to a form of dog communication with the humans.

We are scared for what’s next… Planet of the Dogs feeling anyone?

Why Dogs Howl?

A dog howling at white background

There are many theories revolving around this and many other questions like: 

“Why do dogs howl together?”

“Why do dogs howl when you sing?”

“What does it mean when dogs howl at night?”

One very common theory behind a dog howling for a longer period is because either he is bored or lonely.

Of course, why wouldn’t you want to play with your dog at 3 a.m…

Another would be that they are far away from their pack and need to provide their location

Imagine this, dogs came up with their own walkie-talkies 15,000 years ago.

They came up with one long, out-of-the-world sound that can travel the distance of several miles, alerting their pack members or giving their location.

Just like barking, howling is also a way for dogs to communicate with each other for multiple needs.

We are all customary with the “I am happy to see you” bark, the “I have to go out for a wee-wee” bark, the “there is a person I don’t know on the door” bark, and so on. 

Howling is also a way to communicate for dogs, other than shrieking and barking.

For once we do prefer howling with my pup, than barking with him.

Dogs are a huge part of human families now, and it is important to understand the circumstances under which they howl, along with the reasons.

You do need to understand why so you can respond appropriately.

They are several instances where you will find your pupper or stray dogs outside howling, that you may find annoying, scary, or worrisome.

When Do Dogs Howl And Why?

We give you many such instances and the reasons behind the sometimes horrid and sometimes cute howling.

1. Why Do Dogs Howl At Night?

A grey and white dog howling at night with a moon visible in the sky and trees in the background.

Yes, some people do believe that dogs howl at night because they can see ghosts and spirits.

If you paid attention to the minute details you would know that your dog was howling to the police sirens and ambulances.

Or even to answer your question: Why do dogs howl together?

Your dog howls in solidarity with the strays in your area to chase an outsider dog that doesn’t belong there. 

Someone recently asked us my dog howls when I leave, why?

Dogs are known as social animals for a reason.

That being said they bond quickly with their owners.

Be it night or day, if left alone they exhibit a melancholy howl to manifest their emotions — sadness and loneliness.

This might be a problem if not corrected on time because it can lead to separation anxiety.

Another reason could be if your dog is hurt.

External wounds can be seen, but if a dog is hurting internally, he may be howling to show you his discomfort or pain and get your attention.

Duration matters. If he stops howling in some time it may not be anything serious, if not, you need to be calm and take him to the vet.

Some dogs are more vocal than others

Another reason why they howl is to ask for playtime or demonstrate excitement. 

Let us warn you they won’t be shy of telling you about their dissatisfaction either and make howling dog sounds to express how they are not happy with something.

Also, to burst your bubble, there is no correlation between the dogs howling and the moon. 


2. Why Do Dogs Howl In Their Sleep?

A beagle dog sleeping on a white bed.

It’s simple. A dog howls in sleep because he is dreaming.

Just like you, me, and other animals, dogs dream too.

A nightly howl here and there is nothing to be concerned about unless your pet exhibits other signs of a sleep disorder.

Howling in the sleep often indicates that your pup is agitated and having an unpleasant dream.

It’s during the most active phase of their sleep, that you may witness them howl.

If you haven’t seen them, try to walk, run, roll their eyes, and twitch, you have missed out on some buoyant views.

In some cases, howling may even be combined with barking and growling.

Warning: Prevent your kids from waking up dogs when they’re sleeping. Approx. 60% of dog bites in kids occur when the child wakes a sleeping dog.

Coming down to a very taboo question everyone seeks the answer to — Is a dog howling in sleep a superstition?

Movies always portray a dog howling in his sleep as a presage of a horrible event.

Superstitions like this one, are only depicted so because they are believed in the real world.

People always tend to associate death with dogs howling in sleep.

This association stems from the centuries-old notion that dogs possess supernatural or psychic abilities.

Which may or may not have been believed by many cultures around the world.

Many believe this association started in ancient Egypt. 

It was believed that people who died were taken by Anubis, who was depicted as a God, with the head of a dog.

It was said that when a dog howled, a soul was delivered to Anubis.

And to swear by the same superstition today.

Sounds more like a Devolution to me!

Ever heard of “Let a sleeping dog lie”?

Don’t let your first reaction to your dog having a nightmare be to “save him”.

Avoid doing that at any cost. 

Puppers that are jolted out of sleep, especially when they are having a nightmare, may have a reactive behavior that wasn’t expected out of them.

Even the gentlest and friendly dogs can snip or bite you when awoken from a nightmare.

Keep in mind that dreaming isn’t all that bad for your dog.

Unless it’s bothersome or keeping your roost awake, avoid waking them up.

3. Why Do Dogs Howl With Music?

A husky dog howling in front of a woman playing piano.

You are warned. 

You may be a little let down if you get through this point.

Dogs howling to music isn’t them trying to prove their soprano skills to you.

A dog’s howl has an almost piercing and high pitch quality to it.

Many musical instruments like the piano, saxophone, and clarinet also share the same qualities.

Music is the noise that makes dogs howl. Basically.

An opera singer could get a doggie howling.

Any sort of music that includes these elements, may get your dog howling.

Not because he is enjoying it, but because he thinks there is a dog somewhere in the distance calling out to him.

Wolfy qualities we tell you.

Wolves howl to convey messages to their pack members.

If you listen carefully their howls have high and low pitches.

Our lovely fur-buddies on the other hand think a piano is a dog calling out to him from a distance.

Are dogs really that smart though?

That is exactly why dogs howl. To match the different frequencies.

Now you know how to reply to someone when they ask, why do dogs howl to music?

Simply reply with “They are Wolfish”.

4. Why Do Dogs Howl To Sirens?

A dog howling in a snowy background with snowfall.

As we have already acknowledged that dogs are the descendants of the wolves (believe me, this going to be coming up a lot), and since it’s not so clear in their behavior or temperament, it’s pretty clear in their howls.

Surroundings play a vital role in the variety of sounds a dog hears in a day.

Howling helps them acknowledge the sounds they hear and express their desire to join in the action.

So basically, with the inability to differentiate, they have major FOMO too.

We may put our heart and soul into figuring out why dogs howl at fire engines, ambulance sirens, and police sirens, and have questions like: 

“Do they know someone is in trouble?”

“Do they know someone is dying?”

“Do they have a sixth sense for trouble?”

“Does it hurt their ears?”

Fun Fact

Dogs don’t have a sixth sense, they have incredible hearing, they can hear sounds as high as 47,000 to 65,000 Hz.

Do you know what else has high-pitched sounds and may or may not sound like another dog? S-I-R-E-N-S.

Sirens have the potential and like-minded sounds that make dogs howl.

Dogs have a hearing that is way more superior to ours.

As dogs age and their senses fade, they tend to mistake howls with the sirens more


If you have noticed, older dogs tend to howl at sirens more often than young


Another reason your dog howls at sirens is — protection.

If your dog senses something unusually new or potentially threatening in his

environment, he may howl to warn you that something isn’t right.

Always thinking about others, these angels.

5. Why Do Dogs Howl At 3 AM?

A cartoon graphic of a dog howling with a clock striking three in the background. There is a balcony, moon and a plant in the background.

“Was it ghosts?”


We do believe in them so obviously, we will be writing for the other side but also,

won’t be ruling out other aspects either.

(Let me know in the comments if you believe your dog can see ghosts)

Some people believe that the time between 3-4 am is when the ghosts are the most active. 

It can be one of the reasons why your fido is howling, to alert you of a presence.

On the other hand, he may be hungry because he didn’t have enough dinner and is craving an early morning snack.

Have a snack with him. YOLO.

Another such reason can be a cute “senior” moment, as your dog ages he may be a victim of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD).

CCD is a condition that causes behavioral changes.

Another reason may be because they need attention. 

Just like newborns that don’t have a particular time for a diaper change, dogs too

don’t think they need a reason to ask for love and cuddles at 3 AM. 

This one is not just for 3 AM wake-up calls but for random night calls.

You just have to teach them that it is not an appropriate time.

And that they will only get what they want when they are quiet.

We’re just saying that due to their amazing sense of hearing they can hear noises that we can’t pick up.

Their well-adjusted antennas are harmoniously placed to warn you when something’s going on. 

So, if your dog howls at 3 AM, he might have heard something that made his ears stand.

It may or may not be the spirit he is trying to befriend.

6. Why Did My Dog Howl Before He Died?

A girl sleeping with a dog with her hand on the dog's chin.

This one cannot be stretched.

There is an explanation within the question itself. 

We did a lot of research on this one and the only answer we found was because they go through a little discomfort before they cross the rainbow bridge.

It is always difficult to lose a fur family. Hugs and condolences to you.

Even when they are humanely euthanized, dogs tend to vocalize after the first sedation. 

When their body starts to shut down, it goes through various phases before finally shutting down.

A dog may not even be aware that he is howling.

Another heartbreaking reason maybe be — your attention.

If your dog was howling before he dying, it most likely meant that he was trying to get your attention.

It’s often a goal of your pet dog who is on the verge of passing away.

We are extremely sorry for your loss and to anyone who has come to our article looking for an answer to this specific question.

Suggestions – 19 Ways to Help a Grieving Dog Parent

Our final thoughts — dogs don’t require a particular time or reason to howl.

Unless there are ghosts around you at 3 AM.

It shouldn’t be scary for you now that we have given you not just one but various reasons to understand him and his reasons for howling.

Whether it’s your dog howling to music or dog howling at night, it is the same root cause.

Wolfy puppy. 

In our personal opinion, if your dog is howling for fun, howl with him.

If it’s becoming a nuisance there are always ways to stop howling dogs.

As long as the howling is not a nuisance or intense, it’s completely normal.

If you have come this far, Thank You for sticking by.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most likely reason being to communicate and to bond with you. It could also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for doing it and for a dog doing all that is a reward.

Yes, howling may be common among all dogs, but some breeds are more likely to howl than others. Those breeds who are more likely to howl include several hound breeds, including Basset Hounds, Beagles, Dachshunds, and bloodhounds, as well as Alaskan malamutes, Huskies, and American Eskimo dogs

A dog’s howl can be heard at least a mile or two away. Depending on the terrain and obstructions en route, as well as the size of the dog. 

However, in the wild howls of wolves have been heard over 3 miles away.

Yes, they howl even when they are happy.

Dogs have the highest levels of excitement and love to communicate their success on as little as bringing back a stick. All they need is a little appreciation and praise from their owner to start howling.

A howling dog is a death omen. 

It was assumed that a howling dog outside the house of a sick person, was a bad omen, especially if the dog was driven away and returned to howl again.

Yes, howling is a way for your dog to communicate with you. 

Be it night or day, if left alone they exhibit a melancholy howl to manifest their emotions -- sadness and loneliness.

Aloha Readers, 

This has by far been our most favorite topic to research on and get you the answers you have been looking for. Possibly your whole life.

We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Do share this article on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook with someone who has been stuck over some of the questions we have managed to answer.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated about dogs.

Yes, we are an absolutely dog-obsessed website.

Follow our Instagram channel dogisworldcom for daily doggo-licious content.

Happy Petting to awoooooooo guys 🙂



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here