Why Your Dog is Howling in its Sleep

beagle sleeping

Dogs can exhibit all sorts of eccentric and strange behaviors. If your dog is howling in his sleep, there is a reason for it.

It is a good idea for you to get down to the root cause so you can begin correcting this behavior as soon as possible.

Dreaming is Normal for Dogs

Pretty much all dogs dream just like humans, and this can be the cause of the howling you hear while they sleep. If your dog is having a particularly exciting or even scary dream, it could start vocalizing. Sometimes this comes in the form of whining, while other dogs might howl like a wolf.

Similar to humans, dogs tend to experience their most vivid dreams during the REM stage of their sleep cycle. Some dogs don’t make any noise at all while they are dreaming, while others are quite vocal.

Studies have shown that it is likely that smaller breed dogs dream more than larger ones. While we still aren’t exactly sure why this is, it is fascinating to say the least.

It Could be Snoring

Some people mistake their dog’s snoring for howling, which it technically still is. The fact is that these animals make all sorts of noises when snoring. There are certain dogs that are more likely than others to snore. Certain breeds like pugs tend to be really bad about this. Dogs that are significantly overweight also tend to be heavy snorers.

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sleeping dog

Check on Your Dog

If you wake up to your dog howling in another room of the house, you should check on them just in case. There is a chance that they are awake and in distress. Some dogs howl when they are in pain or just anxious. This could even be your dog’s way of trying to get your attention if it is feeling very stressed.

Make sure that there aren’t any other signs that your dog needs medical attention. This includes vomiting, seizures, balance issues, and other abnormal behaviors. If the issue doesn’t seem like an emergency, you should make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.

You should also look for any signs of injury if you ever notice your dog howling while it is awake. There is a chance that it stepped on a piece of glass or something else sharp. If this is the case, you will need to clean the wound and wrap it up.

Just Leave Your Dog Alone

The best thing you can do when your dog is howling in its sleep is just to leave it alone. It might be tempting to wake your dog up to stop the noise, but this generally isn’t a good idea. Interrupting your dog’s sleep cycle can be detrimental to its overall health.

If you actually have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep due to your dog’s howling, you can always try using earplugs. You can also try putting your dog’s bed in a part of the house that is farther from your own. This might be enough to give you peace and quiet through the night.

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puppy sleep

Can I Stop my Dog’s Howling?

There are some tips that could potentially help you to put an end to your dog’s night howling without compromising its health.

Help your dog lose weight

If your doggy is howling/snoring because it is overweight, you should do everything you can to help it lose that excess fat. This could mean giving them fewer treats and even switching to a new diet food that is a bit lighter. Check out this article to find the right food for your dog: Best dog food.

It is also important that you provide your dog with plenty of exercise when you are trying to help them lose weight. If you normally only take your dog for a walk once each day, bump it up to twice. You might also want to consider taking them to a dog park to run around and explore a couple times each week.

As your dog begins to lose weight, you should start to notice an improvement in their howling. They will most likely howl less and not quite as loudly, allowing you to get your beauty rest on a consistent basis.

Take Your Dog to the Veterinarian

You should make a point of taking your dog to the vet if it is howling in its sleep (or awake). This will help you find out if there are any potential health issues that need to be addressed. Some dogs have problems with their sinuses that can cause this issue. It is possible that your dog will need surgery, depending on the nature of the problem and the severity.

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What NOT to do

You never want to wake your dog up and scold it for howling it is sleep. There is absolutely no point in doing this, as your pet isn’t even aware of their behavior. You simply cannot train an animal to do something that it does when unconscious. Your dog needs its sleep just as much as you do, so you’ll want to keep that in mind before doing this.


  • Dreaming is the most common reason that dogs howl in their sleep.
  • A dog starts to dream when it enters REM sleep, just like with humans.
  • It is not usually a good idea to wake up a dog that is howling in its sleep, as this disturbs its sleep cycle.
  • Unfortunately, there is no real way to train your dog not to howl while it is sleeping.
  • What you think is howling could actually be your dog snoring.
  • If your dog is overweight, you can try helping it to lose some of its extra pounds to cut down on the nocturnal noise.
  • If you have problems sleeping due to your dog’s howling, try putting their bed as far from yours as possible.
  • Howling during sleep is a perfectly natural behavior for a lot of dogs.
  • Make sure that your dog isn’t actually awake and howling, as it could be a sign of a serious health problem.