A dog’s growling is one of the most frustrating behaviors a dog owner can experience. It not only disturbs your sleep but also gives you the sense that the dog is not comfortable. So what are the reasons why dogs growl?
Here’s The Sort Answer To Why Your Dog Growls At Night:
Growling is typically associated with fear, anxiety, or aggression. However, the dog’s behavior can also be influenced by pain and medication in addition to other causes.
Here are some of those reasons in detail:
1. Fear or Anxiety
Anxiety in dogs can come in many forms, such as separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, environmental anxiety, and social anxiety. All of these anxiety types can cause dogs to growl at night.
For instance, if your dog is alone and hears noises at night, they may growl because of their fear of the unknown. This type of growling will usually stop once the dog is able to understand that there is nothing to be fearful about. This is one example of environmental anxiety.
Another common form of anxiety in dogs that could cause them to growl at night is separation anxiety. When left alone for prolonged periods of time, dogs will begin to feel lonely and frightened. This can cause them to act out in many ways, including destroying your furniture or growling at night.
In addition to environmental anxiety and separation anxiety, there are other sources of anxiety that could lead your dog to growl at night.
Your dog can get anxious when there are other unfamiliar dogs or people in the house. For example, you might have a guest staying with you that your dog is not familiar with. As you go to sleep, your dog may feel the need to defend their territory or pack members from the stranger in the house.
The fourth type of anxiety in dogs is generalized anxiety. Some dogs can exhibit signs of anxiety even when there seems nothing to be worried about. Some vets believe that this type of anxiety might be caused by past trauma.
Others believe that this is a part of the dog’s temperament, and there is nothing you can do to treat it. Either way, generalized anxiety can cause your dog to growl at night.
2. Territorial Aggression
Territorial aggression or also known as protective aggression, is another reason why dogs growl at night. Because they have a greater sense of smell and sight at night time, they can perceive stimuli more intensely.
Even a slight breeze, floor creak, or the sound of the air conditioner can seem like an invading force to your dog. Even an animal passing by, such as a bat, squirrel, or another animal, can be perceived as a threat, and growling is their way to ward off the possible threat.
This protective instinct is more pronounced in some dogs than others. For example, dogs such as German shepherds or Labrador Retrievers are notably more territorial than other dogs due to their breed characteristics and how they are raised. This makes them prone to growling at night because of their protective nature.
However, any dog can become territorial, so this should be considered as a possibility.
3. Pain or Illness
There are several medical conditions that can cause your dog to become restless at night and lead them to growl. Here are some of the common ones:
As dogs get older, they are more likely to develop health problems. For example, arthritis, stiff joints, cognitive dysfunction, or other age-related diseases can make it difficult for them to move around at night and sleep comfortably.
This can lead to restlessness and discomfort, and your dog might begin to growl or whine at night from pain or anxiety about their condition.
As with humans, dogs can also suffer from sleep disorders that lead to restlessness and growling. For example, a disruption in your dog’s serotonin levels can result in disturbed sleep patterns and even reversing their sleep cycles, where your dog is active at night rather than during the day.
Dogs can experience vision loss in the later stages of their lives. This can be due to cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, or other vision problems.
If your dog has recently developed this condition and you notice that they are growling at night more often than usual, it may have something to do with their condition.
Even mild or temporary hearing impairments can be enough for your dog to become scared of the surrounding sounds that they cannot hear. This will cause their restlessness and anxiety, which can lead to aggressive and destructive behavior.
Has your dog been recently prescribed a new medication? Sometimes drugs can have unintended side effects such as aggression, serotonin syndrome, or even nervous system changes.
If you see that your dog has been acting abnormally after being given a new medication accompanied by other symptoms such as agitation, aggression, and difficulty sleeping, don’t wait to contact your veterinarian.
5. Lack of Exercise
It has been well known that a lack of exercise can lead to a number of behavioral issues in dogs.
When your dog doesn’t have enough opportunities to go out and release their energy, it will start manifesting in other ways, such as restless behavior at night. This also means that your dog might get bored due to a lack of physical activity, and this can lead to growls and other unwanted behaviors.
Therefore, it is very important for you to provide your dog with proper exercise. Set aside time every day for them to be active. Even a simple 30 minutes walk around the neighborhood can do wonders for them.
6. Lifestyles Changes
Have you been recently moved to a new home? Has your work schedule changed, leaving you unable to spend as much time with your dog? Or have you recently changed your dog’s diet?
As dogs are not very good at adjusting to too many changes at once, they can quickly become anxious or confused. They do not mean to harm anyone, but they don’t know how else to express their discomfort with their new environment or routine.
The best thing to do is to act as if nothing has changed. Keep doing the usual routines that your dog is used to (such as their regular potty trips, mealtimes, and walks), and try to spend as much time with your dog as possible so that they can adjust better.
7. They Want Something
If your dog is still a puppy, this last reason is the most likely. Much like human babies, dog puppies can be very fussy at night, and they will do everything they can to get your attention, even if it means growling or crying.
To minimize this sort of behavior, the best thing you can do is make sure that all of their needs have been met before going to bed. This includes their basic needs such as food, water, exercise, and potty breaks.
If your puppy sleeps separately from you, make sure that their room is well lit, comfortable and that they have adequate bedding to keep them warm at night.
What To Do If Your Dog Growls At Night
If your dog is usually well-behaved but has recently started acting out of the ordinary, there is probably a reason for it.
If your dog starts growling at night more often than usual, try to figure out what might be causing them stress or discomfort. This way, you can avoid an aggressive outbreak caused by their worsening condition.
Here are some practical things you can do to stop your dog growling at night:
1. Give Your Dog Enough Exercise
If you notice that you are not giving your dog enough exercise this week, try to find time in your schedule to take them out for a long walk or an extended game of fetch. This will help them release some of their energy and ease the symptoms of anxiety and stress they may be experiencing.
2. Train Your Dog To Sleep Alone
If your dog is used to being in your bed when they were a puppy, and now you want them to sleep in a separate room, you may need to train them to sleep alone.
There are many techniques that can help with this problem. Here are some simple steps you can follow to help your dog get used to sleeping alone:
- Give your dog a treat, and then put them in their bed.
- Point to the bed, and say “good night.”
- Spend a few minutes petting your dog to show that they have your attention.
- Walk out of the room and gradually close the door behind you.
- If your dog starts barking or whining, stay calm and leave them. Don’t give them any attention or return to the room.
Repeat these five steps as many times as needed.
3. Make Their Room Comfortable
If your dog is a puppy or a senior, you should also make sure that their room is comfortable and safe. That means no exposed wires, no loose bedding, no cold wind coming through the window, and that the temperature is perfect.
Also, make sure to address the sudden change in your environment. For example, if there is a sudden loud noise from a construction site nearby, you may need to move their bed to a quieter spot.
4. Get Help From The Vet
If your dog’s restlessness is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, such as poor appetite or excessive thirst, it is time to consult a professional. A veterinarian will do a much better job of identifying what is going on with your dog and can give you a number of helpful suggestions or prescribe medication.
5. Ask For The Help Of an Animal Behaviorist
If your dog has a timid or fearful personality, you may want to ask for the help of an animal behaviorist to resolve this situation. They will be able to teach you how to deal with fearful dogs and devise a plan to boost your dog’s confidence and help them adjust to their environment better.
1. Why Does My Dog Growl While Lying Down?
The most likely cause of this type of behavior is pain and discomfort. If your dog has a painful hip or bad knee, for example, they may be growling while lying down because it hurts to move.
2. Why Does My Dog Growl When I Put Them In Their Crate?
If your dog is growling while you put them in their crate, it may mean that they are scared of being left alone.
3. Why Does My Dog Growl At Nothing?
There are a few reasons why your dog may be growling at nothing. It could be out of fear, territorial aggression, or pain.