Why Does My Dog Growl At Nothing? (10 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
my dog growls at nothing

As you get more familiar with your dog, you will get pretty familiar with their habits and how they communicate with you. That is why it can be a little concerning when you start to see your dog growls at nothing. You may wonder why they are doing this, especially if there seems no explanation at all.

Here’s The Short Answer to Why Your Dog Growls at Nothing

Your dog may start growling at nothing when they sense something suspicious or out of the ordinary. Often, dogs are more sensitive than humans. They can smell, hear, or see things that seem unfathomable to us, and growling is their way to alert their owners. In other cases, it could be caused by an underlying health issue.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons that cause this dog behavior to occur and explore a few of the things that you can do to help out with this.

There are several reasons why your dog growls at nothing. It sometimes will depend on the specific dog and the situation surrounding the growling to determine if this is something that you should be worried about. Some of the most common reasons that dogs growl at nothing include:

1. Your Dog Sees Something

One possibility that our dog growls at nothing is because he or she is picking up on something that we can’t see. Dogs can see better at night (also called night vision) and in low light conditions, so they might be seeing things that you cannot. They can even detect small movements of small objects that are still or moving very slowly.

If your dog growls at nothing, it could also mean there has been an animal out roaming nearby or even outside your house when walking around during nighttime hours – animals like raccoons will often scavenge around looking for food items throughout neighborhoods where homes sit right next door to each other!

2. They Smell Something

Not only blessed with a night vision, but dogs also have a keen sense of smell that is up to 100 times more sensitive than their owners. Their superb sense of smell is what allows them to pick up on scents we can’t smell or sense.

If your dog growls at nothing and you’re not sure what the cause of this behavior could be (even after ruling out other possibilities), try sniffing around for possible sources of a scent your furry friend may have picked up on!

Maybe someone leaves garbage outside that has an odor you can’t detect, or your dog might have caught a whiff of the scent of another animal in the area.

It’s worth checking out just to make sure!

3. They Hear Noises

Not only do they see better in the dark and smells better than us, but they also can hear things that are way out of our hearing range.

When dogs start growling or barking at nothing, it’s quite possible that they’re reacting to annoying faint noises that we can’t hear.

Dogs have enhanced hearing, which is why it’s sometimes difficult for them to sleep in the same room as a TV or stereo – their sensitive ears pick up on sounds our ears can’t hear!

If you notice your dog growling at nothing when he should normally be asleep, then check all of the rooms in your house for anything making noise (like appliances) because that could be what your furry friend heard.

4. Something or Someone Annoys Them

Your dog growling can also mean you have a dog with an attitude! Dogs can get angry and annoyed just like humans, so if you notice your pup getting aggressive when they’re in the backyard, then it’s worth investigating.

There might be a wild animal that’s getting on your dog’s nerves. If you have a small backyard, it might be worth fencing them off for their own safety and to prevent noise complaints from the neighbors!

If there are no wild animals around, then maybe something has been set up near where they like to go when they’re outside – so check any new structures or toys that may have appeared since he last went out there.

Make sure everything is secure because if anything falls over while they’re trying to get at it, this could really make them start growling again!

5. They Fear Something

Dogs rely on their acute sense for survival more than any other sense. Because of this, they are more sensitive to anything that might be out there, and your dog will growl when it sees something in a manner that is similar to the way you would scream if someone were behind you with a knife.

If they growl at nothing, then it’s possible that they feel threatened by something in the environment that scares them, like a loud noise nearby, for example.

So you’ll need to find out what this thing is and try to remove it from their vicinity!

Even if you don’t think anything has changed with your dog’s surroundings since they last went outside, go back over their usual route and look around carefully because sometimes things can change without us even realizing it.

Maybe someone put up new decorations near where they like to hang out? Or maybe more people are walking past on foot than before, which would scare them more?

6. They’re Upset Over Something

Dogs use their body language to communicate with you, and therefore your dog growling or barking at nothing might be their way of telling you that they’re upset about something.

For example, they could be mad that you haven’t been giving them the attention they need lately, upset because their food dish is empty, or even just bored.

7. They Don’t Like Their Territory Invaded

It could be that they are trying to protect their territory. If you’ve been letting other pets into your yard, or if someone new has moved in nearby, they might be upset that these intruders are encroaching on the boundaries they’ve set up and may unleash a territorial bark at them to warn them to stay away.

Territorial barking is a common behavior among guard dogs such as German Shepherds, which may growl or snarl to warn unfamiliar people outside their home or a nearby animal to stay away.

8. They Have Health Issues

Out of all the reasons why most dogs bark at nothing, health problems are the most worrying and the ones that you should pay attention to. They can be injured or become ill, and they might be trying to tell you that something’s wrong.

Some health conditions that may lead to this behavior are injury, mental illness, and poor eyesight.

Dogs with injury are prone to growling at nothing, as they are in a lot of pain and probably uncomfortable.

Dogs with mental problems or dogs with poor vision might not see you coming from behind them, so they may think something is there when it’s not. They will then bark or growl to scare the thing away before turning around and realizing their mistake.”

If you suspect that your dog has health problems and is displaying signs of aggression for no apparent reason, take them to the vet as soon as possible before it escalates into something more serious.

Here are some signs to look for:

  • Bad breath
  • Biting or scratching at anything, including people and objects they are usually not aggressive with
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite
  • Trouble breathing (labored)
  • Shaking, hiding, trembling, snapping

9. They Have an Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders such as separation anxiety, phobias, and general anxiety can cause your dog to growl at nothing.

Out of all anxiety-related problems that dogs can experience, separation anxiety is probably the leading cause of why your dog growls at nothing. Dogs with an anxiety disorder will exhibit the following behaviors:

  • barking and howling while one or both owners are out.
  • pacing in front of doors when someone leaves home.
  • destructive chewing on furniture, carpeting, etc.

10. Dementia

If your dog starts barking or growling at nothing when they’re old, it could be because they are suffering from canine dementia.

Many dogs will develop one form of dementia or another as they get older similar to humans with Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can change your dog’s behavior for the worse and make them more reactive or aggressive, as shown by their growling at nothing.

Symptoms can start off slowly but worsen over time, so if you see these behaviors developing, then take them to the vet right away for a diagnosis.

What to Do If Your Dog Keeps Growling At Nothing

Here are some simple tips for teaching your dog to stop growling for no reason.

1. Try To Remove Things Or Objects That Might Trigger It

If your dog growls at a particular object then you should keep it out of their sight and reach. At first, you might not know exactly what makes your dog barks or growls for seemingly no reason.

To narrow down what makes your dog growl, your can start by removing everything from the room and then reintroduce them one at a time to see which object sets off their behavior. This can be done with people, too, as sometimes dogs are reactive towards certain people or other animals in the house.

If your dog growls at a particular person, you should make sure that they are the only one around to interact with him (or her). If it is another animal in the house, try petting them separately and see if there’s a difference.

2. Move Your Dogs to Different Room

Exposure to disturbing or annoying noises can be a source of irritation for your dog. If you think that noise might be the root cause of their growling, try moving them to another room or even outside and see if it changes anything.

If your dog barks or growls at night then they’re probably hearing noises that only they can hear, such as a tree branch rustling outside, someone walking around in another room upstairs that you didn’t know was up late, or other pets who have gotten too close to their resting spot on the couch!

For this can you can use the white noise technique, like turning on a fan on a low setting to mask these noises.

3. Ignore Attention Barking

As we have learned before, growling and barking are ways for your dog to communicate their discontent with something. So if you ignore the source of their frustration, they may stop and calm down after a while – eventually, you’ll be able to move them away from it without any trouble.

However, this method is not always effective because some dogs need that stimulation or attention in order for them to feel better about themselves. You also want to make sure you’re not ignoring what’s really bothering your fido just because they’ve stopped making noise!

4. Give Them Enough Attention

As we know, dogs need a lot of attention – they crave contact with us and to be petted. Excessive staring is one of the signs that your dog doesn’t get enough attention which can be the cause why your dog barks at nothing.

A great solution for dog owners who feels like they don’t have enough time to spend with their canine friends is to find and go to an exercise class. These classes will give both the human and animal participants plenty of love in one location so it’s perfect for anyone looking for some company while having fun at the same time!

5. Seek Help From Professionals

If you really can’t point out exactly what causes your dog to bark or growl then it might be time to seek help from professional sources such as dog behaviorists or vets.

These professionals will be able to treat the dog by providing a more in-depth evaluation to rule out all the things that might be causing the problem. Once they find out what’s causing your dog problems then they can work on solving it by providing behavioral therapy or even medication!


When you think of your dog growling at nothing, what comes to mind? Is it the vicious attack from Cujo, or is it that adorable puppy in your neighbor’s yard? The answer may surprise you.

It turns out that there are many reasons why dogs growl at nothing, and some don’t even have anything to do with being aggressive. We hope this blog post has helped shed light on how different things can cause an otherwise tame fido to start barking up a storm!

Related Questions

1. Why Does My Dog Growl At Night?

The most likely reason why your dog growls at night is fear and anxiety, as many animals feel anxious during the night.

When an animal feels like there is a threat in their territory, they defend it with aggression and by showing other signs of containing or confronting danger because this behavior allows them to maintain control over the situation and make sure that nothing bad happens.