Why Do Dogs Howl in Their Sleep?

Updated February 12, 2023
Headshot of a howling dog on a white background
Headshot of A Howling Dog. Credit: Adogslifephoto, Adobe Stock

Howling is one of the most distinctive behaviors a dog can show, and it's not always easy to interpret what your dog is trying to say with this behavior. In general, though, howling can be interpreted as either an expression of joy or an expression of distress. 

Dogs may howl when they're excited about something - for example when their owners come home after being gone for a while. They may also howl in response to certain sounds, like sirens or other dogs barking. This type of howling is generally considered a sign of happiness and excitement. 

However, dogs may also howl when they're feeling distressed or anxious. This might happen if they hear fireworks going off outside or if they're separated from their owner. Howling in this context usually indicates that the dog is feeling scared or lonely. 

What It Means When Dogs Howl in Their Sleep 

Dogs howling in their sleep is a relatively common phenomenon. While the exact reason why dogs do this is still unknown, there are several theories that try to explain it. One theory suggests that dogs howl in their sleep because they are dreaming of chasing prey. Another theory suggests that the sound of a dog's own voice triggers the behavior as part of a dream.  

While it might seem cute watching your furry friend howling while sleeping there can be a scientific reason behind why dogs howl in their sleep. Dogs may howl in their sleep for the same reasons they do when they're awake - to communicate with other dogs, to show excitement or happiness, or to alert others to danger.  

What To Do If Your Dog Howls While Sleeping 

Dogs are known to howl in their sleep, and while it may be alarming to some owners, it is actually a common occurrence. There is no need to be alarmed – your dog is not in danger and will not hurt itself. In fact, there are several things you can do if your dog starts howling in their sleep.  

The first thing you should do is make sure your dog is safe and comfortable. If they are sleeping on a firm surface, try moving them to a softer surface like a bed or couch. You may also want to consider using a noise machine or white noise machine to help drown out any external noises that could be causing them discomfort or disrupting their sleep.  

If you have ruled out any potential causes of discomfort or disruption and your dog continues to howl in their sleep, the best thing you can do is simply relax and let them continue sleeping. It’s important not to wake up your dog unnecessarily as this could disrupt their natural slumbering pattern and cause further issues down the road. 

What To Do to Prevent Your Dog Howling While Sleeping? 

Do you have a dog that howls while sleeping? Are you looking for ways to prevent this behavior? If so, read on. Dogs howling in their sleep is a fairly common occurrence, and there are several things you can do to help minimize or prevent it.  

  1. One of the most important things is to create a routine and stick to it. Go through the same bedtime rituals every night, such as -  
  • Feeding your dog his last meal at least two hours before bedtime,  
  • Taking him outside one last time  
  • Avoiding excessive play or exercise right before they go to bed 
  1. Another important thing is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise during the day; this will help them tire out and sleep more soundly at night.  
  1. You may also want to try providing them with a comfortable place to sleep or using a crate or putting your dog in another room at night 

If your dog continues to howl in their sleep despite these measures, you may want to consult with your vet about probable causes and remedies. 


There is nothing more adorable than a dog howling in its sleep. It's like they are dreaming of chasing rabbits or playing fetch. While it may seem cute when our furry friends start singing in their slumber, we should keep an eye on them just in case it turns out to be something more serious. If your dog starts Howling excessively during his naps, please consult your veterinarian for advice on whether further testing or treatment is necessary. 

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