Why do dogs growl?

April 13, 2012

There are a variety of reasons why a dog may growl. A growling dog may be growling for reasons related to behavior, stress, rage syndrome or medical problems. If your normally sweet tempered dog begins to growl, it is important to find the cause. Your dog may be in pain or irritated from an illness or other medical condition.

A Dominant Dog

A dog who feels that he or she is just one of the pack in the household, may assume dominance in the absence of anyone else doing so. This dog may growl and bite people as a measure of keeping its dominant position. A dominant dog may be aggressive and wag its tail at the same time. A dominant dog needs to be trained because an untrained dominant dog is dangerous. You should never approach a strange and growling dog. If your dog is growling at you because of a dominance problem, you have to be careful and seek out training for the dog.

Rage Syndrome

There are certain lines of the English Springer Spaniels that carry the potential for the Springer rage syndrome. Other dogs are also thought to be prone to a rage syndrome condition, which can have triggers that set off instant rage in the dog. It can be difficult to distinguish between dog dominance aggression and an episode of rage syndrome.

Over Excitement and Stress Related Growling

Dogs may also growl in the presence of other dogs from fear or a show of dominance. If playing gets too intense, a dog may growl. Dogs will also growl to protect their food. Your dog should feel that you are the boss and you should learn how to keep play from escalating into growling episodes so that your dog will not growl at you when playing or during the dog’s feeding time.

Stress from fear can cause a dog to growl. Sometimes, certain objects will cause intense fear in a dog. A dog’s level of stress and fear can be raised from the loss of senses such as hearing and sight, which can cause the dog to growl. It could be the fear of loud noises or a person walking up to the dog. A confused and fearful dog may bite, even a shy dog.

Pain and Irritation can Cause Growling

If your dog suddenly changes its moods and becomes more irritable, you should take your dog to the veterinarian to determine the cause of the growling. Elderly dogs can develop chronic conditions or illnesses that cause pain and irritation. If your pet is in pain, it may be stressed to the point of growling or snapping at loved ones.

The pain could be caused from a wound, illness or medical condition. A dog that suffers from an irritable condition may also growl. Examples of irritable conditions that could cause growling include dental pain or allergic reactions to fleas, food ingredients, dust and other substances. Rabies causes growling. Growling may be accompanied by other symptoms that will help the veterinarian make a correct diagnosis of your pet’s condition.

A growl is meant to tell you something. If your pet growls, it could be an audible signal that something is wrong. You have to pay attention to a growling dog and discover the cause whether for your own or the dog’s health and safety.

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