If your dog has been growling at night you might want to know why and how to get it to stop.

This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog growl at night? Possible reasons your dog growls at night are that it is not getting enough exercise, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior, fear, an issue with its diet or separation anxiety.

There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might be growling at night and it could be a combination of reasons. But, there are also some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.

Why your dog growls at night

The different reasons why your dog does it will likely come with some clues.

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.

Diet

It might be the case that there is a problem with its diet that is causing it to stay awake at night. It could be that it is being fed the wrong foods or it’s being fed too much or not enough.

It would help to make sure that you have been feeding it the right foods and that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing. You could also try feeding it earlier in the evening if you are currently feeding it late at night. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding it.

Related: Why does my dog bark at night?

Not enough exercise

The reason why it growls at night could be that it has excess energy. This would be more likely if it has not been getting as much exercise as is recommended for its breed and if it growls more on nights where it has not been getting much exercise. In this case, it would help to make sure that it is able to get the recommended amount for its breed.

You have inadvertently reinforced the behavior

It could also be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it growls at night then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to reward it in the mornings when it does not growl and to avoid rewarding it when it growls unless there seems to be a cause such as a problem with its sleeping environment.

Fear

The cause might be that something has been causing it to be fearful at night. This would be more likely if your dog growls more in a certain room and if there seems to be something specific that it is growling at such as a window or a fan.

Noises such as sirens or it can hear other dogs barking or howling

It could also be the case that your dog can hear things at night that you can’t that it does not like. This would be more likely if you know that other animals enter your backyard at night or if your neighbors have noisy dogs.

Separation anxiety

If it does not sleep with you, the cause might be that it has separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts growling when you go off to bed and if it shows some signs of being anxious when you are leaving.

A problem with its sleeping environment

The cause might be that something in its sleeping environment has been causing it to find it difficult to fall asleep. Things that might make it difficult to fall asleep could include the room being too hot, the room being too bright or if there is not a spot for it to lie down comfortably.

It needs to pee

The cause might be that it needs to pee. This would be more likely if it growls when it does not get to pee before bedtime and if it wants to go outside when it growls at night. It would help to make sure that your dog gets to pee just before going to bed at night.

Illness or injury

The cause might be that it has an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing signs of being ill or injured such as limping. If it does seem like it might be ill or injured then the best option would be to take it to a vet.

It’s being possessive

The cause might be that it is being possessive. This would be more likely if it starts growling when you start touching things that it thinks belongs to it like its spot on the bed.

How to get your dog to stop growling at night

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop growling at night.

Make sure that you are feeding it correctly

Since the cause might be an issue with its diet it would help to make sure that it is getting the correct diet. You can do this by discussing its diet with your local vet when you see them next. You can also look here to see what you should and should not be feeding it.

It would also help to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing and it could help to feed it earlier in the evening.

Give it exercise

It would also help to make sure that it is getting the recommended amount of exercise for its breed. You can exercise it yourself or you could get a dog walker to do it for you when you can’t. It might also help to take it for a quick walk in the evenings to wear it out some more.

Make its sleeping environment comfortable

It would also help to make sure that the room it sleeps in is not too hot, not too bright and that it has an area where it can lie down.

Try crate training

Crate training is where you teach your dog to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.

If you crate train your dog in the right way it will give it an area where it can feel safe. This should help to reduce how anxious it becomes at night and to help it fall asleep more easily.

Train it to be less anxious without you

It would help to try to take measures to reduce how anxious it becomes at night by doing things such as:

  • Make it seem like you are about to go to bed by walking to your room
  • Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
  • Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by putting your hand on the door handle
  • Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
  • Actually open the door and go into your room for a few moments then come back and reward your dog
  • Repeat the above, leaving it for slightly longer

Avoid rewarding it

As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it growls at night. Instead, it would help to try to avoid rewarding it when it does it especially if it seems to be doing it for attention.

Get help from a vet

If you cannot figure out why your dog has been growling at night, you can’t get it to stop or it has been showing signs of illness or injury then consider getting help from a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored to your specific dog and to rule out the possibility of it being ill or injured.

Things to consider

When your dog first started growling at night

It would help to consider when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.

If it did start doing it suddenly it could be due to things such as getting rewarded when it first started doing it, illness, injury, a change in its sleeping environment or a change in its diet. It would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it.

When your dog does not growl at night

It would also help to consider whether or not it always doesn’t growl or if there are certain times where it growls more since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it does not growl on nights where it is not windy it might be the case that the reason why it growls is due to the sound of the wind.

If it is aggressive when it growls

It would also help to consider whether or not it growls aggressively. If it does seem to be growling aggressively, it would help to get the help of a certified dog behaviorist in your area so that you can see how to get it to stop safely. If it does not seem to growl aggressively it would still be important to be cautious when dealing with it.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.