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10 sounds your dog makes and what they mean

Black and white jack Russel barking advice
© Pixabay

Check out this list of the 10 sounds your dog makes. We’ll look out why they make these sounds, and when they might become a problem.

By Ashley Murphy

10 sounds your dog makes 

1# Barking Barking is a dog's primary form of communication.

In fact, wild dogs bark very little, and wolves don't bark at all. Experts think barking evolved as a direct line of communication between domestic dogs and their humans. This might be why a dog's bark has so many more textures and tones when compared to the noises made by its wilder cousins.

2# Growling

A dog will growl for a few different reasons. They might be nervous, afraid, or displaying their natural protector instincts.

3# Whining and whimpering

This is your dog's way of saying they're not happy. They might want some food, a few treats, or just a bit of affection. Whining is common in young pups suffering from separation anxiety. It's also a dog's way of saying I'm sorry. If they've been scolded for naughty behaviour, some dogs will whine and whimper. It's a submissive gesture that says OK, I was wrong. Now can we be friends again?

4# Grunt

Some dogs will grunt, especially when they're satisfied with something. It usually happens after a big meal or just before a nice long snooze. Grunting is associated with the release of any tension as the body begin to go into relaxation mode.

Common dog noises

5# Honking

Otherwise known as the reverse sneeze, “Honking” is a reflex action caused by irritation in the throat or on the palate. Smaller dogs with flat faces or shorted windpipes are the most likely “honkers”.  

6#  Couging

An odd cough is nothing to worry about. But if the coughing persists, then get your pooch to a vet. They may have picked up a dose of kennel flu (the doggy version of the common cold!) Persistent coughing can also be a symptom of more serious issues like congestive heart failure and lung disease.

7# Howling This is your dog expressing its inner wolf.

Pack of wolves use howling to communicate with other each other and warn off any potential rivals.

8# Barking or whimpering when asleep

Our dog's dream! Research has shown that their sleeping brains go through the same electrical patterns humans and other higher primates. As they enter into deep REM sleep, they may start "acting" out their dreams.


9# Sneezing

The occasional sneeze is not a cause for concern. Sneezing is an involuntary reaction that clears the airways. But if it just won't stop, its time to see a vet. Your dog might have a minor infection or an allergy. Other causes of canine sneezing fits include exposure to irritants, sinusitis, and rhinitis.

10#  Snoring

Snoring is common in short-headed breeds. It's related to the shape of their faces and airways, and it usually doesn't affect the quality of their sleep (how it might impact yours is another matter!) But keeps an eye out any potential breathing problems or a significant increase frequency or volume. Excessive snoring is related to a bunch of medical issues such as obesity, sleep apnea, and hypothyroidism.


Understanding what your pooch needs is really important. So keep an ear out for any sound they might make; they might be trying to tell you something important!