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Why Won’t Your Dog Stop Whining? Experts Share Insights on This Distressing Behavior

Dogs communicate in a number of ways, including barking, licking their paws, whining, and more. They are very vocal companions and one of the many ways they communicate audibly is through whining. Why is my dog whining so much all of a sudden? 

There can be many different reasons for these moans, most of which are no cause for concern. However, while it’s easy to see your dog whines as cute or harmless, giving them immediate affection and failing to understand the reason for it teaches them to whine constantly.

Knowledge is power, especially for pet parents. It’s very normal for your pup to engage in some attention-seeking whining when they are excited, seeking attention, anxious, or when they’re aiming to please. 

But there are some worrisome cases to look out for in order to best care for your fur babies. 

black and white puppies with mouth open

Most Common Reasons for a Whining Dog

There are so many potential reasons for your dog’s behavior and most of the time they are just communicating their daily needs to us or showing dog owners their love and excitement. 

Most of the time, just like a tail wag and a bark, your hounds’ whining is totally normal. Nonetheless, it’s still helpful to be able to identify these signs. 

1. They Need or Want Something

Sometimes a whine from your pooch can be as simple as this is the best way for them to make a request of their pet owner. They may be asking you for food, water, or a walk. It may be because their favorite toy is stuck under the couch or they want you to throw the ball for them. Or they may be reacting to loud noises and want you to figure out how to make things quieter. 

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However, if they’re whining for more food after you’ve already fed them, it may be hard to resist but this is where good parenting comes in. 

Too much food may lead to weight issues and feeding your furry friend more after they’ve whined will serve as a reward and cause the problem to worsen next time.

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If you sense your furry babies are unsatisfied after most meals then it may be worth switching up their dog food or introducing some dog supplements to meet any deficiencies they may have. Probiotic chews are a favored option for dogs experiencing digestive issues. They effectively promote a healthy and regular gut. Additionally, they serve as an excellent solution for picky eaters, offering enticing meat flavors and easy digestibility.

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If they’re whining at night, it could also be from low-quality food which leads to bloating, indigestion, and general discomfort.

2. Appeasement Behavior

Often, dogs whine when they are conceding and looking to reconcile after a misstep on their part. This is usually coupled with a submissive posture like a tucked tail, lowered body, and an averted gaze.

mini goldendoodle up close

This type of behavior came from their wolf ancestors. Wolves can be shunned from the pack when they break pack rules like biting too hard during play. In order to be accepted back, they will bow their heads and put their tail between their legs as a sign of remorse.

This is the same guilty look you’ll see from your doggy, which can often be very cute and hard to stay mad at (so it works then!) They may demonstrate such an apology after they’ve received a scolding for chewing your shoe or getting into the trash can again. 

The best thing to do here is to acknowledge their whine quietly and walk away, this relays “apology accepted and welcome back” to them. 

3. Greeting Behavior

Why is my dog whining all of a sudden? Sometimes, due to the sheer excitement of welcoming you home, a whole host of sounds ranging from barks to squeals, and whines will chorus together as a greeting. For dogs, whining can be a form of communication.

goldendoodle puppy barking

Dogs often use whining as a salutation and reception. These sounds are particularly common when they are overcome with excitement at their favorite humans returning after a day of work. Make eye contact with your favourite doggy so they know you are home and happy to see them. 

4. Boredom or Seeking Attention

Your pooch may be taking to whining as a way of getting your attention. Dogs are a lot like kids in this way; they complain when they feel no one is paying them attention or when they want something to do. They need mental stimulation and can choose different ways to communicate when they aren’t getting it.

Their frustrated whines may also be accompanied by obsessive behaviors like pacing or incessant scratching. This can happen with both younger and older dogs.

goldendoodle on the run

Dogs need a lot of stimulation and a significant amount of exercise compared to other house pets. Physical activity is crucial for their mental state, behavior, and overall happiness (and after all, a happy fur baby makes for a happy you).

Without regular runs and plays, they become restless, irritable, and frustrated with their routine. This is when good dog toys for boredom or interactive dog puzzles come in handy. 

best dog toys

They are able to work their brains so that they can be stimulated both mentally and physically.

5. Potty Time

A common reason for a dog’s cries could simply be a plea for the loo. This need to relieve themselves rings particularly true for house-trained dogs as they know to go outside to do their business. 

fluffy white dog taking a poop

It may be combined with a scratch on the door or a nudge of the snout. In this case, they’re saying “please let me out, I gotta go!”

6. They’re Still a Puppy

Lastly, if your dog is whining, particularly through the night for no reason, it could simply be because your puppy is still a puppy! Pups need a lot more attention than adult dogs, which is completely normal. 

Pomeranian Mixed Shih Tzu brown and white pu

They usually whine because they miss their mothers, their litter, or because they want attention from you.

This whining may be hard to ignore and your first instinct may be to reach to them for comfort because you feel guilty. This isn’t so advisable. It will give your puppy positive reinforcement and communicate the idea that their whining is acceptable. 

maltese shih tzu poodle puppy

Instead of sitting with a whining problem later down the line, wait until the sounds stop and reward the good behavior with a cuddle or a treat afterward. (NB it isn’t only puppies that whine – your old dog may also whine). 

Whining that Requires a Closer Look

Much like how dogs use whining to express their pleasure and joy, they can also use it as a cry for help or a way for their human parents to know something is wrong or a medical issue needs tending to. These can also range from mild to more acute instances.

7. Injury or Medical Condition

If your doggy suddenly starts to whine for no reason, you should begin by ruling out pain or physical distress. This is particularly true if they’re lying down or are in a submissive posture as this shows weakness.

dog lies between owner's legs

First, start by ruling out visible sites of possible injuries. This would entail checking their paws, padding, and their declaw for any stones or thorns that may be lodged in as well as any cuts. You can also inspect your doggy’s fur for any wounds that may be hidden.

If they start to whine when they lay down, try to climb the stairs, or jump on the couch it might be indicative of joint pain or arthritis

himalayan sheepdog

In acute cases, a joint supplement for dogs could be useful but if the whining happens suddenly or intensifies, it may be wisest to consult your vet for possible treatment plans.

8. Anxiety and Mental State

It is not uncommon for your pooch to experience anxiety and stress. Anxious whining can be accompanied by nervous pacing or even chaotic jumping, circling, and howling. 

mini goldendoodle yoda

If you sense your pup has a nervous disposition, it may be a good idea to invest in some CBD oil for your dog’s anxiety. Anxious dogs can be particularly triggered if dealing with things like a new home, new people or any potential perceived threat.

The moans may also arise during a nighttime storm if they’re afraid. A scared dog could whine as well as tremble, try to hide, or escape.

dog on owner's lap

Their anxiety could also simply be part of their nature. Or in some cases, if your pup is a rescue, they may have experienced trauma earlier in life that leads to nervousness.

9. Other Nervous Whining

Sometimes life happens and you need to turn to dog-sitting scenarios for your dog babies, leave the house or put them in the car for a long trip. This may lead to increased whining due to separation anxiety.

border collie blue merles in back of car

In these cases when you know their routine or environment will be temporarily disrupted and may cause them stress, keep some calming chews for dogs on hand. These will provide temporary relief for them and make them feel a little bit more comfortable.

mini goldendoodle in carrier

Final Thoughts on Why is my Dog Whining so Much all of a sudden?

Why is my dog whining all the time all of a sudden? For the most part, dogs are very ‘chatty’ and good at communicating their needs, requests, and desires. They are very intuitive and pick up on their surroundings. 

Don’t worry too much, your pooch is intelligent and more resilient than you realize. Next time you hear a whine, you’ll be better able to recognize if there’s a cause for concern or if it’s simply a complaint about their cat sibling stealing their bed again. 

brown dog barking why is my dog whining so much all of a sudden

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