Nothing can be scarier than witnessing your furry loved in pain or discomfort. Dogs can’t express their emotions through words, so we need to observe their behaviors to try and help them. When a dog yelps, it can be for a variety of reasons.

Why is my dog yelping for no reason? If your dog isn’t showing other symptoms such as limping or not eating, it may yelp for attention, excitement, separation, anxiety, pain, old age, or fear.

A dog yelping can mean something serious, but it can also be a simple fix. Whether your dog is in pain, scared, or needs something, it’s essential to note any other signs or symptoms that come along with the yelping.

Understanding Why Your Dog is Yelping

Unless there’s a clear reason your dog is yelping, it’s difficult to figure out what’s wrong. What is going on if my dog keeps crying in pain randomly? If it’s yelping a lot, it could mean it’s in pain, but you can deduce more from their cues. These are the most common reasons dog’s yelp:

It Needs Something

You know your dog best, and you probably know if it yelps a lot for attention or food. Typically, a dog will yelp if it wants food or water, especially if it hasn’t eaten in a few hours. If your dog recently ate and drank, it might also need to go outside.

Some dog breeds are also known to yelp or whine for attention. Dogs love their humans, and they love pets from them. It can also mean your furry friend wants to play.

Overexcited Yelping

Going along with a need for attention, dogs get excited when they see their humans or something they like. Have you ever been away a long time and came home to an overly excited dog? That excitement escalates the longer you’re away, and it’s a true testament to just how much they love their human companions!

Anxiety and Yelping in Dogs

If your dog is yelping and shaking, it may be experiencing some anxiety or fear. Examine your dog and consider the environment. Is there a loud thunderstorm or loud noises like fireworks? If there is, watch your dog ensure the symptoms go away once the loud noises stop.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is common among many dogs who are well-bonded with their family members, and it can become a lifelong issue if not taken care of. Some dogs, when away from their owners for a lengthy period, can find it hard to relax.

Anxious dogs will express their emotions by chewing things, breaking items, and getting into things they’re not supposed to, and trying to escape. If you noticed your dog does this – and yelps – while you’re away, it may be dealing with separation anxiety.

This post from the ASPCA outlines diagnosing and treating separation anxiety.

A Dog’s Age and Yelping

As a dog gets older, its physical and cognitive function declines, and these health problems can affect behavior. If your dog is older, it may become fatigued or lethargic and yelp a lot because of it.

Fear and Yelping

Past serious injuries or previous traumas can have a major effect on a dog’s behavior. If a dog has gone through a traumatic experience – especially recently – it may be yelping because it’s afraid of going through that experience again.

Poisoning in Dogs

Yelping and shaking are common symptoms in poisoned dogs. They’re feeling sick and scared, and they’ll yelp to express that. If there is a chance your dog could have ingested something poisonous (chocolate, xylitol, nicotine, etc. are common ones), take it to the emergency vet right away.

Pain and Discomfort in Dogs

Oftentimes, a dog’s yelps mean it’s in pain. It’s upsetting to witness, especially if there are no physical signs of injury. It can mean your dog has a joint or muscle problem or suffering from an infection. Signs that your dog is in pain include:

  • Limping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Eye redness or discharge

If your dog is yelping and experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is in pain. In this case, call or visit your vet; they will diagnose and treat whatever is ailing your furry companion.

Upset Stomach in Dogs

If your dog is yelping, it may have an upset stomach or swallowed something it wasn’t supposed to. Other signs of an upset stomach in dogs include:

  • Lip-smacking and drooling
  • Eating grass
  • Licking floors and other surfaces
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach noises
  • Burping and passing gas
  • Restlessness and/or reduced activity

If your dog has many of these symptoms, call or visit your vet for a proper diagnosis. The vet can determine if it’s a mild stomachache and will give you tips and remedies.

Dog Yelps When Touched on Lower Back

If your dog is yelping when touched on a certain part of its body, that may mean a muscle injury. A dog that yelped when its lower back is touched, it may be suffering from a spinal injury like lumbosacral syndrome (Source: VCA Hospitals).

According to VCA Hospitals, lumbosacral syndrome occurs when there are instability and abnormal movement along the spine, causing inflammation in the spinal cord and surrounding muscles. It’s not a pleasant feeling for dogs with the illness, and they will often yelp or move away when touched in the lower back area.

Your vet will determine if the dog’s pain is due to lumbosacral syndrome or another spinal injury. This post from VCA Hospitals goes into more detail on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the syndrome.

Home Remedies to Ease a Dog’s Pain

Sometimes the first thing you think when your dog is in pain is to give it a small dose of pain medication, but that can exacerbate what’s happening and fatally affect the dog. Never give your dog pain medication unless your vet has recommended it.

Until you’re able to get your dog a veterinarian diagnosis, keep the water close by for easy access and help it avoid physical activity. This will help ease a few symptoms while you wait for treatment.

Dog Yelps When Walking

If your dog is yelping while walking, it most likely means things:

  • It sees something it likes
  • It’s in pain while walking

Dogs love birds and squirrels, and some dogs yelp when they see one flying through the air or climbing a tree. If your dog is tugging on the leash while yelping, it may see a small animal in the distance that it wants to chase.

If there are no small animals or other dogs nearby, your dog may be in pain. Look for signs of limping, heavy panting, or fatigue, and make sure the dog’s harness or collar isn’t on too tight. Inspect for an insect sting or bite if your dog was walking in the grass. If you notice signs of pain, go to the vet right away. 

If your dog is panting heavily or walking slowly behind you, give it water immediately. If it’s a sunny day, find some shade or take your dog back home or to the car for air conditioning.

What to Do if Your Dog is Yelping

After examining your dog and any factors that could be causing its yelping, determine if your dog needs medical care. If so, contact your vet for an appointment or take it to the emergency vet if you feel the situation is an emergency.

If your dog is not experiencing anxiety or stress, a veterinarian will assess and perform several diagnostic tests to determine the cause. They may prescribe medication or offer at-home remedies.

If your dog is suffering from anxiety or fear, try to calm our dog. According to the CCSPCA, our vet can give you tips for easing a dog’s anxiety, including:

  • Exercise and long walks
  • Physical contact, petting, and cuddling
  • Calming coats that wrap around the torso