What Does it Mean When Your Dog Whines?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Dogs sometimes whine when they feel pain.

    Dogs sometimes whine when they feel pain.

    A whining dog is never a fun scenario, and the frustration of it is only heightened when you cannot figure out exactly what is bothering your poor pooch. Canine whining can be a sign of many things, from standard separation anxiety to a simple craving for your acknowledgement and attention.

    Separation Anxiety

    Dogs, for the most part, are highly companionable animals -- nowhere near independent or aloof. If you notice that your dog starts whining up a storm every morning right before it's time for you to go to work, he may just be dealing with a straightforward case of separation anxiety. Your smart pooch knows the patterns, recognizes the sounds of the morning rush, and doesn't like it one bit. Along with excessive whining, your dog may display other key indications of separation anxiety, whether inappropriate elimination or chewing on your furnishings. All of these things point to a dog who dreads being alone and away from you.

    Acknowledgement

    If your dog's basic needs have all been met but he still continues to whine, it may be a sign that he wants you to acknowledge him, and he wants you to do it now, whether through more petting, more playing or more tasty treats. Your little pooch craves your attention, and doesn't want to stop whining until you give it to him.

    Feeling Small

    Dogs frequently whine as a sign of subordination. If your dog is in the presence of an animal or person that he perceives to be powerful and dominant over him, then he may whine as a way of conveying his "inferior" status. A whining dog is often a threatened and intimidated one -- one who doesn't want to risk getting into a battle with a much tougher party.

    Excitement

    Strangely enough, some dogs produce the high-pitched whining sound during times of enthusiasm and excitement. If you have a guest at the door, your dog may whine because he's overwhelmed and happy. Your cutie may even whine when you walk toward the kitchen because he thinks that you're about to bring him something delicious -- and he just can't wait.

    Nervousness

    Outside of separation anxiety alone, dogs also whine out of general nervousness and uncertainty. If you just brought your pet to the doggie groomer to get his fur cut, don't be surprised if your little one can't stop whining while you're waiting.

    Pain and Discomfort

    Human beings often cry when suffering in the throes of physical pain and discomfort, and dogs are no different in this sense. If your poor baby fell off something high and injured his leg, he may whine. If his stomach hurts and he feels nauseous, he may whine too. If you think for any reason that your doggie's whining is pain-motivated, waste absolutely no time in getting him to the veterinarian. Be on the lookout for other hints of physical pain in your dog, whether bloating of his stomach, a hunched over body position or the hanging of his head. Dogs sometimes even whine when they're simply out of their comfort zone. Perhaps your dog feels either a little chilly or a little too warm. Maybe he just can't find his favorite toy and is feeling unsettled because of it.

    Pregnancy

    If your dog is female and hasn't been fixed, don't ignore any whining sounds she makes. Whining sometimes signifies canine pregnancy. If gestation is indeed a possibility for your canine, get her to a veterinarian as soon as you can.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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