Why Is My Dog Randomly Yelping? (9 Shocking Reasons)

dog randomly yelping

One sound that can make my hair stand is when my dog yelps for no apparent reason.

A dog yelping usually means a dog in distress or pain and that doesn’t sound like a good thing.

But what are some of the reasons that can cause your dog to yelp in pain randomly?

A dog randomly yelping could be caused by a number of health and behavioral issues. This could range from joint or muscle problems, stress and anxiety, canine bloat, dementia, etc. Your dog’s constant yelping should not be ignored and needs further looking into. 

In this article, we will help you understand the reasons that can cause your dog to vocalize in this manner and what can be done about it.

Why Is My Dog Yelping For No Reason?

I would be terrified if my dog keeps yelping in pain randomly.

It gets even more confusing when the dog’s yelping is intermittent without it showing any adverse symptoms.

Yelping is your dog’s way of communicating with you but it’s frustrating when you are not able to help your canine companion and ascertain what is wrong.

These reasons can help point you in the right direction.

1. Joint Or Muscle Problems

cervical IVDD in dogs

Based on my experience, having some sort of joint or muscle pain is usually the main culprit for your dog’s yelping.

Dogs can get this problem due to physical injury, trauma, weird sleeping position, etc.

Cervical IVDD

“The padding between your dog’s spinal cord can deteriorate with age or rupture from a back injury.”

Cervical IVDD is another term for a slipped disc or pinched nerve in dogs.

If you have ever suffered from one of the above, you know how random the acute pain can be.

I once woke up with this crazy ache between my shoulder blades that prevented me from turning my head to the right.

It took almost 2 months before it just mysteriously disappeared.

The padding between your dog’s spinal cord can deteriorate with age or rupture from a back injury.

When this happens, it can cause pain and discomfort to your dog and affect its mobility.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Walking with a limp
  • Back and neck pain
  • Unable to lift its neck
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Shivering
  • Paralysis

The best way to treat dogs with IVDD is with pain meds and some dogs make good candidates for surgery.

The earlier your dog is treated, the better the chances of the dog being free of the pain and being able to return to an active lifestyle.

Canine Arthritis

“Most dog owners think that canine arthritis only happens to dogs that are old.”

Arthritis in dogs is the condition when the cartilage or tissue between the dog’s joints starts to wear off or is destroyed.

This will cause friction between the bones which leads to joint pain and mobility issues as well.

Most dog owners think that canine arthritis only happens to dogs that are old.

Not entirely true.

Canine arthritis is also caused by birth defects, bacterial and fungi infections, an issue in your dog’s immune system and dogs that are overweight.

The most commonly affected joints are the:

  • Hips
  • Lower back
  • Knees
  • Elbows

Symptoms of canine arthritis include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Reluctance to move about
  • Pain when walking or climbing objects
  • Urinating in the house
  • Restlessness

Unfortunately, there isn’t any cure for canine arthritis which means that the best form of treatment is to manage and help slow down the degeneration of the joints.

The vet will most probably give your dog pain medication to help manage any joint pain.

Physical therapy is a good way to help your dog strengthen its joints.

Some dogs might have to undergo surgery if the pain is too severe.

2. Bloated Stomach

dog cross section

A bloated stomach in your dog can develop suddenly and without warning.

This is a condition when the dog’s stomach gets filled with food, liquid or gas too quickly and gets bloated.

The bloated stomach can become life-threatening when it twists or folds onto itself.

This cuts off important blood supply to the major organs and other parts of the dog’s body.

This is a very painful condition that leads to dogs yelping in pain.

Common causes for canine bloat are:

Symptoms of canine bloat are:

  • Swollen looking stomach
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pacing and restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Unable to stand

Certain dog breeds like the Great Dane, St Bernard, Irish Setters and Basset Hounds are more prone to getting stomach bloat.

If you have a Great Dane that looks underweight, do not overfeed your dog too much food in one sitting.

Space it out to prevent your dog from getting canine bloat.

Surgery is the best way to treat dogs whose stomachs have folded to prevent the condition from worsening.

If you suspect that your dog has a bloated stomach, please take it to the vet immediately as it can turn life-threatening very quickly.

3. Fear And Anxiety

dog feeling stressed

Not all dogs yelp because of pain. There are some dogs that will yelp out of fear and anxiety.

These are dogs that might have suffered from past trauma or an accident that sends them into an anxious state when triggered.

Some dogs can even scream out in fear when having a bad dream about past trauma.

Dogs too can suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

If you have recently adopted or fostered a rescue dog that had been abused, it might exhibit some random yelping when left alone due to separation anxiety.

For such dogs, pet parents should try and make arrangements for someone to be around the dog for most parts of the day.

Leaving it alone for long stretches can lead to destructive behavior inside the house or tearing up the furniture.

Treatment for such dogs usually includes behavioral therapy and anti-depressants for dogs with more severe symptoms.

4. Impacted Anal Glands

“There are times when the anal glands can become impacted due to an infection and blockage.”

Located at the opening of your dog’s anus are its anal glands.

Anal glands are like a dog’s information center.

It contains a dark musky liquid that tells other dogs more about the dog that they are smelling.

There are times when the anal glands can become impacted due to an infection and blockage.

The infected anal glands will start to leak thick brown liquid and can even smell bad.

It is possible for fluids in the anal glands to leak onto your dog’s bed while it’s sleeping.

Dogs with infected anal glands will drag their bums across the floor to try and soothe the discomfort.

Please take your dog to the vet if its anal glands are impacted. It is painful and the vet needs to express the glands to drain out the content.

A course of antibiotics might be necessary to clear out the infection for good.

5. Ear Infection

It is common for our dogs to get an ear infection every now and then.

Dog breeds with long and floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Boxers, etc.

One symptom of an ear infection in dogs is the constant scratching of the ears.

Not only are ear infections really itchy but they can be quite painful too especially if the infection is affecting the middle or inner ear canal.

There are some dog owners who swear by using coconut oil as a natural remedy for ear infections in dogs.

But I strongly recommend that you take your dog to the vet to treat its ear infection if it’s a serious ear infection.

6. Static Shock From The Carpet

Not something that many dog owners would suspect but it has happened before to both me and my dog.

Static shocks happen when two different materials rub against each other and build up a charge.

Once the charge reaches a certain threshold, it will discharge itself when you try to touch something and give you a shock.

It is no fun getting shocked out of the blue and it happens pretty often during the drier winter months.

It could be due to these random shocks that are causing your dog to yelp out in pain.

One effective way to reduce static shocks is to place a humidifier in the room to add more moisture to the atmosphere and make the air less dry.

7. A Constipated Dog

Constipation can be painful for your dog if it has not defecated for days.

It will be yelping while straining to poop. You should bring your dog to the vet if it has not had a bowel movement for more than 48 hours.

Some female dogs can yelp while pooping after being spayed as the drug and anesthetic agents can cause constipation for a few days.

This is a normal reaction for most dogs and they should return to normal soon.

8. Attention Seeking

“If you consistently respond to your dog’s attention-seeking yelps, it will begin to equate yelping with getting a reaction.”

Your dog is a lot smarter than you give it credit for.

It knows what it needs to do when it wants to get your attention at this very instant.

Most dogs will start barking, yelping or even pawing at you while you are on the phone just to let you know who’s the boss.

If you have a puppy at home, they tend to be more ‘yelpy’ than older dogs due to their vulnerable nature.

If you consistently respond to your dog’s attention-seeking yelps, it will begin to equate yelping with getting a reaction.

It’s important to know when your dog yelps for attention or when its in distress.

9. An Insect Bite


It’s not uncommon for dogs to be bitten or stung by insects.

This can happen at home or when your dog is outside walking or playing.

An unexpected sting or bite can cause a sudden sharp pain, leading your dog to yelp in discomfort.

It’s not possible to 100% protect your dog from insect bites but there are a few things that you can do to lower the risk.

I don’t allow my dog to run through grassy or areas with tall grass. Many insects tend to live in such areas.

I also keep my dog away from damp and dark areas which are popular with spiders, scorpions, centipedes, etc.

Although most insect bites are harmless, there are some venomous insects that can cause serious health problems.

Symptoms of an insect bite include:

  • Yelping in pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling at the bite site
  • Licking of the bite area

If you think that your dog might have been bitten by an insect but have no idea what it was, it might be better to get your dog to the vet for a check.

This is to make sure that the bite wasn’t from a venomous insect.

What Should I Do If My Dog Yelps in Pain Randomly?

Remain Calm

Your first instinct might be to panic, but you need to remain calm.

Your dog can pick up on your negative emotions. And if it senses anxiety from you, that might make things worse.

Your dog is looking at you to take the lead.

Assess The Situation

Before you act, quickly gauge the situation.

Was your dog engaged in an activity or was it resting?

Did you hear anything unusual prior to your dog’s yelping?

Check For Physical Injuries

Gently examine your dog’s body for signs of trauma, swelling, cuts or anything out of the ordinary.

If your dog yelps or recoils when you touch a specific area, it could indicate the source of discomfort.

Observe Behavioral Changes

Observe your dog’s behavior to catch anything out of the ordinary.

Is your dog limping or refusing to move?

Is it licking or biting a specific area excessively?

Keep Your Dog Comfortable

Ensure your dog has a quiet, comfortable space where they can relax.

It probably isn’t in the best state of mind or form to be in a place that’s loud and chaotic.

Consult A Veterinarian

If your dog continues to show signs of distress or if you cannot determine the cause of the yelping, it’s wise to consult with a vet.

They can provide a thorough examination and may run diagnostic tests such as X-rays or scans to identify the issue.

Why Is My Old Dog Yelping For No Reason?

old dog has saggy belly

As our dogs get older, they are more prone to health problems that can not only affect their joints or bones but also their minds.

Dementia in dogs is real and it is also known as canine cognitive dysfunction.

Dogs with dementia have exactly the same symptoms as humans with Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms of canine dementia include:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of appetite
  • Aimless pacing
  • Staring at walls or space

Dogs with dementia are known to yelp out in fear and confusion.

They might not remember where they are at the moment or have trouble doing simple tasks.

There isn’t a cure for dogs with dementia but with proper care and lifestyle management, your senior dog can still have many more good years ahead.

Senior dogs are also more prone to cancer and require frequent check ups.

This helps to detect any signs of cancer early and lets you decide if chemotherapy is worth it for your dog.


Why Do Dogs Yelp For No Reason?

Dogs might yelp without reason due to underlying issues such as pain, discomfort or emotional distress that aren’t immediately visible to us. Some dogs may yelp to seek attention or due to sudden environmental stimuli.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is In Pain?

Dogs in pain often show changes in behavior and appetite. You should look out for signs such as lethargy, excessive licking and vocalization.

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