Dog Randomly Yelping (6 Possible Reasons)

dog randomly yelping

As a dog owner, one dog sound that can make my blood turn cold is hearing my dog yelping for no apparent reason. To many dog owners, 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 in pain could be caused by a number of health problems. This could range from joint or muscle problems, stress and anxiety, canine bloat, dementia, etc. Your dog’s pain should not be ignored and needs immediate medical attention.

There are so many possible reasons that can cause your dog to randomly yelp out in pain or distress. But in this article, we will touch on the more common causes that are causing your dog’s yelping.

Why Is My Dog Yelping For No Apparent Reason?

It is unnerving to hear your dog yelp randomly like it is in sudden pain. It gets confusing when your dog stops yelping suddenly and behaves like it is totally fine.

It’s frustrating when we are not able to help our canine companion and ascertain what is wrong. Hopefully, 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

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 randomly painful it can be.

I once woke up with this crazy ache between my shoulder blades that prevented me from turning my head to the right. Took almost 2 months before it just mysteriously disappeared.

There are ‘cushion’s between your dog’s spinal cord that tends to break down due to your dog’s age or could even rupture due to an injury to your dog’s back.

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

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, a defect 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 discomfort. 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:

  • Eating and drinking too quickly
  • Too much physical activity after eating
  • Older dogs
  • Stress

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.

Time is of the essence.

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

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 like peeing or pooping 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

dog smelling each other ass

How do dogs greet each other? Yes, by smelling and sniffing each other’s bottom. Something which your cat might find to be repulsive.

There is a reason why dogs do this.

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 which 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. 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.

Although I would strongly recommend that you take your dog to the vet to treat its ear infection, there are some dog owners who swear by using coconut oil as a natural remedy for ear infections in dogs.

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 gives 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.

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.

What Should I Do If My Dog Starts Yelping Randomly?

If you noticed that your dog has started yelping randomly recently, make sure to take note of a couple of things.

  • Time of the day
  • Any triggers
  • Any other change in behavior

When your dog yelps, try gently rubbing your dog’s body and looking for any signs of pain and injury. Sometimes, it can be difficult to detect anything without doing an x-ray or a scan.

If the yelping doesn’t go away after a few days, I would suggest taking your dog to the vet for a thorough examination.