10 Must Know Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Screams


An abrupt, scream-like noise that comes from your dog can catch you off guard. This noise is not typical dog barking, but instead more of a dog yelp.

If you’re not accustomed to hearing such noises from your dog, you may be inclined to panic at the apparent pain that your dog is experiencing.

You may be especially concerned if it seems like there was no particular event that prompted the scream from your pooch.

While this can be a scary time, it is best for owners to stay calm and seek help for their dogs if needed. If you’re asking yourself, “Why does my dog suddenly scream?”, then read on to find the answers that you seek.

This Video Is A Perfect Example Of The Most Common Reasons Dogs Scream, Anxiety.

10 Reasons Your Dog Suddenly Screams

why is my dog screaming randomly

There could be many reasons why your dog is screaming suddenly. Some of these reasons may confirm that your dog is in pain, while others may indicate that your dog is simply screaming without a reason.

Even if your dog suddenly screams and does not seem to be in pain, it is worth evaluating its condition since dogs hide pain well.

No matter the reason, a dog owner will want to know what’s impacting their precious pooch. Here are some common reasons that lead to dogs screaming.

  • Muscle Pain and Cramps
  • Joint Pain
  • Physical Injuries
  • Ear Infection Pain
  • Pest or Insect Bites
  • Your Dog Is Scared
  • They’re Dreaming
  • Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom and Need For Attention

Muscle Pain and Cramps

Your dog may yelp in pain if they are experiencing muscle pain or cramps. Muscle pain or cramps can certainly be uncomfortable for a dog. Fortunately, these phenomena will not result in excruciating pain for your pooch.

If you aren’t familiar with cramping, this condition results when muscles quickly contract. Cramping may only last for a few seconds at a time, but it could also last closer to a few minutes. Most cramping is mild, but painful muscle contractions can be experienced by dogs for several reasons.

Cramps may have several different causes. A dehydrated dog could develop cramps due to a lack of water that is supplied to its muscles. Moreover, dogs that stay in a single position for too long could begin to cramp.

A cramp can also result when a dog overuses a muscle. Therefore, if you think that your dog may be cramping because of muscle overuse, try to get your dog to a confined space so it can relax.

One of the positive aspects of cramps or muscle-related pain is that such pain is almost always temporary. A dog that is experiencing muscle cramps or muscle pain may be uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain should subsist afterward.

Though cramps are typically harmless, they could indicate some sort of detrimental health condition if they linger. If your dog has persistent cramps, seek veterinary advice.

Joint Pain

If a dog suddenly begins screaming after moving around, then it may have some sort of joint or muscle pain.

Joint pain is especially common in older dogs that overexert themselves. Such pain can impact many different parts of the body.

This type of pain can range from fairly insignificant pain such as minor inflammation of the elbows to pain like spinal cord pain or neck pain that could be a major concern.

If a dog’s age predisposes it to joint pain, be sure to take it easy with your furry friend and try to continue providing a dog with gentle exercises in their old age.

Physical Injuries

If a dog screams suddenly, one of the first things that an owner might conclude is that a dog sustained some sort of physical injury.

Our canine companions are tough, resilient creatures, but even dogs are not impervious to pain. If you hear a dog suddenly scream, immediately check its body to determine if any physical injury has been sustained.

Owners that find an injury on their dog should take their furry friend to get treatment from a vet if the injury is anything other than a minor puncture wound or cut.

Ear Infection Pain

Anyone who has ever had an ear infection knows that such a condition is unpleasant. Dogs—like humans—can develop ear infections.

A dog with an ear infection may vocalize if something comes into contact with its infected ear. Therefore, if your dog is suddenly screaming, check to see if they have an ear infection.

Some dog breeds are especially likely to develop ear infections. Breeds with large, floppy ears tend to be the most prone to ear infections. Dog breeds such as Dachshunds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Beagles, and Basset Hounds are a few examples.

Pooches that have narrow ear canals are especially prone to developing ear infections.

Additional symptoms of ear canal infections aside from a dog that suddenly screams include if your dog is frequently tilting its head or scratching its ear, then it could very well have an ear infection.

You may want to gently handle your dog’s ears to see if an infection may exist. Owners that hear a yelp from their pooch while handling an ear can be fairly confident that their dog has an ear infection.

An owner that suspects that their dog has an ear infection should take their pooch to the vet to get their dog’s ears checked. Dogs with suspected infections can be prescribed an antibiotic to combat the bacteria causing the infection.

Pest or Insect Bites

Dogs are magnets for pests thanks to their luscious coats of fur. Your furry friend may attract an assortment of pests, some of which may be biting insects.

Pests such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitos may all bite your canine companion. Though the initial bites are not likely to be painful, pest bites can cause pain after the first bug bite.

Infection and irritation can result in the aftermath of being bitten. Both infections of a pest bite and irritation can prompt a reaction from your pooch.

Your dog may scratch or nibble at an insect bite as they seek relief. Owners can identify a pest bite by searching for red skin or raised bumps on their dog.

In some cases, a pest bite can be painful or irritating enough that it prompts a dog to scream. If an insect bite is that painful for your dog, owners may want to seek a vet‘s advice on treatment options.

The fortunate aspect of pest bites is that they do not tend to persist for very long. Dogs should be clear of pest bites a few days after they first develop the bites.

If owners would like to prevent their dogs from being bitten in the first place, they can provide their dogs with medication that kills a pest once it bites a dog.

Your Dog Is Scared

You may be starting to deduce that dogs share many of the same feelings and emotions as humans. Indeed, a startled dog may let out a scream similar to what humans do when they’re scared.

Therefore, your dog may not be in pain at all. Rather, they may be fearful of something. Owners that observe their dogs being wary and cautious without seeming to be in pain are likely dealing with a scared dog.

There are plenty of things that could scare your pooch. Other dogs, unknown people, loud noises, or other animals could put your dog on edge. Your pooch could also be afraid of entirely irrational things such as a garbage can or chair.

Whatever the reason for a scared yelp from your pooch, just know that many things can make a dog fearful. Some dogs whimper when they’re afraid, some act aggressively, and others may scream.

If an owner can deduce what is causing their dog to be afraid, they may want to try to either remove the source of the fear or remove their dog from the location if a dog is constantly scared.

Sometimes dogs are just fearful because they don’t understand the thing that is causing their fear. A simple introduction to the unknown object may be enough to calm your dog down.

Those who notice that their furry friend seems inconsolable with fear should seek veterinary advice.

They’re Dreaming

Many dog owners have experienced an instance in which their dog is fast asleep for one moment and then screaming the next. What happened to make your dog scream?

If your dog appears to have a startled, dazed look on its face after suddenly screaming, it may have been startled awake by a dream.

Yes, you read that correctly-dogs can have bad dreams just like humans. These nightmares may cause your dog to suddenly awaken from a deep sleep with a scream.

This is an instance where an owner can’t do much to remedy the situation. They will just have to let the situation play out and hope that a dog sleeping does not awaken with a scream again.

Fortunately, it is extremely uncommon for a dog to routinely startle awake and scream. There may be a time or two when it does happen, but it should not be a regular occurrence.

If owners do find that their dog is frequently waking up with dog screams, they should inquire with their vet about the potential reason for this behavior.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)

Canine cognitive dysfunction – otherwise known as CCD – is a condition that alters a dog’s brain, leading to a decrease in their awareness, reduction of memory, and changes in their behavior.

Many liken this medical condition to dog dementia given that many of the clinical signs of this ailment correspond to the characteristics of dementia. Unsurprisingly, older dogs are more prone to displaying signs of CCD compared to younger dogs.

If you hear a dog randomly scream, this could be a symptom of canine cognitive dysfunction. There are many other symptoms associated with dog dementia, and while none are inherently life-threatening, they can lead to a steady decline in your dog’s health with time.


Unfortunately, many owners are all too familiar with separation anxiety in dogs. Studies have estimated the percentage of dogs with this condition to be considerable, with anywhere from 20-40% of dogs living indoors believed to have this condition. Rescue dogs may be especially likely to have anxiety about being separated due to their past abandonment.

With separation anxiety being so common in dogs, many owners are likely accustomed to hearing their dogs scream as they’re preparing to depart from the house.

It can be distressing to listen to your dog scream as you’re getting ready to go, but being away from your dog is healthy for both the pet and the owner. Besides, it is not realistic for owners to constantly be in the presence of their dogs.

If your dog begins to act distraught as you prepare to depart from the house, it may have separation anxiety.

Don’t fret-separation anxiety is a condition that is easily treatable with dedication and effort on an owner’s part. We won’t go into detail about the specific processes that can be used to minimize dog anxiety but know that it is very much possible for your dog to live a life without separation anxiety.

It is best to treat separation anxiety as soon as possible. If you notice signs of this behavior in a puppy, attempt to address the problem while your dog is still young and impressionable.

As always, chat with a trusted veterinarian if you need advice about treating this condition in your dog.

Boredom And Need For Attention

As silly as it sounds, if a dog screams suddenly and the dog’s condition appears to be normal, hearing a dog screaming could simply mean that your dog is bored. You may be wondering, “Can a dog feel boredom?”. Well, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

If a dog approaches you and makes physical contact with its tail wagging, it may be trying to prompt you to play with it. If a dog screams when it is just lying around, then it may be craving additional physical or mental stimulation in its life.

Try taking your pooch to the dog park or provide it with some other exercise and see if it acts differently once it has returned home.

Why Is My Dog Screaming When Picked Up?

dog screams when picked up

If you have a dog that is screaming when you pick it up, there may be several reasons for this behavior.

Being Picked Up Is Painful For Your Dog

If you hear a scream suddenly come from your dog’s mouth after you pick up your pooch, the odds are that something about being picked up made your dog uncomfortable enough to scream. Perhaps your dog’s body hurts.

This could mean that they experienced some sort of pain when they were picked up. You certainly won’t want your canine companion to be in pain, so owners should attempt to get to the root of the problem.

This doesn’t mean that you should continue to pick up your dog so it will suddenly scream. Rather, owners should gently feel their dog to see if they notice any cuts, bruises, or insect bites, that may be causing the pain.

If you can’t deduce what is causing your furry friends to scream when you pick them up, take them to the vet immediately.

Your Dog Doesn’t Enjoy Being Picked Up

If a dog screamed when you picked it up, it may have simply screamed because it does not enjoy being picked up.

Some dogs love being picked up, while others loathe the experience. If a dog does not enjoy being handled, it may let you know by letting out a screech of some type.

Being Picked Up Induced Emotional Or Physical Trauma

Some dogs may go beyond simply disliking being picked up by their pet parents. Many dogs feel trauma associated with the process of being picked up due to a past experience that they may have had.

A dog’s instinct is to be walking on the ground under its own power. Those who invade a dog’s personal space by picking it up and limiting its body control could make their pooch quite unhappy.

Pet parents can deduce if their pet enjoys being picked up by listening for screams and reading its body language.

How Do You Manage A Screaming Dog?

If you have spent time researching the question of, “Why does my dog suddenly scream?”, and you cannot seem to find a way to prevent your dog from screaming, you may just have to live with a screaming dog.

This is not the worst possible outcome for an owner. After all, if a dog randomly screams instead of screaming when it’s in pain, that means that you won’t have to worry about reasons why your dog might be screaming.