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Why Does My Dog Keep Whining? 4 Common Reasons Why

Written By
4 min read

Updated - Apr 21st, 2022

Have you noticed your furry family member whining more often than usual?

Dogs are naturally very expressive. Whether it’s through body language or vocalization, they display their emotions quite easily. However, no matter what common dog behaviors they demonstrate, it can become worrisome when you notice their actions becoming more excessive. 

Despite wearing their hearts on their paws, dogs can’t tell their owners in plain english that something is wrong. This means that they may resort to other mechanisms to get their point across, such as barking, biting, or in this case, whining. If you notice that your pooch is even more vocal than usual, you may find yourself wondering, “Why does my dog keep whining?” 

It’s important to be able to differentiate between different types of whining, so you can understand what they’re trying to tell you. Here are a few common reasons your dog might be whining.

1. They want your attention.

The most common answer to “why does my dog keep whining?” is that your pup wants your attention. In their younger years, your dog may want more interaction, similar to how children cry to express their need for their parents’ attention. Make sure that your dog has plenty of playtime and mental stimulation, whether you take them out on frequent walks or provide them with enriching puzzles and toys. If their whining goes unaddressed, they may resort to other dog behavior problems, such as chewing furniture or having accidents in the house. 

Tip: To mediate their attention-seeking whining, it’s important that you don’t reinforce their behavior by immediately trying to appease them. This will encourage them to whine in the future until you give them what they want. Instead, avoid eye contact or any form of interaction until they stop, and immediately reward them when they become quiet. Repeat this process to teach your dog that whining will not be effective. This will teach them alternative ways to communicate with you and actively discourage them from whining for attention.

2. They’re scared or stressed.

If an adult dog is whining while exhibiting other behaviors, such as shaking, panting, or pacing, it may be a sign that they’re stressed about their current situation. If their ears and tails are tucked, that means that they feel unsafe and are in need of security. First, identify what is making your dog uncomfortable, whether it’s a person or animal in close proximity. Create some distance between the person/object and your dog until your dog stops whining.

Tip: Lure your pup away from the stress factor with a treat each time they take a few steps back. Repeat this process until your dog has calmed down. This should help your dog regulate their emotions and slowly learn that the perceived threat is less scary than they thought. 

3. They miss you.

Another reason why your dog might whine is separation anxiety. Separation anxiety happens when dogs become overly attached to their owners and feel threatened when they leave. Do you notice your dog whining excessively when you prepare to step out of the house? Do they bark or try to stop you from leaving? When left unchecked, anxious dogs can adopt more harmful behaviors, such as trying to escape their home, peeing or pooping inside the house, or chewing up furniture. To ensure your dog is both physically and emotionally safe, you must address separation anxiety immediately after noticing symptoms. 

Tip: Before you leave your puppy alone, provide them with treats or puzzles that will keep them occupied for a long time. You can also get them used to your leaving by starting with short departure times, then gradually lengthening them until your dog becomes accustomed to your schedule. If their separation anxiety is a bit more severe, don’t be afraid to reach out to a certified dog trainer or try dog training classes.

4. They’re sick or hurt.

When your dog whines, it could also be because they’re sick or in pain. Be sure to monitor their behavior closely to rule out any underlying health issues. Are they having uncharacteristic potty accidents in the house? Are they limping? Are they acting strangely lethargic? If so, their whining can point to undetected pain that needs veterinary attention. 

You should also consider their age. If your older dog is whining every time they jump into your bed or walk up the stairs, it may be a possible sign of arthritis, which causes joint pain and limits their mobility. 

No matter the cause, if your gut tells you that your dog’s whining is a sign that something is wrong, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Alongside finding a great veterinarian, getting pet insurance can help you afford the best treatment, even when it’s costly. We know this, and that’s why Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans help cover 90% of eligible vet bills.

Don’t wait – fetch a free quote today!

Shi-won is a copywriter and an enthusiastic dog aunt to Maltese and Shih Tzu puppies.