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What Can Make a Dog Suddenly Growl at Someone He Loves?

on September 22, 2012

What Can Make a Dog Suddenly Growl at Someone He Loves? thumbnail

Your well-behaved dog may growl at you for various reasons. A dog growls to provide a warning that something is wrong or to show that he thinks he is in charge. When you know your dog loves you, a random, uncommon growl toward you can startle you. Before you become afraid of your best friend, it is always good to find out what caused the growl in the first place. To prevent growls from turning into something worse, such as a bite or an attack, give your dog proper training to prevent such events from happening.


  • When you place, or drop, food in front of your dog, the excitement and opportunity to eat can be overwhelming to the dog. Your dog may let out a growl if you attempted to take the food away or if you get too close to it. If your dog is eating around other dogs, a growl can be common, as the dog likely is warning that he will not share with the other dogs. If a growl is directed toward you, it may be startling if the dog has never growled at you before, especially in this situation. Consider a few things before forming a fear. Was it a new type of food, a treat, a bone, something that fell off the counter that the dog knows he should not be eating? Situations like that may cause a growl. If your dog is eating out of his bowl and growls at you for simply walking by, then you may need to hire a trainer, or train the dog yourself, to nip that behavior right away to prevent a bite from happening.


  • If your dog becomes jealous, a growl may arise. If you are playing with, or petting, another dog, your dog may see that as unfair, or upsetting, which will cause the growl toward you or the other dog. Your dog may get jealous of another dog around you, especially if you have not socialized your dog with other dogs. Start training to prevent the growl from escalating to a bite or attack.


  • When your normally well-behaved dog growls at you while you are petting him, there may be a health issue causing the growl. Pay attention to where you were petting your dog. Look for certain indications that an injury may be possible, such as if there is a cut or sore on the skin, the dog is limping or favoring a leg or if the area is swollen. Bring your dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice something may be wrong with your dog’s health. Your dog may also growl at you if you are attempting to clean a wound or administer medication.


  • Dogs growl if they are scared or startled, just like a human may gasp or scream. If you sneak up on your dog, you may scare him and cause him to growl at you. If the dog is unaware that you are in the room or approaching him, the surprise may set off a growl as a warning that you startled the dog. If your dog is hard of hearing or losing his sight, you may need to try to let your dog know you are coming into the room by turning on a light or making noise like stomping your feet or talking to the dog.

Passing Away

  • An elderly dog may growl when it is close to his time to pass away. Your dog may not feel well due to old age or because he is getting weak. A growl may happen as a sign that the dog is dying and wants to be left alone. At this time it is up to you to decide if you want to let the passing happen naturally or to euthanize your dog. If the dog is not in pain, you may decide to let the passing happen on its own, but if the dog is uncomfortable or suffering, euthanasia may be a better choice for your dog.


One response to “What Can Make a Dog Suddenly Growl at Someone He Loves?

  1. […] What Can Make a Dog Suddenly Growl at Someone He Loves? ( […]

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