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Does Dog Howling Signify A Bad Omen? Can Dogs Sniff Death?

Dog Howling
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Does Dog Howling Signify A Bad Omen?

This is crazy:

Do you agree that most people often associate dog howling with bad omen or something sinister?

And, you must be wondering why?

Cutting across all cultures, people have a long-lasting belief that these four-legged canines possess a special skill.

Also, regardless of your background, one’s beliefs in reports related to extra-sensory skills are not only interesting but make for excellent casual reading.

Well, let’s find out whether howling actually signals bad omen or people are just superstitiously blind.

Let’s dig deep:

The concept that dogs and howling are interconnected with psychic abilities is present in almost all cultures for hundreds of centuries.

However, it’s humanly quite difficult to find the exact source of this incredible piece of information.

Are you there?

So, what different cultures say about this superstition that a “howling dog warns about forthcoming misfortune”?

America - We Still Believe!


In the United States, particularly in the South, some old folks carry the belief that dogs will announce when something bad is about to happen.

They believe, if a dog howls twice within a short interval, bad luck or death will follow a male.  Instead, if you hear three howls, then a woman is at the receiving end.

Suppose, if any dog looks straight at you and howls, it means you are going to face bad fortune. However, a dog howls but with his back facing you, good luck is around the corner.

Furthermore, other widely believed superstitions:

  • A dog howl signifies that the wind god has released spirits related to death
  • In general, howling can mean a bad omen
  • When you notice a dog howling, bad luck may chase you.
  • In particular, when a dog howls around a sick person, it means that person will become worse. Also, if the dog returns even after shooed away is said to bring even worse things for that person.

Greeks Are Not Too Far Left Behind

In ancient days, Goddess Hecate was worshipped by Athenians for safety and protection. Moreover, folklores associate her with entryways and crossroads.

To sum up, dogs normally howled when Goddess Hecate was foretelling an imminent danger.

Ireland - The Irish Side Of Superstition

In fact, the Irish believe in a very simple explanation. In this part of the world, folktales explain that when dogs notice the universal hounds, they howl in agreement.

Notably, these hounds are said to collect the dead souls by traveling through the sky.

Well, Wales

As per legends, in Wales, people still believe that King Annwn was asked by God to save the world from bad spirits.

In other words, King Annwn would move around looking for souls and only dogs could see his “Hounds of Annwn”. Additionally, they would respond by howling at his hounds.

Egypt - The God Anubis

In another account of superstition associated with howling, the Egyptians revered Anubis as the god of mummification and afterlife.

As a matter of fact, Anubis safeguarded the dead person’s tombs and their souls.

Also, when dogs howl, it’s believed that they are welcoming Anubis.

Nordic Nations - Believe It Or Not

In Norse folklore, Goddess “Freyja” represents war, gold, fertility, beauty, sex, and death. She owns the Brísingamen, the necklace.

According to Nordic tales, Goddess Freyja rides her chariot pulled by two large-sized cats. Additionally, when the dogs catch Goddess Freyja on her chariot, they howl relentlessly.

Indians - Save The Beloved

Indians, especially the Hindus, believe that God Kal Bhairava rules the universal time. He is associated with annihilation.

He generally appears with red flower garlands, terrorizing looks, protruding teeth, weapons, and his dog.

Importantly, Hindus are of opinion, that when misfortune is about to happen, dogs will howl invoking God Kal Bhairava’s blessings to protect the weak.

Nepal - The Mystic Land

In Nepal, God Kal Bhairava’s temple located near “Darbar Square” sees a steady stream of tourists regularly. Just like Indians, Nepalese too revere dogs and worship them on par with cows.

Here, people associate dog howls with bad superstition or something bad in general.

What Experts Have To Say About Dog Howling?

Firstly, like other members of the canine family, in the wild, coyotes and wolves howl to assemble the pack.

A howl sends a hidden message to his counterparts saying, “Where are you?, I am here”.

Furthermore, once the group assembles, they change their howling pattern and it becomes more of a celebration. Especially, early-socialized and well-trained dogs will normally howl less than their forest friends but the message is the same, isolation and separation.

Overlook Dog Howling And Care For The Sick


Imagine this situation. A person is sick in a household. Therefore, in order to treat that person and take care, a pet dog that always stays inside the room is now viewed as an unnecessary distraction.

In other words, the dog which was normally surrounded by humans now finds himself single and alone.

To beat this lonely mood, experts say dog howls calling attention from the rest of his/her pack for care and support.

Moreover, when they are left alone, a dog starts to emit certain kinds of sober wails. Some might even remark that “ The night that he died his pet dog did not stop howling because the dog knew something bad is coming soon”.

Now, assembling all our misguided superstition

The key contributors to superstitions:

  • A well-oiled belief that dog knows something about bad omens and future events
  • Dogs left to fend for themselves are more likely to howl expressing their sorrow and agony

In essence, combining all these factors and using our memory to selectively recollect only bad events and associate that with dog’s behavior is not uncommon.

What Should You Do When Your Dog Howls?

First and foremost, be brave and stop worrying. Remember, he howls because he is feeling alone.

So, allocate some time for your pet and take him for a stroll.

Yes, wait …. And see your fear vanish……….

Causes For Dog Howling At Night

Does your dog regularly howl during moon time or at night? Take a look at some of the causes that could be behind your dog howl.

♦ Signs Of Ageing

With age, dogs undergo different stages of emotions. In case, if you find your dog suffering from cognitive decline including memory loss, howling could just be an expression of that condition.

♦ Crate training and howling

During crate training, puppies express their displeasure howling and may feel isolated at times. Probably, they whine to grab the owner’s attention.

♦ Locating prey

For example, some owners train their dogs to howl when they find something worthwhile. In brief, it’s not uncommon to find dogs howl.

♦ Injury Concern

Another main reason is when dogs are injured or scared. In general, dogs communicate discomfort and pain through howling.

♦ Identifying Territory  

Sometimes, a dog might howl to indicate territory invasion. Are you aware that dogs are highly territorial?
Furthermore, through howling a dog sends a message right across to other invaders that,” This is my place, leave me alone”.

♦ Grabbing attention and separation anxiety


Certain dog breeds are so smart that they involve in manipulative behavior.  In addition, your dog may display bad behavior such as soiling carpets and biting furniture.

Overall, separation anxiety, just like humans, also affects dogs. At times, your next-door person might complain about your dog’s behavior.

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