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Home > Dogs > Why Do Puppies Whine? 14 Vet-Reviewed Reasons 

Why Do Puppies Whine? 14 Vet-Reviewed Reasons 

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Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Few sounds tug at the heartstrings more than the plaintive whine of a puppy. It’s a sound that can fill us with concern, wondering if our new four-legged friend is in distress. It’s normal for puppies to whine. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior is your first step to ensuring your puppy’s happiness and well-being. Let’s delve into the 14 most common reasons your fur bundle might be whining and discover how you can help them, as well as some instances when whining may be more serious.

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The 14 Reasons Why Puppies Whine

1. Hunger

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Puppies, like human infants, have small stomachs and fast metabolisms, which means they require frequent meals throughout the day. If your puppy is whining, it may be a sign that they’re hungry. Puppies may also show signs like licking their lips, pacing near their food or water bowl, or becoming more active or naughty around meal times when they’re hungry. Establishing a regular feeding schedule based on your vet’s recommendations can help alleviate hunger-induced whining.


2. Thirst

Thirst can trigger whining in puppies. To prevent this, ensure your puppy has continual access to fresh, clean water. It’s especially important during hot weather or after playtimes as puppies can get dehydrated quickly.


3. Need to Eliminate

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Puppies are still learning bladder and bowel control and may need to go outside frequently. If your puppy starts whining, it might be their way of asking for a toilet break. Puppies may also start to pace, sniff the ground, or circle in one spot when they need to eliminate. Regularly scheduled potty breaks can help reduce this type of whining.


4. Pain or Discomfort

Puppies might not exhibit obvious signs when they’re feeling unwell or injured. Instead, they might express their discomfort through whining. If your puppy’s whining is accompanied by other signs such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or changes in behavior, it’s time for a vet visit.


5. Fear or Anxiety

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New environments, loud noises, or unfamiliar faces can induce fear or anxiety in your puppy, which they might express through whining. Offering reassurance can help your puppy navigate these new experiences. You can comfort your puppy by speaking to them in a calm, soothing voice, petting them gently, or providing a safe space where they can retreat from whatever is causing their anxiety.


6. Seeking Attention

Puppies crave attention and companionship. They might resort to whining to capture your attention. While it’s important to respond to their needs, be careful not to inadvertently reinforce whining as a tactic for getting attention. Ignoring whining and rewarding quiet behavior can help discourage attention-seeking whining. Training your puppy to sit or lie down on command can also provide them with alternative ways to seek attention.


7. Loneliness

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Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

As social animals, puppies can feel lonely if left alone for extended periods. This loneliness can manifest as whining. To combat this, try to spend quality time with your puppy. Regular interaction, playtime, and training sessions can also help prevent loneliness. If you’re away from home for long periods, consider hiring a pet sitter, enrolling your puppy in doggy daycare, or getting a companion for them.

Recently weaned puppies may also whine more as they transition from life with their mother and littermates to their new home with you. Be patient, give them lots of attention and provide them with comforting toys, blankets or bedding to help them.


8. Overexcitement

In some cases, puppies might whine out of sheer excitement during playtime or when meeting new people or pets. While it’s a normal behavior, teaching your puppy to remain calm can help manage their excitement. Training your puppy to sit or stay on command can also help manage their excitement. Rewarding calm behavior and gradually exposing them to exciting situations can be beneficial as well.


9. Frustration

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Puppies whine when they’re frustrated, such as when they can’t reach a toy or are confined in a space. Providing an enriching environment with accessible toys and enough space to explore can alleviate frustration-induced whining. Training can also teach your puppy to cope with frustrating situations.


10. Wanting to Be With You

Puppies often form strong bonds with their owners and may whine to express their desire to be closer to you, especially during sleeping hours. Establishing a consistent routine and providing a comfortable sleeping area can help.


11. Teething

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Teething can be quite an uncomfortable phase for young dogs, causing them to whine as a result of gum discomfort. Providing safe teething toys or frozen treats can offer some relief to your puppy experiencing teething.


12. Learning to Communicate

As puppies grow, they’re learning how to communicate their needs and desires. Whining is one of the ways they express themselves. Over time, as you respond consistently to their needs, they’ll learn more effective ways of communication.


13. Change in Environment

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Changes such as moving to a new home, introducing a new pet, or even rearranging furniture can cause stress in your puppy, leading to whining. Maintaining a consistent routine can help your puppy adjust to changes more easily.


14. Boredom

A bored little puppy is prone to resorting to whining. Consistently engaging in playtime, providing mental stimulation, and ensuring regular exercise can effectively keep your puppy entertained and assist in minimizing whining that is caused by boredom.

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When Your Puppy’s Whining Is Something More Serious

Whining is a common way for puppies to express their needs. However, there are instances where your puppy’s whining could be a sign of something more serious.

Persistent Whining

If your puppy is whining incessantly, even after you’ve addressed potential causes like hunger, thirst, or the need to eliminate, it could be a sign of discomfort or distress. The whining might be their way of telling you they’re not feeling well.

Changes in Behavior

If your puppy’s whining is accompanied by changes in behavior such as loss of appetite, lethargy, agitation, or aggression, it’s time to take notice. These changes could indicate that your puppy is unwell or in pain.

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Physical Signs

In some cases, whining could be accompanied by physical signs such as limping, excessive scratching, changes in bowel movements, vomiting, or loss of weight. These signs warrant immediate veterinary attention.

Unresponsive to Comfort

If your puppy continues to whine despite your attempts to comfort them, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Puppies that are in pain or feeling unwell may not respond to comfort in the way they normally would.

In these situations, it’s essential to consult with a vet as soon as possible. They can conduct a thorough examination to determine if there’s an underlying health issue causing your puppy’s whining. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your puppy’s health and well-being.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

My puppy whines during sleeping hours. What can I do?

Creating a comfortable sleeping area and establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help. Getting plenty of exercise, playtime and mental stimulation during awake hours is also important. If your puppy continues to whine, you might consider allowing your puppy to sleep in the same room as you.

How can I differentiate between normal puppy whining and excessive whining?

If your puppy’s whining is persistent, disruptive, or accompanied by other signs of distress, it may be excessive. In such cases, consulting with a vet or a professional dog trainer can be helpful, depending on the cause.

labrador puppy in the arms of a vet
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Is whining common in all puppy breeds?

Whining is a common behavior in puppies, regardless of breed, and will vary depending on each individual dog.

Can older dogs whine for the same reasons as puppies?

Yes, adult dogs can also whine for many of the same reasons. However, persistent whining in adult dogs can sometimes indicate more serious health issues.

If my puppy is whining due to pain or discomfort, what should I do?

If you suspect your puppy is in pain, it’s important to consult a vet immediately. Never attempt to administer medication without professional advice.

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Conclusion

Living with a pet is a journey filled with learning and discovery. As you decode your puppy’s whines, you’re not just catering to their needs, but also strengthening the bond you share. This understanding and connection make the challenges worthwhile, transforming everyday pet care into an extraordinary experience of companionship and love.


Featured Image Credit: Dusan Petkovic, Shutterstock

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