Why Is My Dog Growling At Nothing?

It can be worrying for you to see your dog growling at nothing for no apparent reason.

If only you could read your pet’s mind to know what’s bothering him!

What may seem like nothing to you could be something that he can see, smell or hear and is unsettling for him.

Why Does My Dog Growl at Nothing?

Dogs have an acute sense of smell and excellent hearing ability.

They can sense when something is not right and are courteous enough to share the information with us with a growl.

It can be something that’s unsettling for them externally, or it could simply be an internal distress like pain.

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Here are some possible reasons for this behavior from your pooch.

Cognitive Dysfunction or Canine Dementia

Certain health problems can cause your canine companion to stare at a wall or at other objects and start growling. Cognitive dysfunction can be one of those problems, it’s like when humans get the Alzheimer’s disease.

Observe if your pup is sleeping more during the day, has become antisocial, experiences shaking, is lethargic, has difficulty navigating doorways, paces or wanders aimlessly and has major behavioral changes. All these are indicators of your pup having a cognitive dysfunction or canine dementia.

Poor Eyesight

This could be a reason especially if your four-legged friend is getting on in years. Poor eyesight may cause him to see objects or shadows differently that he can feel threatened by.

Another Animal

Your pup can hear and smell other animals in the house before you can. Like a rat in the wall for example.

Observe whether your canine companion is acting weird at a specific place or if he just does it out of nowhere.

The former may be due to another animal present that he can sense while the lat­ter is most likely because of a health issue.

Better Senses

The most obvious reason is that animals have a superior sense of smell, hearing and can see better in the dark too.

You just can’t see what they can, hear as well as they can or smell as well as animals can either. They can sense a wild animal out in the yard which you may never even see but your pup knows it’s there.

Something Supernatural?

While we believe what we can logically prove, it’s a common belief that our four-legged friends see the supernatural or ghosts.

So, you decide whether your veterinarian’s diagnosis is right or if your pup is not too happy about an unwelcome guest in the house!

Related Questions

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What to Do if My Dog Keeps Growling at Nothing?

First, consider taking this as useful information rather than a bad behavior.

Something is obviously bothering him, and he is choosing to communicate this to you.

You should try to figure out the reason behind this behavior as opposed to just punishing him.

Here are a few ways you can deal with the issue:

Don’t Test Your DOG’s Patience

If your pup is upset with something that you or someone else is doing, make it stop at once. Don’t push your pooch over his tolerance threshold.

Often the growl is a warning that your pet is reaching his bite threshold. Therefore it’s better to leave him alone until he relaxes.

Observe Why Your Furry Friend is UPSET

Analyze what may have upset your dog. Is he bothered because he senses another animal or when you take something away from him?

When you know the cause of this behavior you can deal with it better.

Provide Necessary Medication

If these sounds have been found out to be due to a health condition, get your pet the medical help he needs.

Get Your Pet into a Training Program

Sometimes the aggressive behavior cannot be dealt with on your own, which is why you should get your dog into a training program that makes him calmer with training exercises.

Reduce Stressors

Stress and fear can cause aggression in your pooch. Observe what bothers your pet in your environment and surroundings then try to remove those items to reduce his stress triggers.


What If My Dog Barks and Growls at Nothing?

Your pup’s sudden barking  can be due to various causes. The reason may be frustration or barking as a means of warning.

You can figure out which may be the case with these reasons.


Your pup can be frustrated with something that is making him bark. For example to warn a nearby animal to stay away, territorial bark or to tell you about something that your senses are not strong enough to detect.


This can be rather easy to understand as your pooch will be barking while looking at you. Pay attention to what may be the cause of your pup’s barking.Maybe he is trying to warn you about a danger. Like you left your toaster on in the kitchen and forgot, your furry friend can pick up the slightest burning smell and warn you before an electrical short circuit starts a fire.

Social Barking

You may not be able to see another dog nearby but your furry friend has superior senses.

Your pet may be greeting a friend passing by with a bark.If your house has a backyard or a porch that leads to a trail or road where other animals walk and play. Your pooch can be able to pick up familiar scents and communicate with his friends with a bark.

Wild Animals

Dogs are very territorial and have an amazing hearing ability. They can sense wild animals lurking around the house and rats or squirrels living inside the house walls.If you find your pooch barking at a blank wall, maybe he can sense a rodent inside.

Health Problems

Behavioral changes can also be caused by health conditions. Even if your pup was calm before, he can start he can start acting differently out of nowhere because he is in pain.

How Can I Deal with it?

Dogs communicate through barks and growls. You must firstly learn to tell the difference between a friendly bark and an unexplained bark.

If your pup is apparently barking for no apparent reason, here are a few ways you can deal with it.

White Noise

If your pooch starts barking at night, maybe he can hear faint noises that are bothering him. These sounds are not really a problem during the day as various familiar sounds in a home tune them out but at night your pet’s superior hearing ability catches it all.White noise is the best way to deal with the issue of your pooch’s unexplained barking at night. Just turn on a fan at a low setting that will faint out these sounds and help everyone sleep peacefully.

Increase Exercise

Pups that are frustrated and anxious by nature tend to get triggered easily and start barking. You can rectify this behavior by making your furry friend do calming exercises that stimulate his mind.It does not mean you have to sit your pooch down and play chess with him. Just take him out for a quick walk or a short play session every day which can reduce barking significantly.

Ignore Attention Barking 

Sometimes dogs bark when they are bored, hungry or just for the sake of your attention. Just like dealing with kids, such behavior should not be encouraged.

You can deal with it by not looking your pooch directly in the eye and ignore attention barking until he stops. Also it is better to ignore than punishing or scolding him.


Despite what horror movies have taught you, to see your dog growling at nothing shouldn’t be very alarming. It doesn’t mean that there is a ghost lurking around in your house. So rather than looking for a new house, figure out the reason behind your pup’s aggressive behavior.

This behavior is a way of communication that your pet uses to let you know that all is not well in his doggy world.

Or it is simply the fact that your furry friend has more advanced senses than humans do and he is seeing, hearing or smelling something that you cannot which is causing the discomfort.

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