Why Do Female Dogs Growl At Male Dogs?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 05/25/22 •  3 min read
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Why Do Female Dogs Growl At Male Dogs?

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Are you a pet parent of a female and a male dog? If so, you may have noticed that your female dog sometimes growls at the male dog. But why? What causes the female dog to act this way?

It’s common for dogs to growl at one another, including a female dog growling at a male. We’ve put together information about some of the most common causes of this issue. Let’s get started!

Why Do Dogs Growl?

Dogs growl as a form of communication. It’s a way to show a dog is unhappy with another dog or is somehow uncomfortable or in pain. Most dogs will growl because they’re afraid, being aggressive, protecting their territory & showing possession, or because they’re in pain.

However, dogs may also growl when they’re playing together!

Why Female Dogs Growl at Male Dogs

If your female dog is growling at your male canine companion during play, this is not usually a sign of aggression. Just be sure to watch your dogs’ body language. At the first sign of aggression, it’s best to separate the dogs before things get out of hand.

Another common reason for growling is if a female dog is in heat. She may not be receptive to your male dog’s advances and give him a warning growl.

Other warning growls may include:

Resource guarding: your female dog may want to keep your male dog away from resources such as food and water, the dog bed, and more. This may also apply to dog toys and you (or other family members).

Pain: your female dog may also grow if she’s in pain and does not want to be bothered in any way by the male dog.

Illness: a female dog may also growl at a male dog if she’s not feeling well. She wants to be left alone.

Stress: another reason a female dog may growl at a male dog is if she feels stressed. She’s warning him not to come closer. Dogs may also grow because they’re afraid of the other dog.

What to Do About Growling?

When growling is caused by stress, illness, or pain, never punish your female dog. Instead, it’s important to try to discern what the problem is. If she’s sick and in pain, it’s time to call the vet. And if she seems stressed or fearful of your male dog, it’s imperative to monitor them and see what’s going on between the two dogs.

If the growling is caused by resource guarding, your female dog is in heat; you may also want to consider contacting the vet. Having your female dog spayed may stop the growling. However, for resource guarding, it may be necessary to contact a dog trainer or a professional dog behaviorist to solve the problem.

Finally, if your dogs are growling during play and there’s no aggression or warning, it’s OK! Just let them play and have fun together!

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.