Do Dogs Growl When Petted?

Dogs are like family for their owners, and in a family, everyone knows the meaning of other’s behavior or at least try to know. The same goes for dogs, too; responsible dog owners are always curious to know the meaning of their dogs’ behavior. One such behavior is growling when petted.

Yes, dogs sometimes growl when petted, much like many other pet animals. Every dog’s behavior has some meaning, and growling is a way that dogs use to communicate different feelings.

Understanding the meaning of a dog’s growl is crucial to help him if it hints at a problem that can risk your dog’s safety.

There are a lot of reasons that can make your dog growl. Read on to know them for ensuring your dog’s safety and for better bonding between you and your dog.

Why Do Dogs Growl When Petted?

Why Do Dogs Growl When Petted?

Here are some common reasons that why your dog growls when petted:

Dogs Growl For Pleasure

Dogs love when their owners pamper them with cuddles and petting. They may growl out of pleasure, and you can easily detect pleasure growling by his behavior. In this case, when you’ll stop petting, he’ll ask for more as he enjoys it.

Dogs Growl When Injured

If your dog doesn’t generally growl when you pet him but has suddenly started doing this, it may be due to an injury. You may not be aware, but he may be sick, in pain, or uncomfortable. It’s important to take him to the vet as soon as possible because sudden growling is often associated with a health problem.

Dogs Don’t Like Strangers

Although dogs are very friendly creatures, some breeds just don’t like meeting strangers. When they see strangers, they growl because they become uncomfortable. You can avoid this by telling the stranger the right way to approach a dog. He should make sure that he doesn’t make the dog uncomfortable.

Growling From Fear

Another answer to the question that why does my dog growl when petted is fear. When a dog growls due to fear, he shows many other signs, too, that can help you know that he is fearful of something. These include panting, drooling, shivering, urinating, or unexpected destructive behavior.

Your Dog Needs Something

Like kids cry to fulfill their wishes; similarly, your dog can growl when he needs something. For example, when he is hungry, he may growl to get some food. When he sees his favorite treat, he’ll growl to get it. Maybe he’s bored and been alone for some length of time and simply wants to play.

If you don’t provide what your dog needs, it can lead to aggressive growth, which is not a positive behavior.

Fighting Growl

You must have seen dogs growling at each other while fighting or when they are about to fight. This growling is easily understandable, as the sound is very heavy and scary.

Can Your Dog’s Growl Lead To A Bite?

Can Your Dog’s Growl Lead To A Bite?

You must have seen a dog growling after a bite, so that you may be thinking about the opposite of this. Can a dog’s growl lead to a bite?

The answer to this question is both yes and no.

Most of the time, the dog’s growling doesn’t lead to a bite. Like their wolf ancestors, dogs growl, but that doesn’t mean they will bite you.

In some cases, a dog’s growl can lead to a bite when your dog is frustrated and triggered because of anything. It can be a health condition, something he doesn’t like, or a fight with a dog or another animal.

You can relax while petting your dog, as in this case, the growl doesn’t lead to a bite. It can be categorized as pleasure growling, or you accidentally petted at a painful spot or area. In both cases, with a little understanding of your dog’s behavior, you can know that is it due to pain or pleasure.

If it’s due to pain, take your dog to the vet immediately. Don’t pet your dog, as in such cases; he may become aggressive and bite you.

How To Stop Your Dog From Growling At You

It’s the most common misconception that dog’s growling is bad behavior. But it’s actually not. He expresses different feelings through growling, so he must not be punished for growling. If you punish your dog, the subsequent situations will trigger him to bit you or anyone else.

So, you must handle the situation in a way that doesn’t cause discomfort to your dog. If your dog growls at you, here are some things you can do to stop him growling at you:

The first that you should delay is taking your dog to a vet. He may be growling due to health problems that will make your dog growl due to pain. It’s especially important if your dog has a sudden behavior change and has started growling at you lately.

Once you know that your dog isn’t growling due to a health issue, the next step is to find the actual cause. It may be due to fear, play, anxiety, protection, fatigue, etc. Observe his condition and situations to know the reason.

If your dog’s growling is associated with negative behavior such as anxiety, try to find out the best solutions. You can consult a behavior consultant or a veterinary behaviorist for some practical advice that will actually work.

How To Stop Your Dog From Growling At You


As a responsible dog owner, you must know the meaning of each behavior of your dog. Dogs growl when petted, and this may be due to many different reasons.

The most common include fear, pleasure, injury, presence of strangers that makes them uncomfortable, he needs something, etc. By understanding different types of growls, you can ensure that the problem is solved before it turns to aggression.

If you don’t understand the reason, a dog’s growl can even lead to a bite. Although it doesn’t happen in most cases, it can still occur in rare cases.

You can stop your dog from growling by understanding the reason behind it. To get expert advice, you should contact a behavior consultant or a veterinary behaviorist. He will help you find out the reason behind it and provide you the ways you can deal with it.

You’re part of the same pack, learn to understand your dog like he will be learning to understand you and you’ll both get along brilliantly.