Groaning in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 04/30/2017Updated: 09/02/2021
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Why is my dog groaning?

What is Groaning?

Dogs of varying breeds are more vocal than others, such as the Basset Hound or other hound breed. For similar breeds, groaning is simply something the dog owner becomes accustomed to. There are dogs, however, which groan suddenly and consistently for no apparent reason to the owner. Groaning in dogs is typically a means of wanting attention, a sound of satisfaction from being petted or rubbed, or can be a sign of discomfort. The more dog owners know and are in tune with their dogs, the more likely they will be able to decipher the reason as to why the groaning is occurring. Factors to consider are if the dog is a puppy, a perfectly healthy dog in his middle years, or an aging dog; if he is groaning while sleeping, groaning when lying down, or making the sound when rising from a resting position. Aging dogs may groan if they are not feeling well or if they are very tired. Groaning is typically not a serious sign of any disease, but in some cases may represent a health issue. Groaning in dogs may be caused by a wide range of conditions, including the following:

  • Panosteitis
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Ascites
  • Generalised Illness or disease
  • Being a vocal breed
  • Wanting attention

Why Groaning Occurs in Dogs


Panosteitis, is a condition of rapid bone growth. When puppies have bones that grow more quickly than they can keep up with, pain can occur. Eventually they do adjust, but the initial discomfort of “growing pains” can be hard to bear. Signs can be similar to those seen in those with OCD or muscle strains, so a vet should always make the diagnosis.


Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage thins out between the joints; it is a degenerative condition that, in time, can cause stiffness and pain in the joints. Osteoarthritis generally occurs in aging dogs. Dogs may be stiff and slow and symptoms tend to come on slowly.


When fluid builds up within the abdomen caused by a primary disease or illness, the dog’s abdomen can become distended. This condition, marked by swelling and pain, makes it very difficult to lie down.

Illness or Disease

Any number of illnesses or diseases can cause pain and suffering in dogs. Dogs that are suffering from an internal illness or disease can voice their pain by groaning when changing positions or when making specific movements. They may also groan for no apparent reason to the owner, but when they are really having pain.

A Vocal Breed

Many dog breeds are generally more vocal than others. Groaning, moaning, and other little noises often occur when they are satisfied, when they are lying down to rest, or when they are being petted and loved on.

Wanting Attention

When dogs want their owner’s attention, they tend to whine, bark, moan, and groan until they get the attention they want. Sometimes ignoring their requests causes those dogs which are more stubborn and strong-willed to make these noises continuously until they get the attention they want.

What to do if your Dog is Groaning

If you notice your dog is groaning, and he doesn’t normally groan, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to get to the bottom of their groaning sounds by asking you several different questions in order to get more information about his groaning habits.

In order to rule out any health concerns, your veterinarian may want to run a few laboratory tests to get a better picture of what could be causing your dog to groan. He will take into consideration their age and past health issues before conducting any tests. He may perform blood work, urinalysis, biochemistry profile to begin, and then do any imaging he feels is necessary. If it is an older dog and he suspects he may be having joint pain, these will be effective in taking a closer look at his joints. He may also palpate the abdomen and take further tests of the abdominal area to check for any buildup of fluid that could be causing your pet discomfort.

Prevention of Groaning

Preventing the groaning of your dog will depend on the health issue your dog is having. Once the health issue is diagnosed by your veterinarian, he will recommend treatment options to help your dog become well again. Once the treatment options are in place, and you are consistently giving him any medication that he needs at home, his symptoms should begin to go away. If he is recovering, he should moan and groan less as his pain is decreasing. 

If your dog is groaning due to a behavioral issue or because of his vocal breed-type, prevention may be quite tricky. As a dog owner, you may be simply relieved that your dog’s groaning is not due to a health concern and may be able to tolerate this sound. However, if the groaning is something you want to stop, you may do different things to help prevent it. Distracting your dog when he begins to groan may help, being sure he is always fed on a regular schedule, has a comfortable area to sleep, and gets plenty of attention from you may be ways to prevent this behavior. If your dog’s groaning is out of control and you are out of options, you may contact a behavioral therapist or a trainer to help you keep your dog’s groaning to a minimum.

Cost of Groaning

The cost of treatment for groaning in dogs depends on the health condition. Costs can range from $300 for the treatment of arthritis, $500 for a behavioral therapist, and up to $1800 to treat ascites. Typically, panosteitis can cost up to $800 for treatment.

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Groaning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


Great Dane



Seven Weeks


0 found this helpful


0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
We just got a puppy yesterday, she had fleas, ticks and has tapeworms. She’s on day two of Safe guard 4 way dewormer, but she hasn’t ate all day today except for in the morning with the dewormer. I tried broth and chicken but she still won’t eat. Is that a normal side effect from the dewormer or could it be cause it’s a new environment? Or should I just take her in

Sept. 28, 2020

Answered by Dr. Sara O. DVM

0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear that your puppy is having issues. This could be from the dewormer but could be something else. With your puppy being young, it would be best for a vet to see her. We worry about parvo in young dogs that are not eating. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

Sept. 28, 2020

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Teddy bear



Fifteen Years


3 found this helpful


3 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Groaning While Laying Down
My teddy bear makes sounds between a groan and whine as he's going to sleep. He is slowing down considerably and eating very few things. How do I know if it's a breathing issue or a pain issue?

Aug. 2, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, and I'm sorry that your pet is not doing well. Different things can happen as animals age, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between a breathing problem and groaning due to pain. That would be something that a veterinarian would be able to tell you after they are able to examine your pet, see what might be going on, and let you know more What treatments might be available, whether there is a problem or not, or if you need to be worried. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 2, 2020

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