Why Does My Dog Yelp in Pain When Barking? Five Fast Things to Know

There are several reasons why a dog yelps in pain when barking. A dog yelps when trying to communicate how he is feeling. Reasons can include physical discomfort, attention-seeking, behavioral issues, or age-related cognitive decline. 

Dog behavior can sometimes seem like a mystery to humans. As a dog owner, it is important to understand if your dog is in pain or emotional distress. 

You can check your dog’s mouth and jaw for oral issues. If there is a joint problem, then your dog will likely exhibit symptoms of pain when moving. If you notice that your dog emits a pained yelp when you leave the room, your dog might be experiencing separation anxiety.

If your dog is getting older and the yelps seem more random, confusion and depression associated with declining cognitive function might be to blame. Here are some things to check if your dog cries out in pain while barking.

Why Does My Dog Yelp in Pain When Barking?

There are a couple of important explanations for why your dog might yelp in pain when barking. These reasons include physical pain, attention-seeking, anxiety, frustration, or old age.


If your dog is barking and yelping in pain, the first thing to do is to give them a checkup to see if something such as mouth ulcers caused by acid reflux, cysts, or arthritis is causing pain. 

If the pain is bad enough that your dog is yelping in pain, but you cannot find any obvious cause for distress, take your pet to the vet to identify any serious issues like intestinal blockage or neurological issues such as degenerate myelopathy.

There are several reasons why your dog might yelp in pain while barking. These include:

Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are typically caused by acid reflux or GERD. An overly acidic stomach from a poor diet can cause painful mouth ulcers to develop.

Vocal polyps or cysts

Dogs can develop vocal polyps and cysts in their salivary glands. Cysts are the most common canine salivary gland disorder.

If your dog is experiencing polyps or cysts, he may yelp in pain while barking or display vocal hoarseness. You can check for cysts by examining the area under the neck or jaw. If you find lumps or swelling, take your pet to the vet for assistance.

Joint issues

Older dogs can experience joint and muscle issues from arthritis or progressive joint disease. Dogs with joint or muscle pain will yelp or shake when they try to get up. 

Why Does My Dog Cry When He Barks?

There are other reasons related to emotional rather than the physical pain that can explain why your dog yelps while barking.


Your dog might yelp when barking to get attention. If you determine that your pet is not in pain, then your dog may yelp to get your attention. They might feel ignored, hungry, or lonely. Dogs communicate feelings through barks, so if your dog is yelping sharply, he might be trying to tell you something, to get you to notice him, or to achieve the desired result.

Anxiety and stress 

A soft-natured dog or one that has experienced past trauma might freak out and yelp if you leave the room. Like babies and toddlers, dogs can struggle with object permanence and separation anxiety. This means that when you leave the room, your dog might think that you cease to exist. Environmental changes or confinement can cause extreme anxiety for a needy dog.

Give your dog an object that smells like you to remind him that you will return. You can also get a pet monitor that has microphone capabilities. Talking to your dog can reduce stress and help him calm down.


If a dog is annoyed, stressed, or is not getting her needs met, she might verbalize these emotions with frantic, pained yelps. The best way to resolve your pet’s frustration is to meet her needs. Take her for a walk, spend some quality time with your dog, or soothe her hunger. The sooner that your dog feels heard, the sooner she will settle down.


Sometimes, despite a positive environment, your dog might randomly yelp in pain while asleep or awake.

As dog’s age and their cognitive processes decline, they can become tearful. Old dogs often whimper and cry in pain while barking because their brain no longer works correctly. In addition to feelings of confusion and helplessness, elderly dogs can randomly yelp due to age-related aches and pains.

What Can I Do If My Dog Yelps in Pain When Barking?

If your dog seems to experience pain while barking, check to see if there are any oral issues or joint problems. 

You can treat mouth ulcers from acid reflux by switching your dog to a bland diet of plain boiled beef or chicken and rice until symptoms improve. You can also give them an antacid tablet such as Famotidine (Pepcid-AC) or Omeprazole (Prilosec).

Here are several ways to manage canine arthritis:

  • Surgery can help remodel your dog’s joints.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce swelling.
  • Corticosteroids can help with the pain.

Stick with medications such as EtogesicDeramaxxMetacam, or Rimadyl administered under a veterinarian’s supervision. A new drug called Galliprant is recommended to protect your dog’s kidney function. Never give human painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin to your dog.

Comforting a confused or anxious dog, alleviating their pain, or meeting their needs can help reduce your dog’s physical or emotional pain.

If your dog continues to yelp while barking, take your dog to the vet to rule out serious health issues such as an intestinal blockage. You can also take your dog to a behavioral therapy class to help them work through anxiety and coping issues. 

In the end, your dog loves you, trusts you, and is trying to communicate with you. You are the best person to resolve their issues or get them the help that they need so that your dog can have the happiest and healthiest life possible.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!