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When Your Dog Growls for No Apparent Reason: Ghosts or Not?

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 The Spirit of Bo, returning once again to enlighten and inform: Before I dive into today’s post, I wanted to assure you that, yes, Jessie is with me and that all is well. She is adjusting to her new life, if you will, outside of her earthly one, and is in good spirits…and among good spirits, too!

And speaking of spirits, have you ever noticed your dog growling or barking at something while staring at a wall or into space and wondered, “What the heck does he see?” While we have all heard that dogs have a sixth sense when it comes to paranormal activity, unexplained barking and growling could mean something else…so don’t pack your bags and move just yet!

According to an article on, one of the main concerns of this behavior could rest in the form of cognitive dysfunction. Certain health issues could cause your dog to stare at a wall and growl for no apparent reason. Cognitive dysfunction is similar to senility or Alzheimer’s in humans. This could be a concern if your dog is in the afternoon of his life. Be sure to have a thorough check-up from your veterinarian.

Other symptoms of cognitive dysfunction can include sleeping more during the day or less at night; pacing or wandering aimlessly; shaking; lethargy; becoming less social; seeming lost; having trouble getting through doorways or around obstacles; soling in the house and having difficulty with tasks that were once familiar to him.

What does growling mean, however? It could be a mark of territorial aggression, but it can also indicate a defensive behavior. Dogs can growl out of anxiety or perhaps he is just sending a message to leave him alone. He could hear a rat, mouse, squirrel or other animal in the wall that you may not hear, but if he is growing defensive out of confusion, it could point to a neurological issue. If your dog is actually scratching at the wall at which he is barking, it could suggest you have a houseguest behind the wall. However, if he is barking/growling for no apparent reason, you may want to have him seen by the vet.

I hope you attend to this information in the spirit in which it was given! Have a great day!