My Dog Is Pacing and Acting Weird – Is It a Cry for Help?

If my dog is pacing and acting weird, it’s usually because he has too much energy. It could also be because of:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Heat
  • CDS
  • Other diseases


My Dog Is Pacing and Acting Weird

Seeing that my dog is pacing and acting weird is definitely unnerving. I mean, is he alright or is he in pain?

Should I call a vet or a dog trainer to address the pacing, or does my pup just need a walk?

Having gone through the whole ordeal, I found that there are many reasons that explain this behavior.

There are also plenty of ways to easily handle it.


Behavioral Issues

The first thing that went through my mind when I saw that my dog is pacing and acting weird was that he’s probably feeling stressed out.

So I turned to a dog trainer to see if there was more to it. Here’s what I found.


Anxiety and Stress

Sometimes, a dog will try to pace its way out of a stressful situation. Almost every dog has a “trigger” that can upset it and send it into an anxious state.

Most often, those triggers include loud noises, like fireworks or storms.

On the other hand, a dog might also feel separation anxiety whenever its human leaves.

If that’s the case, it’ll start pacing and acting weird as soon as you leave the house.

Your dog might also be trying to tell you that it’s under a lot of stress if you’ve changed something in its life.

For example, if you’ve moved or have altered its feeding schedule, it’ll tell you how upset it is by pacing.



Plain and simple, a dog might start pacing just because it’s bored out of its little mind.

It’s not feeling stimulated enough at home, and the only way to entertain itself and work off some of that energy is by pacing.

Out of all the possible issues, I would’ve considered myself lucky if I found that my dog is pacing and acting weird because he’s bored.

Nevertheless, following the trainer’s advice, I took my pooch out for long walks and made sure that he wore himself out.

Unfortunately, that didn’t resolve my problem, but it might fix yours.



As I mentioned, when a dog is pacing, it’s usually trying to work out some emotions, and one of those emotions is excitement.

Once your furry friend sees you walking through that door, it knows that it’ll probably get hugs, kisses, treats, or a walk.

So, naturally, it gets excited about that and might start pacing.

Of course, every dog will show excitement in its own way, and some might jump, bark, wag their tails or kick their back legs. Yours just happens to pace.

I’ve also seen some dogs start pacing when their owners bring new additions to their families.

Essentially, they’re so happy that they have someone new to play with, that they’ll express it by frantically walking back and forth.


Medical Reasons

I thought to myself, since my dog is pacing and acting weird, and it’s not a behavioral issue, the reasons have to be medical.

So the two of us took a stroll to the vet’s office to see how serious the problem is.


In Heat

If your pooch is a lady, and you haven’t spayed her yet, she’ll go in heat every six months.

Her cycle will last for about three weeks, and during that time, she’ll become extremely restless and might start pacing.

That sort of behavior is nothing out of the ordinary, and it’s usually the least of your problems.

During her cycle, your dog might start whining, basically begging to go out and mate. Also, if you have any other pets at home, she might become more aggressive toward them.

Either way, the easiest fix to that problem is just to see a vet and spay your pet.


Improper Nutrition

Not many people know this, but dog food is actually chock-full of sugar, and dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to sugar highs.

So if your pooch starts going round in circles right after it’s eaten, it might be time to change its food.

In fact, after a while, I realized that the reason my dog is pacing and acting weird was due to his chow.

Thankfully, I spotted the behavior on time, changed his food, and he’s feeling better than ever.

But there’s also a chance that your dog is acting up because it skipped a meal or you messed with its feeding schedule.

If it’s hungry, its stomach might rumble, and your pup might start walking in circles. That’s just its way of letting you know that it’s time to eat.

To avoid this happening in the future, I suggest sticking to a strict feeding schedule.


Cushing’s Disease

Hyperadrenocorticism, more commonly known as Cushing’s disease, is a disorder that mostly affects senior dogs.

Most often, a growth on the pituitary gland causes the condition, and it leads to the body producing excess cortisol.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, which means your poor pooch will be in a constant state of anxiety.

Diagnosing and treating Cushing’s disease is extremely difficult because so many of its symptoms overlap with other conditions.

But if you suspect Cushing’s, you should also be on the lookout for excessive thirst and urination, as well as weight gain.

If you spot any of those symptoms, you have to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible so they can do a scan.

Treating Cushing’s Disease might involve some form of oral medication, surgery, or an attempt to shrink the growth.


Liver Disease

If your precious pooch is experiencing liver disease, its body won’t be able to properly filter out toxins.

In turn, it’ll be in a lot of pain and might start pacing to let you know how much it hurts.

Usually, you can spot the signs of liver disease if your dog suddenly loses its appetite and becomes lethargic. It might also drop a lot of weight in a short period of time.

Fortunately, most vets can successfully treat liver disease, provided that you catch it in time. You should also keep in mind that liver disease isn’t always a gradual process.

If your dog accidentally ingests or inhales a toxin, it’ll need immediate care.


Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)

In the dog world, dementia and senility are also referred to as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).

Usually, we see this condition in dogs that are over 11 years old, but it can start as early as at the age of 7.

CDS has no known causes or treatment, and the symptoms include disorientation and confusion.

What’s more, if a dog’s suffering from CDS, it might lose its appetite and the will to play or be active. It might also struggle to fall asleep at night or change its social behavior.

As you can imagine, experiencing these symptoms is pretty stressful and can easily drive your dog to start pacing.


Brain Tumor

The final, and the most depressing option to why your dog might be pacing and acting weird, is that it has a brain tumor.

Even though brain tumors are uncommon in dogs, they still do happen, especially in senior animals.

In addition to pacing, some other symptoms of a brain tumor include:

  • Panting
  • Muscle tremors and seizures
  • Loss of hearing and impaired vision
  • Uncharacteristic behavior.


If you have any reason to suspect that your dog has a tumor, you have to take it to a vet before it’s too late.

Depending on the size and location of the growth, a vet might be able to save your furry best friend.


Ways to Handle Pacing

There are some changes that you can make to better with your dog’s unusual behavior.

As I mentioned earlier, I (thankfully) managed to narrow down my dog’s strange behavior to low-quality food.

Since a dietary change is the easiest to make, I suggest you start there. Go to the pet store, take a good look at the ingredients, and try to find the healthiest option for your pooch.

Also, if he’s not getting enough exercise, make your walks longer and more fun. Bring some toys with you, or take your pooch with you on a jog.

When you add up all of these changes, they really do make a difference.

What’s more, if you’ve noticed that your dog paces most often before bedtime, it might be time to invest in a new bed.

It probably doesn’t like his current one or finds it uncomfortable.

Of course, I do want to mention that sometimes, none of these changes will actually make a difference.

That’s when it’s time to take your dog to the vet and see what’s really going on. Talk to a professional and try to figure out what’s causing this behavior.


Final Thoughts

When I noticed that my dog is pacing and acting weird, I was a nervous wreck, and I’m sure you feel the same way.

But I do want to say that you shouldn’t jump the gun and immediately think the worst. Start by implementing some of the changes I’ve talked about to see if they help

Of course, if the pacing still continues, call your vet and schedule an appointment right away.

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