When you live with your dog and see them all the time, it can be a little alarming to see that your pet has suddenly started acting weirdly. You may be concerned that they are sick and you may be wondering what you should do about it.
Sudden changes in a dog’s behavior can sometimes be a warning sign that they are sick, but it could also be a sign that they aren’t used to something going on around them. With that being said, different kinds of ‘weird’ behaviors are exhibited by dogs for a few different reasons. Here are some key signs to look out for and reasons why they may be occurring.
Have you been away from your dog a lot more often lately? Perhaps you’ve gone back to work after an extended vacation at home, for example. You will usually notice a behavioral change when you are leaving if this is the case.
To remedy this issue, you should ideally be trying to leave your dog alone for shorter periods of time. If it is not possible for you to stay at home with your dog, then one solution could be to hire the services of a dog sitter while you are in the office. If your dog continues to struggle with separation anxiety even after shorter periods alone, it’s always worth taking your dog to a behaviorist or a vet as it could be a sign of a deeper anxiety issue.
It’s important that a dog gets out and exercises on a regular basis to keep them healthy and entertained. If they don’t get as much exercise then they may behave strangely. Your dog may notice the lack of exercise and could be acting strangely as a result. This is fairly simple to solve – get back to taking your dog out for some exercise again! Alternatively, boredom can also be solved by not having enough to do in general, so you could try and buy them a few new toys that they can have fun with, either with or without your input.
Fear is a pretty common reason for weird behavior in dogs. It could be that something new has come up that’s been frightening your dog. If your dog acts strangely at certain times like when they hear sirens or construction works, or during a fireworks display outside, then fear is the most likely cause of your dog’s strange behavior. If this is the case, you should try to get rid of the thing that’s scaring your dog if you are able to do so. You could also try desensitization training which will help your dog to respond better to these kinds of situations in the future.
If you only recently introduced your dog to your family, or if you have moved home, then your dog may be acting strange because they aren’t sure about their new surroundings. If this appears to be the case with your dog, this is something that’s likely to improve after a couple of weeks or months. In the meantime, make sure that you’re giving your dog plenty of love and positive attention, by training them, keeping them well exercised, and play with them. If you find that the behavior still isn’t changing after a few months then you should enlist the help of a vet or a behaviorist.
Depression and Stress
Weird behavior can also be a result of stress or depression. This is more likely to be the case if your dog’s strange behavior started after an event that may have upset your dog. An example of this is another pet dying or an owner passing away. Another pet being added to the family can also cause stress and depression as can moving homes.
This is something that could change after a number of weeks or days. In the meantime though, you should make sure that you give your dog plenty of love and attention by playing with them, exercising them, and training them. If things don’t change you should try to enlist the help of a dog behaviorist or a vet.
Sometimes dogs can be quite naughty! If your dog did misbehave quite recently, then the reason your dog may be acting strange is that it is submissive to you. If your dog has been avoiding you or has been showing other examples of submissive behavior such as sulking and urinating indoors when near you, then this is likely to be the case. Your dog will calm down after a while.
Dogs are very often creatures of habit, so they like to have a daily routine. If your dog’s routine gets disrupted they may start acting strangely. You will be able to tell if this is the case if your dog has only started acting strangely since its daily routine started changing. Changes could be as small as waking up at a different time or being fed at a different time, or it could be as big as you needing to leave the dog alone for a little longer than usual on a regular basis.
This is of course one of those worst-case scenarios, but dogs can sometimes act weird because someone has mistreated them. If the behavior has come on very suddenly or if your dog has been avoiding certain people then you will know that mistreatment is likely the cause. If this is the case, then you should try to make sure that your dog isn’t put in a situation where it may end up being mistreated, and make sure that you give your dog plenty of TLC. it the dog doesn’t begin to behave more like normal after a certain period of time, then it may be time to enlist the help of a behaviorist.
Signs of Physical Concerns
Temperament changes can occur for a number of reasons. Usually, it happens as a dog ages. It’s only natural that a dog will become a bit slower and perhaps won’t run around as much, in much the same way as people. With that being said, you should always monitor your dog so you can recognize whether changes are gradual or they have come on suddenly. Sometimes changes in temperament can be because your dog is struggling with an illness or a physical ailment.
It’s important to check how your dog chews their food. If you see that your dog is chewing their food strangely or they are only chewing on one side of their mouths, a potential reason could be because they are having issues with their teeth. It could even be a sign of oral disease. If this does happen then you may find that they start to drool a lot more than usual.
Urinating and Defecating in the House
Perhaps one of the most noticeable signs of physical changes is when your dog has started relieving themselves in the house again, especially if your dog is usually quite clean and doesn’t usually have a problem with knowing where they need to go to the bathroom.
Potential reasons for this could include bowel or urinary tract infections, or hormonal imbalances. It could also be the sign of a deeper issue in your dog’s muscles. If you do find that your dog has started constantly messing in the house, then it’s vital that you take them to a vet to be assessed. Your dog will need to get some treatment as soon as possible.
Changes in Physical Response
Has your usually cuddly dog started wincing when you pet them in certain areas, such as their ears? It could be a sign that they are having some issues in that part of their body. For example, if you pet your dog’s ears and they respond negatively to you, it may be a sign that they are starting to get an ear infection which will need to be examined by a vet. If you notice your dog is responding differently to your touch, it is always a good idea to consult with a vet for peace of mind.
Drinking More Frequently
It’s always good for your dogs to stay hydrated, but if you notice that they have been drinking more water than usual lately then it may be a cause for concern. Likely reasons for drinking more, aside from heat and dehydration, include suffering from kidney disease or infection. They may also be struggling with hormonal or digestive issues. Dogs can also drink more often when they are stressed emotionally.
Seizures are sometimes a little difficult to recognize in dogs. Seizures can start in the brain, but they can also be caused by other things such as diseases in different parts of their bodies. Dogs that are struggling with diabetes can sometimes experience seizures due to low or high blood sugar. When a dog is in a seizure, they can sometimes do things that aren’t in character for them, such as leg jerking, staring blankly, jaw snapping, and more.
In addition to this, a dog may begin to act a little more aggressive than usual when they’ve experienced a seizure so if this has occurred then you will need to be cautious when approaching your dog. If you think your pet has experienced a seizure you should take them to the vet as soon as possible so that your vet can suggest the best type of treatment for your dog.
What Should I Do When My Dog Has Started Acting Weird?
As you can see, there are a lot of different reasons why a dog may begin to act weirdly. Not everything is a cause for concern but sometimes it can be difficult to get to the root of the issue on your own. In this situation, here are a few things you should do when your dog starts to act weird.
Enlist Some Help
If your dog appears to be injured or ill in any way, or if they have been acting strangely for a long time, then you should try to take your dog to someone that knows how to deal with dogs, such as a vet or a behaviorist. Professionals will be able to understand why your dog has been acting in a certain way and will be able to help you to solve the problem.
Don’t Encourage Poor Behavior
Sometimes dogs can act weird because someone else has trained them to behave in a certain way. By encouraging the dog to behave in a certain way they will likely continue to behave that way. If your dog’s weird behavior is one that’s been taught, it may be best to practice some positive reinforcement to make sure that your dog behaves in the way that you want it to. Reward your dog for good behaviors, and don’t reward bad behaviors.
Give Your Dog the Right Diet
Just as diet and exercise can influence how people behave, it can also impact your dog’s behavior. Make sure that your dog has been eating the right kinds of things for them and ensure that they have been eating the right amounts. Also, make sure that they haven’t been eating anything that they shouldn’t have been eating.
It can be quite distressing for a pet owner when their beloved dog has started behaving strangely, whether it’s out of the blue or whether it’s something that’s been happening for a while. It can be quite disconcerting to see your dog hasn’t been acting like himself. Above are just a few of the potential reasons why a dog may start to act weird, but it should be noted that every dog is different and will have its own reasons for acting in the way that it does. If you notice any strange behaviors from your dog and you aren’t sure why, or if it’s something that hasn’t improved over time, then you should certainly speak to a vet or a behaviorist to get to the root of the problem.