Wouldn’t life be easier if dogs could communicate their discomfort like humans? We could simply ask them what's wrong or take them to the doctor when they're feeling unwell.
Unfortunately, our furry friends can't express themselves with words, which leaves us to decipher their behavior and body language. Sometimes, dogs exhibit peculiar behaviors that leave us wondering if something is amiss. If you've noticed your dog acting strange lately, it's essential to pay attention and determine whether there might be an underlying issue.
In this article, we will explore ten signs that indicate your dog is acting weird and provide guidance on what steps you can take next to ensure your pet's well-being. By understanding your dog's unusual behavior and knowing how to respond, you can help keep them happy and healthy.
10 Signs of Weird Behavior in Dogs
Your dog’s strange behavior is not always due to something negative. It could be due to happiness or an inflow of positive energy. We’ll cover some common signs of weird behavior in dogs that could either be nothing to worry about or might indicate an underlying issue.
Remember, while these signs may not always indicate a severe problem, it's essential to observe your dog closely and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns. Here are ten signs to watch out for:
1. A random burst of energy
Dogs express love in different ways. They may suddenly dash around the house or yard, covering several laps. While this behavior may come off as sudden, and odd, it is often referred to as a "zoomies" or a burst of energy. These zoomies are typically harmless and can be a natural way for dogs to release pent-up energy or express joy and happiness. They may run in circles, jump, playfully nip at their toys, or engage in other playful antics during these episodes.
What to do if your dog is acting this way
While basking in the euphoria, you should be aware of a couple of things. Pay close attention to your dog to prevent injuries while running. Also, guard your knees against any unlikely bump.
It is best to go to safer areas with fewer people to prevent injury to them or other dogs. Stay alert and cautious until the "victory lap" is complete.
2. Spinning in circles
This could be another sign of happiness. However, frequent spinning in circles could also indicate a health problem. An inner ear infection, a brain lesion, or a seizure could cause this weird behavior.
You can also describe this odd behavior as chasing tails. Most dogs might do it as a bedtime routine. In that case, they signal other dogs that the bed or space belongs to them.
What to do if your dog spins compulsively
You should visit the emergency vet if you notice compulsive spinning. There is always a health problem at the end of the rope. The vet will help you determine if the odd behavior is part of genetics or confirm your suspicions of illness.
Whichever is the case, never dismiss this behavior as happiness unless you are convinced. Visit your vet if you find it too frequent.
3. Panting, yawning, and less eye contact
A break in a dog's routine or environmental factors like thunderstorms could trigger anxiety and stress.
Anxiety can affect your dog in several ways, including panting, yawning, and lip licking. You must pay close attention to notice these changes, as they could be subtle if you are too busy. If your dog’s eyes cannot keep a gaze on you, it is time to review your routine.
What to do
Pet owners can solve this problem by reverting to their dog’s routine. However, this may not be possible if your new job comes with new working hours or if you change residence. Spend more time and help him get used to the changes.
Ensure you maintain the food quality, including multivitamins, during this period. Your dog shouldn’t take long to adjust to the new routine or environmental factors.
4. Eating poop
This is one of those acting weird scenarios that are often alarming and disgusting at first glance. The odd behavior could be a survival instinct or a medical condition. Malabsorption diseases are also common causes of the dog’s strange behavior.
What to do
First, approach the matter with calmness. Take the dog to a vet to ascertain if there is a malabsorption disease. If there isn’t, then you need a different approach.
Many dogs could exhibit these behavioral changes if there is heavy-handed treatment after a housetraining incident. They associate their poop with angry reactions. Hence, they attempt to eliminate the evidence by eating it.
Another cause could be a dirty environment. Keep your dog’s surroundings clean to avoid any temptation to eat poop.
5. Snapping or growling
Most dogs have a calmer response to illness. However, some might snap, growl, or become aggressive. Injury is also another common cause of snapping or growling.
The weird behavior is due to their discomfort from the pain. It is often challenging to tell the real cause of this attitude from a distance.
What to do
First, you should have a dog first aid kit to deal with any injury on sight. That will spare you the hassle of figuring out why they behave that way much later.
Nonetheless, visiting the vet will do you much good. The vet will diagnose to know if there is an underlying illness or physical harm.
6. Sudden lethargy
Your energetic dog today could wake up tomorrow with little to no energy. You may witness more sleep or a loss of appetite. This condition could have several causes, including food poisoning, sickness, or food allergies.
Although they may generally remain calm during this situation, some could become grumpy. They may refuse food and leave the water bowl untouched.
What to do
The best approach would be to book a vet appointment. Do not attempt to diagnose your dog yourself if you are not an expert. Moreover, there is no verbal way for the dog to communicate the pain or illness to you.
Meanwhile, provide adequate care and show extra affection. Some dogs may want to lie on your laps during their ailing period. Pay attention and respond appropriately.
7. Butt sniffing other dogs
It is easy to consider this behavior as acting weird. However, there is an evolutionary and biological reason for it. Dogs can tell a lot about another dog by sniffing their butts.
Remember that their sense of smell is ten times stronger than that of humans. They can sense fear, happiness, sadness, and stress and even distinguish between males and females. Hence, sniffing is a powerful way to know whether a new dog is a threat.
It is a survival instinct and one way to keep the dog owner safe. There is no need to be alarmed.
What to do
Remain calm and let your dog sniff around. There is no cause for concern or the need to contact your vet. The behavior is perfectly normal.
8. Eating grass
Walking out to the field and finding your dog eating grass will be shocking. What happened to the food you had back home? This can be hereditary behavior, although it still equates to acting weird.
The ancestors could have eaten grass as a cathartic to remove parasites and foreign bodies. Also, grass is a good forage with a high fiber content.
Another cause could be a nutritional deficiency. However, it is less likely to be so, considering the high-quality nutrients in modern dog food.
What to do
Do not encourage this behavior in any form. Use available means to dissuade your dog from eating grass. It is weird and capable of leaving a grass mat in the stomach.
You know you are in for surgery if the latter happens. Get an emergency vet if your dog has overeaten grass.
This one is tricky to tell if your dog is acting strange in this manner. Most dogs hump due to a sudden surge in hormones. That could be due to pregnancy or the dog becoming sexually mature.
Humping can also signify dominance, overstimulation, or stress. You can relax if a stuffed animal or pillow is the object of affection. Nevertheless, humping can be a sign of a medical problem.
Other causes could be irritation, infection, or back pain.
What to do
It is easy to look away when your dog humps. However, get a veterinarian if the behavior becomes too frequent. It could be a sign of an infection.
10. Barking for no reason and occasional loss of direction
Like humans, dogs grow old and experience mental decline. You will notice more sleeping hours, barking for no reason, getting lost in the house, or staring into space. These are signs of aging in your dog and nothing to fear.
On the other end, they could signify dementia or loss of cognition. These are common with older dogs.
What to do
The only available option is to visit the vet doctor. This is a medical condition, although you might consider it as acting weird, like getting lost.
Understanding and recognizing weird behavior in dogs is crucial for their well-being. By paying attention to signs such as changes in appetite, activity levels, bathroom habits, and unusual behaviors, we can identify potential health issues or discomfort.
It is important to consult with a veterinarian if any concerns arise. Remember, being attuned to your dog's behavior and taking appropriate action ensures that they receive the care and attention they need to live happy and healthy lives. By being proactive and responsive, we can strengthen the bond with our furry companions and provide them with the best possible care.