Every dog owner knows how stressful it can be when your fur baby starts acting weird. Is Buddy limping because he hurt his paw or is he just an attention seeking ball of fluff? Is it okay that Tiffany just ate an entire bag of chocolates? Your dog’s health is important and sometimes our four-legged friends can be something of an enigma. Here we will share with you the top 20 weird and strange health and behavioral issues of dogs so you can better understand your furry friend.
1) Pica: Eating non-food items, such as rocks, plastic, or clothing.
Pica involves the compulsive consumption of any and all non-edible items. You might come home to your dog with the trash can spilled over or find them in the backyard with the neighbor kids nerf dart in their mouth. This presents a major choking hazard as well as digestive issues.
2) Coprophagia: Consuming feces, either their own or those of other animals.
Coprophagia is when a dog resorts to eating feces to mend some kind of impulse or discomfort. You might find your furry friend eating their own poop or getting into the cat’s litter box. This can be caused by a number of medical or behavioral issues such as being underfed, intestinal parasites, endocrine pancreatic insufficiency, abuse, etc.
3) Reverse sneezing: A respiratory event where the dog makes repeated, rapid inhalations through the nose.
Reverse sneezing is nothing to be majorly concerned about unless it is a relentless issue. Reverse sneezing is caused by nasal irritation and/or allergens roaming in the air around your dog. Your dog may have particularly bad allergy to pollen, in which case you may want to see a veterinarian.
4) Head pressing: Pressing the head against a wall or other solid surfaces, which can indicate neurological issues.
Head pressing is something to watch out for because it can indicate major neurological dysfunction in a dog. If this is a repeated behavior you are noticing in your dog you must take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible because it is a symptom of a larger underlying condition.
5) Splooting: Lying down with hind legs extended out to the sides.
Watching your dog extend its hind legs flat on the ground can be somewhat anatomically jarring to a human, but we’re here to ease that discomfort and let you know that your fur baby is merely getting their stretch on. Splooting causes no real harm and is largely enjoyable for dogs.
6) Air licking: Licking the air, which can indicate dental or gastrointestinal issues.
A dog air licking can be the result of an anxious compulsivity, stomach problems, teeth and gum pain, or because they got a foreign object in their mouth.
7) Tail chasing: Obsessively chasing their tail, sometimes indicating anxiety, boredom, or health issues.
A dog will chase its tail most often because it is bored and looking for stimulus. If it doesn’t seem like your dog wants to play and they continue tail chasing you should check the surrounding area for an irritant or itch and head to the vet.
8) Zoomies: Sudden bursts of energy and running around, usually a normal behavior but can indicate pent-up energy.
Zoomies are nothing to be concerned about as your dog is just burning off a burst of energy. Be a responsible owner and have the due diligence to watch that your dog doesn’t get so trip and/or overexert themselves.
9) Lick granulomas: Excessive licking of one spot, causing a sore or lesion.
Lick granulomas, also known as aural lick dermatitis, is a cycle of inflammation or infection caused by a dog obsessively licking and gnawing at its own skin/fur. This puppy self-harm is both a psychological and physical issue and is presumed to be the culmination of joint paint, allergies, or just having an itch that they can’t not scratch.
10) Cyclic vomiting syndrome: Frequent episodes of vomiting without an apparent cause.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a cause for concern. You don’t like vomiting and neither does your dog. If your dog is repeatedly vomiting up yellow stomach bile or froth your should reevaluate their feeding schedule and see a veterinarian.
11) Excessive drooling: May indicate dental issues, anxiety, or other health problems.
What defines excessive drooling is breed-specific, but if you notice your dog drooling more than they typically do for seemingly no external reasons (like a loud environment or new stimuli) then you should check their mouth for teeth and gum odors.
12) Shadow or light chasing: Obsessively chasing shadows or light reflections, can be a sign of anxiety or neurological issues.
Shadow or light chasing in a dog can be a cause for real concern. Unlike cats, dogs brains are not capable to chasing a laser or beam of light just for fun. A dog with anxiety or neurological issues may have a hard time with object permanence and get upset. If you notice your dog aimlessly chasing after light or shadows, take them to a professional.
13) Trancing: Slowly walking under objects like curtains, plants, or furniture, seemingly in a trance.
Trancing is nothing to be concerned about although it may look incredibly strange. Your dog is likely just excited and confused by a new environment or object and is getting familiar with it by gingerly navigating the space.
14) Scooting: Dragging the rear end along the ground, potentially due to anal gland issues or irritation.
Scooting typically means you need to get up close and personal with your fur baby’s anus. They are irritated and scooting is their best method of remedying that. Time to step up as a parent and clean and squeeze out that anal gland!
15) Whining or crying while eating: Can indicate dental pain or other oral issues.
Whining or crying while eating is an issue that you must act on as soon as you notice it. If your dog cannot eat without being in pain their health will deteriorate quickly. A dog will cry while eating because of teeth and gum issues or tonsillitis. Get to a vet immediately.
16) Sudden onset of aggression: Unexplained aggression could be due to pain, fear, or neurological issues.
If your typically well mannered and otherwise healthy dog is showing a sudden onset of aggression it is your responsibility as their owner and caretaker to make a behavioral plan.
17) Excessive panting: May indicate pain, anxiety, overheating, or respiratory issues.
Excessive panting in dogs is a regulation system a dog will use in times of distress. Of your dog is dehydrated or overheated do your best to cool them off and get them to drink some water.
18) Trembling or shaking: Can be a sign of fear, anxiety, pain, or certain health conditions.
If your pupper is trembling the best thing you can do for them is comfort them. If the shaking and trembling is not a conditional reaction to its environment, consider a visit to the vet to make sure its not the result of an underlying condition.
19) Compulsive digging: Obsessive digging in the yard or at home, potentially a sign of boredom or anxiety.
Compulsive digging is not a health concern but rather an instinctual desire that your dog feels it must abide by. Although it might be somewhat annoying, you can try to to divert your dogs attention to a different activating or form of play.
20) Fainting or collapsing: Sudden loss of consciousness or muscle control, which can indicate a variety of medical issues.
A dog fainting or collapsing is a medical emergency and a trip to the veterinarian is a must. A dog will collapse due to cardiac or neurological issues.