Canine pets are generally well-behaved and responsive to their owners. Everything about having them around seems ordinary and expected, but what if your dog starts acting odd? As much as we'd like to understand what is happening with our fur buddies, we are only left to wonder, "why is my dog acting weird?"
Our furry companions do not have any ability to communicate with owners. They may bark as if trying to explain why they act out of character, but we still won't understand them. We've searched for dog experts' tips to analyze these weird dog behaviors your dog might be showing. While some of the reasons are hilarious, some should spur you to take action. Let's take a look at the potential reasons for your dog's weird behavior, the signs to look for in case of emergencies, solutions, and how you can prevent it from happening again.
Reasons Why Your Dog is Acting Weird
There are various reasons why your dog's behavior has changed. They could be hiding, barking, or feeling ill. Here are some reasons for your pet's strange behavior.
You Took Your Pet to the Vet
Like people, dogs seem to get stressed when they see people or visit places they don't like. A study revealed that about 10 to 75 percent of dogs become stressed after visiting the vet. So if you recently came in from a check-up, it could be the reason why your dog is acting a bit odd. When you get back home, your dog shows some weird behavior because it is where they feel comfortable once again.
They ate something wrong or acting strange
Dogs are curious, and some are extra wild than others. Although they are trained to stop chomping stuff that could be bad for them, their curiosity can still get them in trouble—picking out food dropped by humans on the street, pizza crusts, chocolates, or canine toxic foods like onions and garlic.
A dog experiencing stomach aches may act strangely because of the pain. They may show signs like guarding their abdomen, drooling, grass-eating, protective of their belly, less active, licking on various surfaces, and lip-smacking, burping, and gas. You may need to take your dog to the vet for a check-up if they show any of these signs. Once treated, your furry companion should be back to their usual self.
If your dog seems to be acting weird and you notice that its stomach appears to be bigger than average, it could be due to overeating. It may also be caused by something more serious such as constipation and gas bloating. Bloating is often caused by a health condition, and you will see your dog displaying other signs such as vomiting, lethargy, and blueish, yellowish, or whitish gums.
A dog who feels a bit under the weather and might have a common cold may also act weird around their owners. Notice if they are shivering or trembling, lethargic, and have a dry nose. A healthy dog has a wet nose; thus, seeing your dog's dry nose may indicate a fever or some illness.
Allergies are also common in dogs as they are in humans. Dogs suffering from allergy symptoms may act all weird to their owners. They might not be comfortable with runny eyes, itchy skin, and other conditions. Several factors may cause allergies to your pet. Check with your vet if your dog has any allergic reactions to common allergens such as shampoo ingredients, detergents, pollen, food, or dust mites.
Having an injury is also one reason why your dog is acting strange. It could be an injury to the eyes, skin, tail, spine, limb, oral, toenail, joint, and others. Your pet could be hurt due to a dog fight, a genetic disposition, or it could be due to mistreatment from another person. Check for any signs of injury if your dog seems to be acting strange all of a sudden.
Change of Environment
Dogs love routines and consistencies. If there are any changes or interruptions in their routine, it can easily upset them. It is the same for home environments, is there a new person visiting your home? Have you started a new relationship with someone? Dogs are extra sensitive than you would expect. Introducing a new person in the household can also make them insecure, jealous, or depressed.
Stress in canines may be manifested in ways owners find weird. They can act out of character and start barking, pacing, whining, shaking, panting, or hiding. They may also try to avoid you or try to escape. Some dog breeds also shed more when they are stressed. Look out for combinations of these signs and ask your vet how you can help your pet handle stress and return to their usual self.
Separation anxiety could be another reason for your pet's unusual behavior. If they experience anxiety while you are away, your pet can start tearing down objects or show some destructive behavior around the house. Some people may think that their dog might be getting back at them for their absence, but the truth is, your dog might be trying to escape. They are tearing things down to get to you. This is common in many rescue dogs; being left alone makes them feel uneasy.
Falling and sudden strange noises can also startle dogs like it would to humans. Barking and screaming out could mean your dog is scared or disturbed by a fallen object or a sudden sound nearby. An example of this is the sound of firecrackers, sirens, and a crash in the kitchens. Dogs may also develop fear for some objects at home, like the vacuum cleaner or the blender. If they are afraid of it when it's running, they may still be fearful of it even if it's turned off.
Lack of physical and mental stimulation often causes boredom in dogs as it does to humans. If your pets are bored, they are likely to search for something to do with their time. It may surprise you to see your pets doing unusual things to sate their curiosity for lack of exciting things to do. Thus, try to incorporate as much exercise as you can for your pet each day. Have at least an hour for active exercise to stimulate them physically and mentally.
A huge part of how a dog feels is based on their general diet. If your pet's food is not suitable for them, they may lack essential nutrients. A wrong diet could be one of the causes of your pet's weird behavior if it started when you recently changed your pet's food. Talk to your vet about your pet's weird activities and the recent change in its food.
Affection and Positive Reinforcement
You could also be the reason why your pet is acting weird. If it does something funny and you "reward" it with laughter, petting, and cuddling, they may feel good about it. Your pet will try to do funny and weird things to elicit a healthy reaction from you. Keep in mind that dogs are smart, and they will take advantage of opportunities when presented to them. So, when your pet does something weird, make sure that you are not rewarding them with treats, attention, or affection.
Have you recently left your dog with a sitter or at home? Is there a possibility that someone hurt or mistreated your pet? If your pet seems to be acting weird, scared, or avoiding a particular person, reassure your pet in a mild tone. Monitor their behavior and apply positive reinforcement. If they continue to act weird even in your presence, consult a canine behaviorist.
Dogs may also act weird if they show submission to their owner, whom they think is angry. It may show submissive urination or avoid owners. You may feel weird, but these are just some of the ways dogs offer their submission to you.
Senior dogs are more sensitive and fragile than younger ones. They quickly catch colds, and some may experience arthritis, which makes simple movements painful. When they reach old age, dogs' movements, sight, and smell can become limited, making them more anxious or disoriented. Thus, don't be too harsh or get mad if your senior dog starts forgetting rules or starts acting weird due to old age.
Signs to Look Out For When Your Dog Is Acting Weird
Weirdness and acting out of the ordinary is subjective to every dog owner. Sometimes, what is weird for one fur parent is just a usual scenario for another. So how do you know if your pet's weirdness calls for medical attention? Here are some of the signs to monitor.
- Vomiting - puppies are curious, and they eat anything on the ground. They would poop or vomit if they eat something wrong. Vomiting is a cause for concern if an adult dog vomits several times a day and is not eating or drinking. If there is blood in the vomit, it may also mean something wrong in its intestines. Take your dog to the vet if this happens.
- Diarrhea - diarrhea often goes away fast in canines. It can be due to something they have eaten, or there is a change in food. But if it happens suddenly and other alarming signs of poisoning accompany it, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
- Reluctance to Eat - if your dog does express eating in the last 24 hours they might have some health problem. If their reluctance to eat is accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, and loss of appetite, have it checked by a vet.
- Refusing Water - refusing water can lead to dehydration; thus, this sign is a cause for concern. Check for signs of dehydration such as sticky and dry gums and less elastic skin.
- Coughing - a coughing dog is not only weird, but it is also unpleasant and scary-sounding at times. Coughing or kennel cough may mean that your dog has an underlying health condition connected with its heart or respiratory system. Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible for the appropriate treatment.
- Signs of Allergy - some examples are runny eyes, excessive licking, and scratching. If your dog is showing serious signs of allergies such as difficulty breathing and swelling, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Grumpiness - if your normally cuddly dog becomes snappy and grumpy, it may indicate that they feel pain and discomfort. Some common conditions include itchy skin condition, ear infection, kidney disease, diabetes and other health issues.
- Seizures - these can be a bit tricky to notice because you might not be around when it happens. Some signs that your pet has experienced seizure include jerking legs, a blank stare, jaw snapping, twitching eye, rolling tongue. These may cause them to act weird, but it can indicate epilepsy or diabetes in canines.
What Should You Do About Your Dog's Weird Behaviors
How you handle your dog's weird behavior should be based on the signs you see what you consider to be weird for them. Here are some of the things you can do.
- Take them to Veterinarian - If there are signs of injury or illness like shaking, coughing, signs of allergy, or vomiting, it is best to take them to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Get Help from A Dog Behaviorist - if there are no medical conditions or reasons why your dog is acting strange, your next option is to take them to a dog behaviorist. They can help you identify the cause for their behavior and help you stop it.
- Don't Encourage the Behavior - if your pet's weird behavior roots from the positive response that they get from you, then it's time for you to stop encouraging it. Avoid giving treats or petting them when they act weird and reward them only when they behave the way you want them.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Acting Weird
As pet owners, we are the ones who know precisely what is typical with our dogs. First, look out for behavioral changes and specific signs of illness. Are there signs of avoidance of certain places or people? Is your pet scared? Is there a change in its routine?
If there are no health issues or other alarming reasons, but your pet seems to be acting out of character, it is best to observe them for a day or two. But don't wait out too long to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and potential treatment. Vet clinics have tools and resources to find out if there is an underlying problem with your pet. Early diagnosis will save your pet's life. So if your pet is not acting himself or herself lately, call your vet for help.
On the other hand, if your pet's behavior remains unusual, you may also ask help from an animal behaviorist or trainer to correct its unusual behavior.
Dogs can give life to any home. They are funny, silly, loving, and affectionate creatures that are always ready to please. And dogs love routines; thus, pet owners know exactly when something is not expected with their pets. There are various reasons why your dog is acting strange. It could be due to an illness, a desire to please, or something to do with their behavior. We hope that we can help you uncover the real cause of your pet's weirdness. Keep watch on the signs that indicate signs of illnesses, and consult your veterinarian for immediate canine care.