Has your dog been acting weird, or unusual lately, noticing nothing triggering this behaviour? Your dog’s behaviour can show its emotional or health condition.
Since dogs can’t talk and explain their sudden behaviour change, it is up to you to figure out why they are acting strange.
Understanding why your dog is acting weird can be helpful to your dog, especially if it is acting due to pain, fear, stress, anxiety, a sudden change in its environment, an underlying health condition, or just plain old boredom.
Reasons your dog might act weird
Paying close attention to your dog and looking for what’s causing your dog to act strange can help you figure out what you need to do.
You can consider various issues when trying to figure out the reason behind your dog’s behaviour and several things you could do about each of these issues.
We’ve taken time to compile a list of reasons you should consider when your dog is acting weird.
Sickness or injury
Your dog might act weird because it has gotten sick or has an injury. Sickness and injuries are very common reasons dogs act weird. Once you notice your dog acting weird, you should first check if it has been injured or is sick.
Your dog being sick or injured could make it seem uninterested in activities it usually enjoys.
Some weird behaviours your dog might exhibit that might be because of sickness or injury include becoming inactive, crying, losing appetite, not picking up toys, sleeping in unusual spots, and excessive scratching. If you suspect or know your dog is sick or injured, visit your vet.
A new environment
If you’ve recently changed your dog’s environment (because of adoption, you’re visiting somewhere new, or you just moved), your dog’s strange behaviour might be because of this, as your dog might be unsure about its new environment. Signs of this are your dog being inactive or hiding.
Spending more time with your dog, either playing, relaxing, exercising, or training, would help get it settled. Your dog would slowly start getting used to its new environment within a period of weeks or months.
If, after a while, your dog is still acting strange because of its new environment, it would be best for you if you contact your vet or get the services of a behaviour therapist.
Stress, anxiety, or depression
Yes! Your dog could get stressed, anxious, or depressed. Something might have caused your dog a lot of stress or made it depressed. If recently you’ve been leaving your dog to itself for a long time, it could get anxious when it notices you’re about to go again.
Another reason your dog might be anxious is if you recently rearranged your house and changed the position of things.
A change in environment, another pet, or someone close to your dog dying, you get a new pet are events that could make your dog get stressed.
Spending more time and giving your dog more attention by playing, exercising, or staying with it would help your dog become less anxious or stressed. If you can figure out what is making your dog stressed and remove it from its environment, it would be really helpful. If this doesn’t work, contact your vet as your dog might need medication.
Your dog might act weird because something is making it fearful. Fireworks, strangers, sirens, or a new pet could get your dog scared. Your dog acting strange because it is scared is usually a temporary behaviour except in cases of it acting this way because a very traumatic event happened.
Hiding, keeping to itself, inappropriate defecation or urination, and aggression are signs that your dog might be scared. It would be best if you could eliminate whatever is making your dog scared or try desensitization training.
In the case your dog is reacting to a very traumatic event, visit your vet, as whatever scared your dog or how severe it was scared might require more than you eliminating it.
Some dogs get bored quickly, especially working breeds that no longer have an avenue to use all their energy. You’re usually supposed to exercise your dog daily.
If your dog hasn’t been getting enough exercise or is tired and restless due to it not having anything to do, it might start acting weirdly. Exercising your dog regularly, trying out pet puzzles, or hiding treats and toys for your dog to find could help prevent boredom.
Your dog might act weird because of its diet. This could be due to it not eating something right, overfeeding or eating too little, or not getting enough nutrients from its meal. If you suspect your dog started acting strange because of a change in its diet or your dog is eating from somewhere else, contact your vet on what is best for you to do.
Other reasons your dog may act weird include: your dog being submissive because you recently shouted at or disciplined it for something it did, or you encouraged the weird behaviour or your dog has been or is being maltreated.
Why is my dog acting strange at night?
Your dog acting weird at night by either being restless, pacing around, or barking a lot might be because of various reasons. If your dog is a puppy or just recently became an adult, it is not out of the normal for it to be restless at night, and it would outgrow this behaviour as it gets older.
If your dog is older, it might act weird at night because of ageing. Ageing often comes with muscle and joint pains that could make it difficult for your dog to sleep at night. Sometimes dogs also experience discomfort and pain because of reasons not related to ageing. In both cases, ensure you take your dog to visit the vet.
Anxiety could also be the reason your dog is acting strange at night. Loud noises like fireworks, thunder, or sirens could make your dog restless.
Why does my dog keep hiding?
Your dog might hide because it has found a really cosy area of the house and wants to take a nap. This isn’t always the case, especially if your dog hides suddenly; your dog might also hide because it is afraid of something.
Your dog might hide because it fears strangers (you would need to socialize your dog), it is sick or injured, and feeling weak (you should check for injuries or other signs your dog might be sick and visit your vet), it has done something wrong and feels scared or sorry.
Other reasons include; it is afraid of thunder, needs some alone time to sleep, or eating something it shouldn’t or doesn’t want to share. You should take special notes and try finding out why your dog hides out of the blue, as it could be a sign of something dangerous.
Why is my dog suddenly paranoid?
Trauma-related anxiety or fear are common reasons your dog might act paranoid, and your dog might have developed a trauma from being mistreated. Your dog could also be paranoid because of anxiety (triggered by medical or environmental causes), or a brain disorder like convulsions and seizures, or because of a phobia for thunder, noise, or something that scares it.
What to do about my dog acting weird
It would be best if you first tried finding out why your dog is acting weird; it could be because of something normal, like it going to sleep in a cosy spot or not wanting to share food.
But it could also be because of something that needs the urgent attention of your vet or requires you to get a behaviour therapist (in cases of socialization issues or it has a hard time fitting into a new environment.
Taking your dog to the vet would help check for medical causes and either treat them or rule them out. You’d also get professional advice from your vet. If the reason your dog is acting weird is not medical-related, your vet might recommend a behaviourist for your dog.
Your dog won’t suddenly change its behavior for no reason. If you’ve noticed your dog has been acting weird, funny suddenly, you should know that something is making your dog act this way. If whatever this is not dealt with, it could be dangerous for the dog.
Also, try thinking back to when your dog started acting strange. Have a look at any of the reasons your dog might act weird and try to figure out if it coincides with any of them. If you can’t figure out why your dog is acting unusual, contact and visit your vet.
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- The Spruce Pets: Why isn’t my pet acting normal Updated 03/09/21