Sudden changes in dog behavior can cause owners to become worried. Is their dog sick? Upset? Have a personality disorder?
These are all possible causes of changes in dog behavior, but not necessarily the right ones. Take a look at the symptoms and do a quick step by step elimination of possible causes.
1. Note what has changed in your dog.
Some common changes include loss of energy or playfulness, apparent sadness, loss of or reduced appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, whimpering, crying and aggressiveness. Dogs that are in pain can be a threat by trying to bite family members. This is normal behavior when pain exists and should stop once the pain has been eliminated.
If any of these symptoms last for more than a few days, see your vet. If the vomiting and diarrhea are severe and alarming don’t wait. Take your dog to the vet immediately as dehydration can threaten your dog’s life.
Don’t forget. While your dog is in distress, he is losing vital fluids and nutrition. Until the vet can correct the problem, these conditions will continue, so in deciding when to see the vet, take this diagnosis and recovery time into consideration.
In many cases, the changes are temporary and your dog will recover in a day or two.
2. Are there changes in the household?
Adding members including babies and other pets, can cause sudden changes in your dog’s behavior. Has someone moved out, gone into hospital or died? Our dogs are affected by this change in family dynamics, especially if that person is someone the dog was close to. Dogs grieve too.
If you have moved or changed schedules, this will affect your dog. Generally, it can take your dog a few days to adapt to a new home or a new routine.
3. Is there stress in the household?
Dogs sense when things are not running smoothly and will respond by changing their behavior. Some dogs will have accidents in the house because they feel nervous. Others will start chewing things they shouldn’t. They might become quiet or isolate themselves from the family because they feel insecure in this type of environment.
4. Check your smoke and carbon dioxide alarms
Dogs are highly sensitive to unusual odors and sounds. If the batteries in your detectors are low, your dog might hear a beep that is inaudible to humans, especially if the detector is on another level of the house. If there is a strange odor some dogs will have a sudden change in behavior. Even if your alarms are working, it doesn’t hurt to go through your house to make sure nothing is amiss.
Pay attention to sudden changes in your dog’s behavior. It could be something minor, but your dog could be sending you a warning.