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When Your Dog’s Behavior Suddenly Changes

Whenever your dog’s behavior changes, it is always a sign to be vigilant. While some changes in behavior are natural stress reactions to significant but ultimately benign life events like moving or new additions to the family, other changes can imply that something is very wrong. Here we will discuss some of the most common examples of changes to the average dog’s behavior, questions to ask concerning the change, and how to proceed.

If Your Dog Has Stopped Eating or Drinking

greater swiss mountain dog outside hiking grass smile tongueThe only potentially benign causes for a dog to drink less than her normal water intake are changes in temperature and changes in diet. If it was previously hot outside and temperatures suddenly become comfortably cool, she may require less water to stay hydrated. If you have switched her food from a dry food to wet or raw food, she will also require less water overall because of the higher water content in raw and moist foods.

Bear in mind that consuming less water is different than consuming no water. Consuming no water at all is almost always a sign of a dire medical issue. The dog should be taken to an emergency vet immediately because the chances of permanent physical damage or death due to dehydration can happen quickly. Intestinal blockages, urinary or kidney issues, stroke, and inability to swallow are just a few of the serious potential causes for sudden inability to hydrate.

A dog that has stopped eating should also be closely monitored. A dog that misses a meal for up to 2 days may simply not be hungry and is self regulating by fasting. A dog who consistently picks at his food may be telling you that the particular type of food you are feeding him is making him allergic or otherwise sick. Try switching his food or feeding him something safe but irresistible to him such as bacon to determine whether it’s only certain foods your dog is rejecting. A dog who refuses to eat for 2 days or more should visit the veterinarian. A dog who is refusing to eat and drink in combination with other irregular behavior that signifies discomfort such as whining, pacing or restlessness should be taken to the vet immediately as the combination of these behaviors could imply an intestinal blockage or other serious condition.

If Your Dog is Acting Lethargic

DSCN0987Kylie,asleepLethargy beyond the relaxed state of a recently-exercised dog is almost always a sign of illness. If the dog is lethargic but is eating and drinking, monitor him for 24 hours to see if his behavior returns to normal. Sometimes, isolated lethargy is simply the result of a minor routine upset and will eventually pass. However, other possible causes for lethargy are environmental toxicity from inhalation of chemical fumes or mold, ingestion of something poisonous and a myriad of other serious illnesses. Prolonged lethargic behavior combined with refusing to eat or drink is almost always a sign of illness.

For your best plan of action, consider visiting an emergency vet to quickly diagnose and treat the issue. Schedule an appointment with a holistic vet to offer options for safely and naturally managing your animal companion’s illness. The most balanced medical treatment possible for humans and animals is in good nutrition and a balance of eastern and western medicine.

Colleyville Animal Clinic has been servicing the Southlake TX, community for several years with dedication to animals. Regardless of age, breed, or ailment, our vets offer general health care and monitoring, as well as personalized service for clients and their pets.

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4 Responses to When Your Dog’s Behavior Suddenly Changes

  1. Martin G says:

    My dog has recently began to be much more aggressive, even growling at children, something he’s never done before. He’s going on 3 years old and he’s not neutered; I’m thinking this may be his issue. Any thoughts?

    • Stacy says:

      While neutering could play a role, it sounds like it is also a behavioral issue. I would recommend looking into a local trainer who can help address your dog’s specific issues and help you to correct them!

  2. julie says:

    my 6yr old min pin has become verylazy and over weight by about 7 pounds. I have never meet a dog that doesnt like to walk!!! This is not a sudden thing this has been over 2 or more yrs. Min pins r suppose to be so energetic but not mine. he has has blood work and the vet is aware but unconcerned. She claims he fit as a fiddle. any advise?

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