When Your Dog's Behavior Suddenly Changes - The Trupanion Blog
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When Your Dog’s Behavior Suddenly Changes

Behavior in a dog can change for many reasons.

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.

Dog Behavior Changes 

If Your Dog Has Stopped Eating or Drinking

The 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.

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.

What happens when your dog's behavior changes?

A dog that has stopped eating should also be closely monitored.  If a dog 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.

Similarly, if the pup is refusing to eat and drink in combination with other irregular behavior that signifies discomfort such as whining, pacing or restlessness they should be taken to the vet immediately. Rather the combination of these behaviors could imply an intestinal blockage or other serious condition.

If Your Dog is Acting Lethargic

Lethargy 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, lethargy is simply the result of a minor routine upset that will 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.

The best plan of action

For your best plan of action, consider visiting an emergency vet to quickly diagnose and treat the issue. Schedule an appointment with a 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 the 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.