Why is My Dog’s Behaviour Suddenly Changing?
You’ve been a fur parent all your life. You take pride in knowing everything about your furry friends, no matter how big or small. You read their barks, whines, and tail wags like an open book.
So, when your dog’s behaviour suddenly changes, it’s natural to feel a little concerned. There could be several reasons for your dog’s sudden change in behaviour. It could be something as simple as a change in routine or a new person in the house. Or it could be a sign of something more serious, like an illness or injury.
Some fur parents fail to recognize an issue, while others ignore it, thinking it’ll pass. But that’s the worst thing you could do! Don’t think for a second that it’s normal for Fido’s behaviour to suddenly change.
It’s your job to be concerned, but don’t worry just yet. You can do a few things to figure out why your dog’s behaviour has changed and how to help them through it.
Obviously, the first step is to be in the know when it comes to the possible cause. Let’s start from there and work our way through.
It Could Be Anxiety or Stress
Dogs are more in tune with their environment than we are. So, it’s no surprise that they would be the first to react when something in their routine changes or they’re introduced to something new.
A new pet, a baby or even a move to a new house are all possible trigger factors for anxiety and stress in canines. If you’ve noticed your dog is clingier, withdrawn or even aggressive, it could be their way of coping with the change.
How You Can Help: The best way to help an anxious dog is to reassure them that everything is okay. Reassurance comes in many forms, i.e., a new toy, blanket or piece of clothing that smells like you. If introducing a new pet to the house, give them time to adjust and get used to the new smells.
Reaction to a Health Problem
A sudden behaviour change may signal your dog is not feeling well. If your normally active pup is suddenly lethargic or your cuddly canine is avoiding you, it’s time for a trip to the vet.
Other signs that your dog may be sick include a loss of appetite, weight loss, excessive drinking or urinating and difficulty going to the bathroom. If you notice any of these changes, make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately.
How You Can Help: The only sensible way to help a sick dog is to get them the medical attention they need. Your veterinarian will diagnose and treat whatever is causing your furry buddy discomfort.
A Fear of Abandonment
No other domesticated animal is more social than dogs. It means they crave (and thrive) companionship. The thought of being left alone can be terrifying for them. It’s called separation anxiety and is as serious as it sounds.
That’s why some dogs may start to act out when their companions leave them alone for an extended period. Separation anxiety includes chewing, barking, howling, digging, and destroying household items.
How You Can Help: All you have to do is provide them with a sense of security. It can be in the form of a safe space, i.e., a crate or dog bed. Put their favourite toy or blanket in there to make it extra comfortable. If you have to leave them, do it in short periods, gradually increasing the length as they get used to it.
Pain or Discomfort
Did you know that dogs have the same pain receptors as humans? It’s why they react similarly when they’re in pain. If your dog is suddenly acting out, it could signify that they’re injured or suffering from an illness.
Arthritis, hip dysplasia, and cancer are some conditions that can cause pain in dogs. If you notice your dog is limping, whining or yelping more than usual, take them to the vet immediately.
How You Can Help: Just like humans, the best way to help a dog in pain is to get them medical attention soon. Unless you’re a vet yourself, there’s not much you can do at home.
You cannot help but worry when your furry friend’s behaviour suddenly changes. But, by keeping a level head and knowing the possible causes, you can get to the bottom and help them through it.