Why Is My Dog Pacing? (5 Stress-Related Problems)

Dogs are excellent partners who show utmost loyalty to their owners. Consequently, dog-owners are highly likely to be extra sensitive about their pets, sometimes even treating them as fellow human beings and noticing slight changes in their actions.

Are you one of those dog owners who love your pet and worrying about “Why Is My Dog Pacing?” then let’s find out!

Why Is My Dog Pacing?

Are you one of those dog owners who love your pet to bits?  If yes, you might also have the same query several dog parents do: Why Is My Dog Pacing?, or why is my dog acting weird and restless? 

If your dog keeps pacing in circles, this writing is for you. Keep reading to clear any ambiguities that you may have regarding the causes, signs and symptoms, treatment, diagnosis, and prevention from this dog circling. 

What Are Pacing And Circling?

Pacing in dogs can be simply defined as a dog walking back and forth from one place to another without apparent reasons

It is common for dogs to circle and pace, especially when indulging in activities involving interaction with humans or other animals. These everyday activities may include urinating, sniffing, investigating, or defecating.

Circling and pacing is also a pretty common consequence of a dog’s compulsive behavior, which may be because of specific underlying causes. A circling dog can also be an indicator of neurological or psychological diseases, canine dementia, or some pain.

It is not illogical to associate a circling and pacing dog with restlessness and anxiety, just like in the case of humans. Pacing in dogs can be simply defined as a dog walking back and forth from one place to another without apparent reasons, such as pacing around the house without any specific destination in mind. 

It is crucial to note that all dog pacing does not point to a medical ailment. Dogs may naturally pace when waiting for their favorite human to come home or anticipating mealtime.

They may also circle or pace with a toy they like immensely and may even while for a short while when doing so. In such cases, you can adequately prevent and treat circling and pacing in your dog by trying to make it comfortable.

Symptoms of Pacing and Circling in Dogs

Why Is My Dog Pacing

The symptoms of circling and pacing are very similar to an anxious human. However, the symptoms of potential canine compulsive behaviors are usually variable, and all dogs do not exhibit the same symptoms.

So how do you recognize dog pacing in your pet? Here are a few things you need to look out for, as your dog is likely to suffer from an underlying condition if it keeps:

  • Circling, even when you provide an alternate activity such as a walk outside or a game
  • Feeling disoriented and confused 
  • Wanders around aimlessly 
  • Shows some changes in sleeping behavior and habits
  • Exhibits changes in gait 
  • Shows signs of appetite changes (both increase and decrease in diet)
  • Indicates other compulsive behaviors like tail chasing, excessive licking, barking, toy fixation, fly snapping, spinning, etc.

Why Does Pacing Occur in Dogs?

Several reasons may cause dogs to pace or circle. Some of these conditions are easily treatable, whereas others may need medical aid.

Some of them are as follows:

  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Stress
  • Liver complications
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Brain tumors

Some other common reasons for pacing may be that your dog are:

  • Bored
  • Is searching for something
  • Wants attention
  • Suffering from vision changes
  • In pain
  • Excited
  • Has detected something
  • Is hungry
  • Is new

What Are Some Common Types Of Dog Pacing and Circling?

A wide array of behaviors can be manifested in pacing and circling activities and include:

  • Systemic disease 
  • External or environmental contributors 
  • Neurological or neoplastic disease

It is crucial to note that although your dog chasing its tail may seem funny and cute at the same, there may be more to that action. Suppose your dog keeps pacing or circling for hours on end.

In that condition, it is quite possible that it is a sign of a more serious underlying problem that needs immediate redress instead of simply an intentional way of getting your attention.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Pacing?

An anxious dog may also need to visit the vet or be administered medicines that allow it to calm down.

If your dog is pacing, it is most likely that it is upset or suffering from an external source of stress. Suppose this action persists for a few hours.

In that case, you need to closely examine your dog for any different signs and try to determine if the underlying reason is a need for attention. This medical ailment is causing them discomfort or pain, or anxiety. 

Dogs that suffer from a medical condition need to be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The treatment procedure varies depending upon the dog’s condition. 

 An anxious dog may also need to visit the vet or be administered medicines that allow it to calm down. A dog owner can also resort to natural remedies, such as reassurance, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, and simple cuddles.

If your pet dog has a history of trauma or past experiences that cause anxiety, all these remedies can work effectively in addition to working with a professional dog trainer. 

Prevention Of Pacing In Dogs

Preventing pacing in dogs is not an easy endeavor, as it is hard to keep a medical condition from occurring.

However, you can somewhat prevent such medical conditions by:

  • Keeping your dog active
  • Devising a suitable and healthy exercise plan that helps maintain their healthy body weight
  • Feeding them quality food
  • Scheduling routine visits to a good vet to endure your dog’s optimal health

Diagnosis of Pacing and Circling in Dogs

A veterinary professional would then conduct

Pacing can be easily diagnosed in restless dogs who keep prancing here and there without a destination in mind. If you are unsure if your pet dog is doing so, ask yourself: does my dog keep walking around and won’t settle? If yes, it is likely that your dog is pacing or circling. 

Such a diagnosis cannot be reached simply with a blood test or other sorts of tests but instead requires a meticulous process of examination and testing.

A veterinarian is likely to ask for your dog’s complete history, including dietary regimen, exercise regimen, housing & living conditions, injuries or prior health conditions, and details of the symptoms you have noticed along the way. 

A veterinary professional would then conduct a thorough physical examination of your dog, likely ordering MRI imaging or CT scans to detect any masses present which may be causing the clinical signs and symptoms.

Once all the test results are announced, a vet evaluates them to chalk out a suitable treatment plan for your canine family member. 

Treatment of Pacing and Circling in Dogs

Diagnosis is the first step to treating pacing and circling for your dog. If it is just high in energy or bored, the treatment is quite simple and entails adding stimulating (both mental and physical) exercise to its daily routine. 

It is common for dogs who spend a majority of their time in a yard or ground to develop the habit of pacing as a means of patrolling and safeguarding the boundary.

If your dog does the same, it is advisable to limit its yard time or reduce its time in the open space on its own, i.e., without its human owners. 

Some other treatments may include the following:

  • If your dog paces and circles because of stress, restlessness, or anxiety, you can get it treated through training classes, as these conditions typically require the assistance of a professional trainer. 
  • Contact a veterinary doctor immediately if your dog suffers from certain medical conditions that prompt pacing and circling. 
  • If your dog is aging and you believe its pacing is its direct consequence, you can give it prescribed supplements that help with anxiety and fulfill nutritional requirements. 

Also Read: Coping with Dog Anxiety on Walks

Recovery of Pacing and Circling in Dogs

The recovery of your canine family member suffering from circling and pacing depends upon the diagnosis made by your veterinary professional.

That is because some causes can take months for treatment, others can continue for the entire life of your pet, and some can be intermittent as the disease progresses or wanes in its development. 

Recovery in other cases with simpler causes can show within days. Showing copious amounts of the three As affirmation, attention, and affection always plays a significant role in the treatment and recovery. 

copious amounts of the three As affirmation, attention, and affection always plays a significant role in the treatment and recovery.

Cost of Pacing (Why Is My Dog Pacing?)

Why Is My Dog Pacing

Your dog’s health holds paramount importance, but it does come cheaply. Dogs that pace and circle due to particular medical conditions may be quite expensive to treat. The expense of different kinds of treatment may be as follows:

Why Is My Dog Pacing? (5 Stress-Related Problems)

Summary – Why Is My Dog Pacing?

Why Is My Dog Pacing? Keeping a close and affectionate eye on your pet dog can allow you to detect when it is pacing and circling playfully and when it is an unintentional sign of an underlying condition.

Whatever the need maybe, you can get your dog treated by taking it to a vet and diagnosing the causes of circling and pacing. Most causes are easily treatable, but others can be quite complex and expensive. 

No matter which case it may be, your dog requires the ultimate affection, attention, and love from you. 

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Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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