Does your dog run in circles? This is what it could mean (2023)

Have you ever wondered why your dog walks in circles? Many dog ​​owners ask the same question. Watching your dog go around in circles can be confusing for a dog owner, as well as troublesome, as it's hard to figure out what the dog's movements mean.

It's important to try to figure out why your dog is having this behavior sooner rather than later. Sometimes a dog walks in circles due to anxiety and stress, or it could be the result of an undiagnosed medical condition. There are several other reasons why a dog may walk in circles that you should be aware of, especially if he does it multiple times a day.

Article Summary

Reasons why dogs walk in circles

Anxiety and Stress

Does your dog run in circles? This is what it could mean (1)

Your dog may be going around in circles due to anxiety and stress. If something is bothering him or he is in a stressful situation, such as the dog is dying or his owner has left him for an extended period of time, then your dog may be expressing anxiety or stress by walking in circles. 🇧🇷

Another anxious situation where your dog may express anxiety is when you leave him, which is a sign of separation anxiety. He may also express anxiety by walking in circles if a person is present causing him stress.

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ear infection

Ear infections are another major sign as to why a dog may walk in circles. An ear infection can have more than one symptom, which can include unpleasant odors originating from the ear, as well as redness, head shaking, and scratching in the ear.

An ear infection should be checked out by a veterinarian if it requires immediate treatment, as the infection can travel further into your pet's ear. This can lead to hearing loss, inner ear infections, and other serious health problems.

One of the best treatments for an ear infection in a dog includes an ear cleaning by a veterinarian, which will help prevent damage to your dog's inner ear. Your vet may also administer a prescription medication, such as an antibiotic.

While an ear infection may be a common cause, your dog could also be suffering from an infection in a different part of the body that could be causing problems or pain with coordination and balance. It is still important that you take your pup to the vet where he can look at your dog and determine what is causing his circling without causing him any harm.

head injuries

A dog that walks in circles could also be suffering from head trauma. In addition to sustaining a head injury, the dog may also act lethargic, however it may appear clearly injured. If you have a dog that walks in circles, has dilated pupils, has no appetite, and acts in pain, he may have suffered a head injury.

For those who suspect that their dog may be going around in circles because they hurt their head or fell off an elevated surface, it's vital that you get your dog to the vet right away. In reality, a concussion is very common in both dogs and cats, and your dog may suffer permanent damage if left untreated. And in some cases, this condition can be fatal.

A dog walking in circles could also show a sign of injury, such as a head injury. It can be difficult to determine when a dog is in pain, as a dog may exhibit certain evolutionary habits typical of dogs that hide when in pain or sick. This behavior goes hand-in-hand with a dog's inability to know when he's in pain, so it's important to look for a tell-tale sign such as:

  • pupil dilation
  • I am excessive
  • panting
  • loss of appetite
  • Moans when certain areas of your body are touched
  • Unusual focusing of your eyes, especially when your eyes focus at a very slow speed or when you look at a target

It's important to take your pup to the vet right away if you notice him walking around and you know of any recent head trauma. Management of a head injury can be more difficult to determine or treat and may involve a series of tests to determine proper diagnosis and treatment.

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canine vestibular disease

Also known as canine Alzheimer's, canine dementia, and canine cognitive dysfunction, thecanine vestibular diseaseIt can include symptoms such as loss of balance, irregular eye movements, disorientation, and walking in circles. If you notice your older dog displaying this circling behavior, he may be suffering from Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

Similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans, this condition can be accompanied by other symptoms and signs including incontinence, sleep disturbances, and abnormal vocalization. When a dog walks in circles in a disoriented manner, it is the result of his confusion.

Even a vet cannot diagnose canine vestibular disease. Although he may do an examination and some blood tests and diagnostics, he will only be able to rule out other possibilities such as cancer. A dog's vestibular system allows them to maintain their orientation and balance along with their movement. A complex sensory system, the vestibular system originates from your dog's inner ear. Along with this dysfunction of the vestibular system is a condition called vestibular disorder or vestibular syndrome, which tends to manifest itself in a dog that walks in circles, more often affecting older dogs.

Other symptoms that you may notice along with your dog walking in circles are:

  • Uncoordinated movements and stumbling.
  • constantly falling
  • A blink of an eye from side to side
  • drooling
  • nausea
  • to vomit
  • walk with your head down
  • nod

Some of the symptoms of vestibular disorder can come on suddenly and could be mistaken for your dog's stroke. The exact cause of canine vestibular disorder is not yet known; however, these factors have been found to play a role in the development of the condition and the symptoms associated with your dog walking in circles:

  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as thiamine deficiency.
  • metabolic disorders
  • Brain diseases and injuries
  • Ear damage due to injury.
  • Neoplasm or abnormal growth of tissue
  • Inflammation of the middle or inner ear that may be the result of a bacterial infection
  • The presence and use of toxic substances in your dog's ear, such as an antibiotic

Treatment for dogs that walk in circles as a result of canine vestibular disease

Once your vet has determined that your dog has canine vestibular disease and is why he is walking in circles, your vet will decide on the correct treatment. A treatment approach may vary depending on the cause of the problem. This support can also be provided for any secondary symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and dehydration.

inner ear infection

An ear infection can be one of the main reasons why a dog walks in circles and also falls. Usually when a dog is away from home, ear infections also accompany other symptoms including:

  • offensive odor
  • Discharge from an affected ear
  • Swelling
  • redness
  • scratch your ear
  • pitching
  • The inability of his eyes to focus, as well as the constant movement from left to right.

When your dog doesn't receive proper treatment, an ear infection can progress deeper or even lead to complications that can include meningitis. It's important that you don't ignore an ear infection as a reason for your dog to walk in circles and take him straight to the vet. Treatment of an inner ear infection typically involves a veterinary cleaning along with anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, and possibly surgery for chronic or more severe cases.



A stroke is another reason for a dog walking in circles along with a loss of balance which can manifest as your dog constantly falling over. In reality, a stroke is very rare in a dog and can be an underlying factor that can include blood clots, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and head trauma, as well as migrating worms. In addition to falling and spinning the dog, a stroke in a dog is often accompanied by symptoms such as loss of balance, head tilt, and loss of vision.

Your vet will provide your dog with appropriate care if he determines that he is spinning due to a stroke. A stroke has other effects that must also be treated correctly. A stroke can have other signs, such as falling to one side, abnormal eye position, loss of coordination and balance, inability to walk properly, blindness, loss of consciousness, abnormal eye movements, and head tilt. If you notice any of these signs in your dog, take him to the vet immediately.

obsessive compulsive disorder

Compulsive behavior is not uncommon, particularly in older dogs. A dog may also be walking in a circle due to aobsessive compulsive disorderor OCD. A dog may have an overwhelming urge to walk in circles, but he may not be able to stop. This could be why a dog walks in circles several times a day for several weeks.

What should you do with your dog walking in circles?

When you notice your dog walking in circles, your first question is probably how can I stop him from doing it? Any animal behavior has a cause and a trigger, even when it is unconscious. Therefore, it's important to understand what your dog's triggers are and make sure what your dog's behavior says about his well-being and health.

Identify the problem and triggers.

Does your dog run in circles? This is what it could mean (2)

Once you've decided why your dog is spinning in circles and why he's disoriented, you should work with your vet or trainer to choose the right treatment plan to make sure your dog stops his behavior. Confronting and determining the underlying reason for your dog's behavior is key to your plan for misbehavior. This is also very helpful when you need to treat behavioral issues like OCD, stress, and anxiety.

Requiring patience and consistency, identifying triggers will help your pup overcome the urge to go around in circles. You can also use positive reinforcement of your acceptable behavior that can eliminate or reduce that behavior.

You will need to watch your pup very closely for a situation that encourages circling to help minimize it. Prescription medications can take some time to work, so it's important to allow plenty of time to make sure it works properly. Also, keep in touch with your dog's veterinarian, as the dosage of the medication may need to be changed or your pup may need to be on a few different medications to ensure the best treatment.

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Maintain your dog's ear hygiene

Regular cleaning with a dog ear cleaner will help prevent ear infections in your dog. Regular ear hygiene will help you maintain your dog's hearing and prevent ear infections caused by earwax buildup, mites, or lesions.

Take your dog to annual exams

If you are unable to determine what is causing your dog's circling behavior, your dog may be behaving strangely or behaving multiple times a day, it is highly recommended that you take your dog to the vet. This will allow you to get professional advice and examine your dog to rule out any medical problems.

Make sure you keep up with your dog's health by taking him to the vet for yearly checkups. That way, your vet can run tests, examine his eyesight, hearing, weight, and skin, and check his entire body for pain or lumps. Annual veterinary checkups may also include vaccinations to prevent serious health problems, as well as blood tests that will help diagnose any emerging health problems.

Frequent questions

Why is my senior dog walking in circles?

Older dogs that exhibit circling behavior may show signs of anxiety or cognitive problems. Taking your dog to the vet is important any time your older dog displays unusual behavior, such as circling repeatedly and frequently.

What would make my dog ​​walk in circles?

There are many reasons that can cause your dog to walk in circles. This could include ear infections, stress, anxiety, OCD, or a stroke.

How do I stop my dog ​​from walking in circles?

Preventing your dog from walking in circles requires determining the cause of his problem. It is important that your dog consult a veterinarian to determine the cause of her abnormal behavior.

What are the signs that your dog is dying?

Depending on your dog and its general condition, there are severalsigns your dog is dying🇧🇷 These include reduced mobility, incontinence, lethargy, pain, decreased thirst and appetite, shortness of breath, and restlessness.


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Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated: 16/03/2023

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