Dog Autism

Some dog owners may wonder whether their dog has dog autism, a developmental disorder like that in humans that’s received considerable media attention recently. Researchers are indeed seeking answers to the question: “Can dogs have autism?” However, the research into whether autism manifests in canines is in its infancy, so no definitive answer is yet available.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

On the one hand, dogs experiencing some symptoms of autism is unlikely. In humans, “autism spectrum disorder” involves impairment of language skills. For example, some people with autism do not speak when others speak to them. Others with autism may speak about a subject too long. Dogs, without the faculty of speech, would not have this symptom

Canine Compulsive Disorder

On the other hand, some breeds, like Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds, do exhibit “canine compulsive disorder,” which involves repetitive behaviors, like chasing their tail, gnawing at their own body parts, and sucking on blankets. Dogs afflicted with CCD can fatally injure themselves. In addition, such behaviors can alienate dog from owner to the point the owner considers euthanasia. For these reasons, researchers consider the disorder serious and life-threatening.

Links between ASD and CCD

Researchers see links between CCD and autism, in that the autism spectrum disorder includes repetitive behavior. In addition, research has found that humans and dogs may share a common gene for obsessive-compulsive disorder. If confirmed, such information is likely to help scientists learn more about the disorder in humans, as well as improve diagnosis, intervention and treatment.

Research Breakthroughs Possible

In turn, breakthroughs in research into human OCD is likely to benefit researchers looking for better ways to diagnose and treat CCD. Moreover, continued research into both disorders will most probably yield new insights into whether dogs suffer from a type of autism.

Behavioral Problems a High Priority

For now, owners should remain vigilant to any behavioral developments in their dog that result in increasing psychological misery or self-injury, reporting their observations promptly to the vet. The sooner treatment begins for any type of behavioral problem, the better chance a dog has in overcoming the physical and psychological challenges associated with it.