Dog Walks in Circles

Although there is a common image in popular culture of when a dog walks in circles before it sits or lies down, this behavior is, in reality, quite uncommon. Some dogs will turn in place a bit before settling down, but generally dogs only tend to walk in circles before they evacuate their bowels or if they're chasing after a scent or some moving object. In fact, if you notice that your dog has begun to walk in circles regularly, this may even be a sign that there is something wrong with his health. Because this could be a potentially serious condition, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for other symptoms which may exist along with this odd behavior.

Causes of Walking in Circles

There are a number of potential causes for a dog walking in circles. The first and most serious of them all is a series of neurological conditions. In these conditions, your pet may have something wrong with his brain chemistry. This can cause him to have a type of paralysis which may not permit him to break a certain pattern of movement. Specifically, he may physically no longer be able to make his body move in another direction aside from the way that he's moving.

Other less serious causes of a dog walking in circles may be an inner ear infection, head trauma or some kind of unusual behavior with no underlying medical cause. By sorting out other symptoms and testing your pet for movement issues, you can usually come to a fairly good idea about what the problem and the cause of your pet's walking in circles is.

Tests to Perform

The first thing that you should do when your dog walks in circles is try to distract him and get him to move in another pattern. Dogs without neurological difficulties will be able to do this quite easily. However, if it appears that your pet cannot break this movement pattern, plan to take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a further examination and diagnosis.

Look also at your pet's eyes. In cases of neurological difficulty or certain types of head trauma, your pet's eyes may focus and dilate randomly and with an unusual speed. Watch for his ability to focus his vision on a certain point.

Treating Conditions

In the case of an ear infection, it is most common that a vet will prescribe a regimen of antibiotics in order to help remedy the condition. For head trauma and more serious underlying neurological conditions, it may be more difficult. These can require behavioral therapy, a series of tests and medical treatments in order to properly manage. A behavioralist may also be able to help if your pet exhibits this unusual behavior without any specific underlying medical cause. Ask your vet for more information about how to address this condition.