Why Is My Dog Acting Weird?

With each day that passes with our canine friends in our home, we get to know them more and more, including if they are acting weird. We begin to understand everything about their daily behaviors and personality, leading to immense concern when they begin to act strangely.

A dog that is acting weird could be experiencing everything from stress to developing illness, so it’s important to always take these changes in behavior seriously.

Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog could be acting weird and what you should do about it.

Why Is My Dog Acting Weird

Top 8 Strange Behaviors In Dogs

Before we discuss the potential causes of weird behavior in dogs, it’s important to understand what could be considered weird in the first place.

Every dog has their own personality and routine, so ‘weird’ can mean something different for each pet owner.

To make sure you understand some of the details behind your dog’s specific behavior, let’s list some of the most common strange behaviors in dogs.

Your Dog Is Whining

Similar to a child that is not getting the attention they seek, our canine friends can whine as well.

Whining is often an effort to get our eyes on them, whether it is for an afternoon snack or the playtime they crave. Whining can also signify physical or emotional discomfort in dogs, as it is a common stress response in some pups.

Your Dog Is Excessively Barking

Excessive barking is another strange behavior that some dogs participate in when they are overwhelmed. This type of barking is more than just barking at a passing car, or neighbor walking by.

A dog may bark around the clock if they are bored, stressed, lacking exercise, and even if they are experiencing mental decline.

Your Dog Is Showing Disinterest

Disinterest is always particularly concerning for some pet owners.

We begin to understand our dog’s favorite activities, so it is especially weird when they suddenly decline these activities and hide away. Activities like going for a walk, fetching a stick or rolling around on the ground playing.

Disinterest in things they once enjoyed can point to everything from developing illness to sudden pain, but it is always something to be concerned with.

Your Dog Is Not Eating

A sudden decrease in appetite should always be taken seriously in our furry friends. A healthy pup will have a standard eating routine.

If they are not eating food items they normally enjoy, but have a sudden decline in appetite, this is something to always take note of. A dog that is not eating may be experiencing GI upset, pain, and even stress.

Your Dog Is Shivering

While shivering can occur when a dog is cold, it can also be an indication of emotional or physical discomfort.

A dog that suddenly begins to tremble or shake is often overwhelmed by something, whether it is fear or intense pain.

If you cannot connect your dog’s shivering to the cold weather, it is very possible that they are experiencing some form of discomfort.

Your Dog Has Lethargy

Have you ever felt so under the weather that you just want to lay in bed all day? Our furry friends can experience this as well. Any type of underlying illness can cause a dog to become lethargic or disinterested in daily activities.

Lethargy is even more serious if a dog is not eating or drinking, but it should be taken seriously in any case.

Your Dog Is Clingy

Does it seem like your dog is clung to your hip all of a sudden? If this is the case, your dog may be experiencing some form of emotional distress.

A dog that is currently unsure of themselves may seek comfort in their owners, causing them to follow us around with every step we take.

Signs your dog is clingy, they follow you to the bathroom, they won’t let you out of their sight, they whine when you leave.

Your Dog Has Accidents Around Your Home

If your potty trained pup begins to suddenly have accidents around the home, this can have you very confused.

Inappropriate urination and defecation can occur due to anything from sudden stress or uncomfortable illness, and it should always warrant concern.

What Would Cause A Dog To Act Weird

Now that we have broken down some of the most common behaviors in dogs, it’s time to discuss some of the potential factors behind your dog’s strange behavior.

Ranging from emotional turmoil to underlying illness, let’s get into the details below.

Anxiety Or Stress

Our dogs can suffer from intense stress and anxiety just like you and I can. Any change in a dog’s daily routine or environment can cause distress for our canine friends, causing them to act differently than they normally would.

Dogs can experience stress or anxiety due to any of the following:

  • A move to a new home
  • The addition of a new pet
  • New people in their home
  • The sudden loss of someone they love
  • Loud noises around your home
  • Anything that can shake up a pup’s life

If this is the case for your dog, they may begin to act strangely. A stressed or anxious dog may experience trembling, whining, excessive barking, destructive behavior, accidents around the home, and even hiding.

If you can pinpoint any recent changes in your dog’s life, it’s very possible that your pup is simply overwhelmed.

GI Upset

Gastrointestinal upset can be extremely uncomfortable for a dog, no matter the underlying cause. GI upset can cause a dog’s stomach to rumble and their mouth to water, causing an array of strange behaviors that pet owners notice.

Some of the most common causes of GI upset in dogs include dietary indiscretion, diet changes, intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, chronic illness, and even intestinal blockages.

A dog that is experiencing GI upset may:

  • Develop vomiting or diarrhea
  • Appear lethargic
  • Hide away
  • Whine
  • and even shiver

GI upset can occur with a variety of illnesses, so we always suggest having them seen by your vet.

Impacted Anal Glands

Is your dog suddenly scooting across the floor at every given chance? If so, your dog is likely suffering from full or impacted anal glands.

These tiny glands on the inside of your dog’s rectum can fill up if they are not emptied properly with each bowel movement. Once this occurs, a dog will experience discomfort in their back end.

This is already uncomfortable when the glands are full, but it can become painful if the glands become infected.

A dog with full or impacted anal glands may:

  • Scoot their bottom on the ground
  • Lick their back end
  • Whine
  • Appear restless
  • Smell like fish (caused by the infected anal glands)

Anal glands need to be emptied at a vet’s office when this occurs, especially if the glands have become painfully infected.


Canine allergies can lead to an array of weird behaviors in our canine companions.

Dogs can develop allergies to things in the environment, the food they eat each day, and even items that touch their skin. These allergies can be unbearably uncomfortable, causing everything from itchy skin to GI upset.

A dog with allergies may experience:

If you think your dog could be suffering from canine allergies, we suggest having them seen by your veterinarian for further care.

Ear Infections

If you have ever had an ear infection, you know just how painful they can be.

We don’t often know about a dog’s ear infection until their ears are noticeably red and swollen, which has to be excruciating for the dog affected. Due to the pain the ear infections cause, our dogs can do some weird things.

A dog with an ear infection may:

Ear infections require medical intervention to treat, so we always suggest having them seen by a veterinarian.

Painful Conditions

Pain of any kind can cause our dogs to behave in strange ways. They cannot make sense of the discomfort they are experiencing, causing them to engage in behaviors they would not otherwise.

Pain in dogs can occur due to joint conditions, IVDD, pancreatitis, ear infections, skin infections, UTI’s and many more.

A dog that is in pain for any reason may:

  • Whine
  • Bark excessively
  • Appear lethargic
  • Hide away
  • Shiver
  • Stop eating
  • Have accidents around your home

Medical intervention is the only way to bring your dog comfort, so we always suggest reaching out to your vet if these symptoms are present.

Urinary Complications

Urinary complications can lead to significant distress in our canine companions.

Anything from a urinary tract infection to bladder stones can lead to extreme pain for the dog affected, causing them to behave in strange ways.

A dog with urinary complications may:

  • Whine
  • Bark constantly to go outside
  • Urinate frequently
  • Have accidents around the home
  • Appear lethargic
  • Experience changes in urine appearance and smell

Urinary complications should always be taken seriously when they occur.

Not only can they cause severe pain for the dog, but these symptoms can point to life-threatening complications like bladder stones and kidney disease.

If your pup is experiencing any of the symptoms we mentioned above, it’s time to have them seen by your veterinarian.

Serious Underlying Illness

There are thousands of health conditions in dogs that can cause them to behave differently than they normally would.

This is often how these illnesses are detected, as owners notice their pup acting weird in a variety of ways. It’s only when they are brought to the vet for their strange behavior that they are diagnosed with the new condition.

If you ever ask yourself why your dog is acting so weird, it is very possible that an underlying illness is brewing. For this reason, it is always best to have them seen by a vet.

When Should You See A Vet If Your Dog Is Acting Weird?

So when should you see your vet for your dog that is acting weird?

If you are unable to tie their strange behavior to an anxiety or stress that can be resolved, then we always suggest giving your vet a call.

While stress surrounding the addition of a new person in your home may work itself out in time, brewing illness may not. Due to this potential, it is always best to be safe and have them seen by a veterinarian.

If you are not yet ready to take your dog to the vet, you can always give your vet a call and explain the current symptoms that your dog is experiencing.

Your vet can then offer you guidance based on the details of your dog’s situation.

Diagnosing The Cause Of Your Dog’s Weird Behavior

As you can see from the details we discussed above, there are a list of potential factors behind strange behavior in dogs. Due to this, your vet may need to perform an array of diagnostics to get to the bottom of your dog’s symptoms.

Your vet will first perform a physical exam and obtain a thorough medical history, and they will then determine the best diagnostic plan for your dog.

Some of the diagnostics your vet may perform based on your dog’s symptoms include:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • Urinalysis
  • Ear cytology
  • Skin scraping
  • Ultrasound

Every situation is different, so we always suggest following your vet’s guidance when it comes to their diagnostic and treatment options.

Your Dog May Just Have A Weird Personality

While some dogs may act weird from time to time, others may just be strange in general.

Dogs will have their own quirks and silly personalities just like you and I do, which is part of what makes pet ownership so much fun.

The term ‘weird’ is subjective when it comes to canine personalities, as no two pups are completely alike. If your dog has always seemed a bit strange, you can certainly have them seen by a vet to ease your worries.

They can spot any actual health threats if they exist, or they can ease your worries and confirm that your pup is simply ‘weird’.

Once you know that there is actually nothing wrong with your pup, you can encourage them to embrace their weirdness in the future.

Final Thoughts

Weird behavior in dogs can occur due to a variety of underlying complications.

Whether it’s due to a stressful change in your home or a brewing illness, our dog’s normal behaviors can be impacted. The best thing to do in these situations is to give your vet a call, as they can determine if it’s necessary to have them checked out.

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