Why Does My Dog Walk In Circles

things to take note of if your pet is in discomfort or maybe doing it on purpose for attention

Do you find yourself pondering, “why does my dog circle before settling down?” or “what motivates dogs to spin before they lie down?” Many dog owners commonly ask these questions, and at first glance, the circular pacing of a dog can seem quite fascinating. However, this action could also cause concern if you’re not sure why it’s happening.

Therefore, it is vital to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. In some cases, dogs walking in circles might be a sign of stress and anxiety or an underlying medical condition.

In this post, we’ll be answering the question “why does my dog walk in circles” and what you should do to stop it. Having this information is important, particularly if your dog walks in circles several times a day.

5 Reasons For Why Do Dogs Walk In Circles

1. Stress & Anxiety

Your dog could be walking in circles because something is causing him to be stressed and anxious. This is more likely to happen after a stressful situation such as another dog dying or the owner leaving the pet for an extended period of time.

It is also likely that your dog does it in some circumstances such as when a particular person is present or when you’re preparing to leave them, which would be a sign of separation anxiety.

2. Ear Infections

An ear infection is another major reason why dogs walk in circles. Ear infections often have one or more symptoms, including redness, offensive odors coming from the ear originating from the ears, scratching the ears and head shaking.

An ear infection should be treated immediately by a professional veterinarian since infections can penetrate deeper into your pet’s ear, leading to inner ear infection, hearing loss, and more serious health problems.

The best treatments for ear infections in canines include ear cleaning performed by a professional veterinarian to avoid damaging the pup’s inner ear. Prescription medications like antibiotics can also be administered.

Although ear infections are the most common cause, a dog could also be having an infection in another part of their body that could be causing pain or problems with their balance and coordination. Similarly, it is important to take your dog to a vet who can assess and determine the cause without causing harm to your canine friend.

3. Head Injury

Dogs that walk in circles might have suffered head trauma. Besides having a head injury, dog owners might notice that the dog might also be lethargic, or that the dog is clearly hurt.

If your dog is walking in a circle, has a poor appetite, dilated puppies, and seems to be hurt, he may have experienced a head injury.

If you suspect that your dog is walking in a circle because he fell from a high surface and has injured his head, makes sure to take him to your vet immediately. Concussions are quite common in dogs, cats, and other animals, and they might cause permanent damage. In some cases, the condition can be life-threatening.

4. Canine Vestibular Disease

Canine vestibular disease may also be known as canine dementia, canine cognitive dysfunction, or doggie Alzheimer’s. [1] Symptoms include walking in circles, pacing disorientation, loss of balance, and irregular eye movements.

If you notice this circling behavior in your senior dogs, then you should consider cognitive dysfunction syndrome. This condition is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in people. This condition may be accompanied by several other signs and symptoms, including disturbed rest, abnormal vocalization, and incontinence. Moving in a circle disoriented is because of their confusion.

Only a professional vet can’t diagnose the condition. The veterinarian will do an examination and possibly some blood work along with other diagnostic examinations to rule out any other causes such as cancer.

5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Compulsive behavior is not uncommon, especially in older dogs. Your dog could also be walking in circles due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The pup may feel an irresistible urge to go in circles and he simply can’t stop doing it. That would be the case if your pup has been walking in circles multiple teach each day over several weeks.

take your pet for a vet visit and diagnosis if you have a concern about why it is spinning or suffering

What To Do About Dog Walking In Circles

One of the major questions dog owners asks when they notice their pet walking in a circle is whether they should be worried. All animal behaviors have their causes or triggers, even if it is an unconscious one. Therefore, it is important to understand the triggers to ensure you know what your pup’s behavior says about his overall health and wellbeing.

Here’s is what you should do if your pet seems to be moving in a circle.

Identify The Problem & Triggers

Once you’ve figured out why your dog walks in circles and is disoriented, you should work with your trainer or vet to come up with a proper treatment plan to ensure your pooch stops it.

Determining and tackling the underlying cause of your dog’s behavior is the key to stopping it. This is particularly helpful when it comes to behavioral issues such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress, and anxiety.

It will require consistency and patience to help your dog overcome the urge to go in circles. Positive reinforcement of acceptable behavior can also help reduce or eliminate the behavior.

You need to observe your dog closely for situations that encourage the circling in order to minimize them. Prescription medication may take time to work. So give it time to ensure it works properly. Make sure to stay in touch with your vet since the dosage may need to be changed or your dog may need to take a number of different medications to ensure optimal treatment.

If the reason behind your dog’s circling is a medical issue like an infection or injury, treating the injury or infection will help eradicate the behavior. Your veterinarian will carry out blood tests to diagnose the condition and provide an appropriate treatment plan. This might involve the use of antibiotics to eliminate the infection or pain medication if your dog is uncomfortable.  

If the first treatment plan is not effective at stopping your dog from cycling, you should contact your vet to have your dog examined further to determine if there’s a different cause or if a different treatment plan is required.

comfort your pups if it is having seizures or an episode or a doctor might help make an evaluation

Maintain Ear Hygiene

The best way to avoid ear infections in your pet is regular cleaning. Maintaining ear hygiene will help prevent infections. Make sure to clean your pet’s ears on a regular basis. This will help prevent an ear infection caused by injury, ear mites, or wax buildup.

Take Your Dog To The Vet For Annual Checkups

If you’re unable to determine the cause of the circling behavior, your dog has been behaving strangely in other ways or he is doing it multiple times each day,  it’s strongly recommended to take him to a vet. That way, you can get professional advice and have your pet examined to rule out medical issues.

Stay on top of your pet’s health by taking him to the vet for annual checkups. That way, your vet will perform tests, check the entire body for lumps or pain, and check the pet’s skin, weight, hearing, and vision. Annual vet check-ups will also include blood work to help diagnose any emerging health issues, and vaccinations to prevent serious health problems.

care for your pet at home by putting in a training course and taking steps to control activity

Frequently Asked Questions

What are signs of neurological disorders in dogs?

The signs of neurological disorders in dogs might be like those of common brain tumors in pets unless they affect the peripheral nerves or the spinal cord, whereby the signs may include paralysis or weakness in certain parts of your pet’s body.

How do I stop my dog from walking in circles?

You can stop your dog from walking in circles by first determining the root cause of the problem. You must also get your dog to a trained veterinarian to discover the root cause of your dog’s abnormal behavior. 

What are the signs of a stroke in a dog?

The signs of a stroke in a dog may include tilted head, abnormal eye movements, loss of consciousness, blindness, inability to walk properly, loss of balance and coordination, abnormal eye position, and falling to one side. Get your dog to your vet immediately if you notice any of these signs of strokes in pets.


This is the simple answer to the question, “why is my dog walking in circles?” In the end, dogs walking in circles can be due to a range of reasons, so it’s extremely important to examine your dog’s behavior at all times. Is your dog walking in circles due to stress and anxiety? Or is your old dog walking in circles due to an irresistible urge to do it?
As you can see, the behavior of a dog that walks in circles is more complicated than many pet parents can imagine. While most do so around their masters due to excitement, the circling behavior may also be caused by anxiety, stress, boredom, medical conditions, or other underlying issues.
If you’re unsure if your pet’s cycling is a sign of a medical condition, make sure to contact a trained vet to arrange for the treatment he may need.

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