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Can Dogs Be Bipolar? How To Tell If Your Dog Is Bipolar?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Can dogs be bipolar? In this article, you will find an answer to whether can dogs be bipolar and whether or not dogs can have other mental illnesses as well.

Can dogs be bipolar? Can a dog be bipolar regardless of the breed’s size and age?

Everyone knows that dogs are sensitive beings. They can feel pain and happiness.

In similar manners, they can also display when they are unhappy or lonely.

Did you know that some dog breeds are prone to separation anxiety?

Canines tend to develop this condition because they spend an expected amount of time alone.

This leads us to questions – can dogs feel sad because of something that comes within them? And can dogs be bipolar? Let’s answer.

Can Dogs Be Bipolar?

In a way, yes – dogs can be bipolar.

Dogs can have a certain type of bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses that can heavily affect their lifestyle.

Since dogs can be bipolar, it’s important to note that they can suffer from other health issues can also people tend to experience.

Some of the disorders that dogs with bipolar might experience are:

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

How can we know for sure that dogs can be bipolar?

Dog experts will tell you that a dog who is bipolar won’t display strong grumpiness and aggressiveness that should mirror the manic highs and strong lows that are seen in people with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar In Dogs – Signs

By books, bipolar disorder is a biochemical disorder where a person experiences mood swings that go from high to low.

Dogs do not have this kind of biochemical response, which means that they do not experience mood swings as people do. However, they might experience some sort of mood swings.

For example, your dog may be acting normal, and all of a sudden he may become grumpy or even aggressive.

This doesn’t mean that your dog has bipolar, but it can be an indicator of some other issues.

All in all, these symptoms are clear indicators that something is wrong with your dog and Fido is in some sort of pain.

These changes might occur when a dog is experiencing a routine change or adjusting to a new lifestyle like when a baby arrives, or if a new animal is arriving.

Do not panic immediately, as sometimes dogs may just have low energy.

For example, if your Fido plays in the backyard with another dog, and two hours later he seems a bit down, it may be a sign that he is just tired and sad that his buddy went back to his place.

Although dogs can show some bipolar signs, in most cases they will be just tired.

How Do Dogs Communicate That They Have a Disorder?

Dogs are masters of body language.

Since they cannot talk ‘human language’, dogs had to evolve. They evolved in such a manner that they are using their body easily to communicate with people.

By just using their bodies, dogs can tell people when they are happy (tail wagging) when they are scared (tucked tail), or when they are in pain (spending hours in the corner with curls entire body).

This is why it’s important to know the major body language signs and to know how your dog acts when in a normal state.

Certain body language signs that your dog may display are usually reactions to some factor.

Some of the body signs that may show that your dog’s behavior changes are:

  • Withdrawing his ears back
  • Baring his teeth
  • Acting aggressive suddenly
  • Laying down with no energy for a long time
  • Whining
  • Trying to get your attention

The biggest issue with ‘catching’ these symptoms is that they can be indicators of different issues and situations, like when they are scared, or when they encounter a stranger.

It can also be a sign of injury or a condition that is causing the dog pain.

It’s important to note that some dogs can suffer from neurosis and in some cases, the issues could be behavioral.

Here are some of the symptoms that may be seen in dogs that can mimic bipolar behavior:

  • Sudden and harsh mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Acting fearful
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Being aloof
  • Acting disinterested no matter what you do

Bipolar Disorder Overview

People are familiar with bipolar disorder nowadays. They may not be so familiar with bipolar disorders in dogs, but it still exists.

In recent decades awareness of this condition is on the rise and experts are doing their best to help people manage this disorder.

Did you know that the first record of bipolar disorder dates back to the 19th century, making this disorder a new discovery?

The discovery of this disorder was first presented in Paris when two medics explained their view on a strong genetic link.

From that moment on the experts continued researching this disorder and it was until the 1960’s that a specific distinction was made for people who experienced both extreme highs and lows of the same disorder.

There are no hard facts on whether dogs experience bipolar disorder like humans do, despite their mood changes.

According to veterinarian experts mood swing in dogs is a biochemical imbalances that can lead to mood changes, that are described as extremes.

Over the years, mood changes in dogs are more linked to many external factors, such as environmental factors and similar conditions.

This is what affects owners’ belief that their dog suffers from bipolar disorder, while in most cases another factor is causing the issue.

Bipolar-Like Dogs

So far, it’s obvious that bipolarity in dogs is more of a polarity switch. The biochemical change that occurs in humans is not the same as it is in dogs.

Dogs react more to environmental changes and different situations.

Dogs are also capable of catching your feelings and reacting when you feel sad or anyhow stressed.

Canines are masters of body language and if you move stressed they will catch that, and reflect your emotion.

They can also sense your feelings through your tone, actions, and various expression. All in all, how dogs act is a mix of instincts and behavior.

Is There Medication For Bipolar Dogs?

If you want to help your dog with its sudden changes, you should consult a dog behaviorist and your veterinarian to see what your next move should be.

You may expect to hear that your dog needs proper dog medication, which is often used for anxious dogs, such as Prozac and Zoloft.

How To Know If My Dog Has Mental Issues?

To know if your dog has any kind of mental issues, you need to know his regular behavior.

This means that you should know your dog acts on a daily level and what keeps him active and engaged.

Whenever your dog exhibits some sort of behavioral problem you should know that something is wrong.

In most cases, behavioral changes are a reflection of some sort of stress like changing routine, or are an indicator of underlying health issues.

In most cases, dogs will mental issues may express strong aggression, long and excessive barking, or even destructive behavior. Although these behaviors can be linked with many health or behavioral issues, you shouldn’t ignore them.

If left neglected, these behaviors may disrupt your dog’s life and yours as well.

In some cases, these behaviors can even be dangerous.

In most cases, you will need veterinarian help to help you get over these issues, or you may hire an expert in dog behavior or training.

Bipolar Dog Treatment Options

So far, there has not been recorded data on how dogs with bipolar can be treated successfully.

Since bipolar disorder has not been diagnosed in dogs this information is hard to have.

Like with any behavioral change issues are commonly treated with dog medication.

Experts claim that medications such as Prozac and Zoloft work on dogs as well, but this is something that can only be confirmed by your veterinarian. Never give your dog any medication unless your veterinarian approves it.

Should A Bipolar Person Own A Dog?

People who live with bipolar disorder have many challenges that they have to overcome on a daily level.

Still, many of them can participate in pet therapy programs, which are animal-assisted therapy.

This type of therapy is often recommended for people with bipolar disorder. Moreover, this type of therapy is often recommended to people with other mood disorders.

Various research claims that pet assistance in any form offers a certain level of comfort to people with various mental needs.

Dogs are often used as therapy support, but before you do research on the best therapy dogs, make sure that your doctor recommends having a dog for daily support.

Can Dogs Have Other Mental Illness?

Now we understand that can dogs can have bipolar disorder or a form of it, but can they experience other issues as well? Know that any dog can suffer from some form of mental health issues.

Seeing these issues in your dog may be heartbreaking, but isn’t something that should be ignored.

Mental health issues usually appear in dogs who have been neglected in some way, mistreated, or abused.

These issues are often seen in dogs who lived on the street or spend too much time being alone in dog shelters.

Can Dogs Sense Bipolar Disorder?

Humans and dogs are used to working next to each other.

From day one dogs were bred to perform different tasks. Many of them were directly linked with assisting humans, which is why dogs are even today massive people-pleasers.

Thanks to this need to be helpful and useful, dogs are great service assistants for numerous tasks today.

This is the main reason why dogs are often seen working as mobility assistance dogs, guide animals for the blinds, and comfort dogs to people with various mental and health issues.

Dogs can be trained to help people with various mental issues, including bipolar disorder.

Canines have impeccable noses. Their noses are so powerful that they can sense chemical changes in the body that can actually preclude a panic attack or manic state.

In most cases, dogs are trained that when they feel a chemical change lean against their companion, or place their head in the person’s lap as a way to comfort their handler.

Conclusion On Can Dogs Be Bipolar

There is some sort of evidence that dogs can not only feel, but also reflect the mental health of their owners.

So far it should be clear that dogs can have issues of their own.

The most common mental health issue in dogs is separation anxiety which can affect a dog’s ability to remain still and functional when put in front of various challenges.

As for bipolar disorder in dogs, it’s clear that dogs can experience some kind of mood swings that may be triggered by various factors.

Still, if you notice that mood swings are too intense, frequent, and often out of control, you should schedule an appointment at the vet’s office.

Whenever you suspect that your dog is in some kind of trouble, you should talk with your veterinarian immediately – your best friend when it comes to keeping your dog healthy, strong, and happy is your veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Questions On – Can Dogs Be Bipolar?

1. How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Mentally Ill?

Dogs with any sort of mental issues can display behavioral changes or problems such as destructive chewing.

These behaviors are destructive and can be hard to deal with.

Dealing with a destructive dog requires a lot of time, energy, and often support from a dog behavioralist, next to your veterinarian’s support.

2. Can A Dog Suffer From Bipolar?

Dogs can suffer from bipolar disorder, and display behavior that may go from low to high, but like in humans.

Changes in a dog’s behavior are commonly affected or triggered by an external factor.

How can you tell if a dog is bipolar? In most cases, dogs will display behavioral changes, such as aggressive behavior, mood swings, and becoming completely aloof and disinterested in its surrounding.

3. Can A Dog Have Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenic-like symptoms might be seen in dogs such as being scared or having a negative mood, while schizophrenic has not been recorded in any species but humans.