If you own a dog, it’s likely that you have experienced a time where your dog is beaming with energy.
Dogs have a tendency to have moments where they are bouncing off the walls or unwilling to settle for bed, but can we really consider these dogs hyperactive?
In this article, we’ll dive into the facts behind hyper dogs, and discuss when it may be time to seek veterinary help.
What Can Lead To Hyperactivity In Dogs?
In most cases of a hyper pup, their daily activities contribute entirely to their energy level.
If your dog has begun to display unfavorable behavioral problems, you may need to take a look at their daily habits and the time you spend with your dog.
Since it’s rare for a dog’s high energy level to be due to a medical problem, it’s almost always related to a lack of daily exercise and attention.
Some things that can lead to a dog’s hyperactivity include:
- Being left alone for long hours during the day
- Being in a confined area for a long period each day
- A lack of adequate exercise
- Has not received any obedience training
- No change in their surroundings, such as being in your home 24/7 without a mix of activity
- Learning that physical activity gains their owner’s attention
- Being punished for undesirable activity, without being awarded for good behavior
- Not enough one on one time with their owner
- Experiencing a new surrounding that causes them to become excited
Keep in mind that these are common problems that dog owners face, and are just unaware sometimes on what a dog requires for adequate stimulation.
If you have a hyper canine and can check yes to any of the possible causes above, then it’s time to resolve the problem.
Aside from the benefit a new routine can bring for your dog’s behavior, they will also enjoy the extra time spent with you. A new routine can have multiple benefits!
What Is Considered Hyperactivity In Dogs?
When you are trying to get to the bottom of your dog’s behavioral problems, you may wonder what is considered a hyperactive dog. Below are some of the signs of a hyper dog:
- Jumping on you or others
- Running around the room
- Continuous need to play
- Unwilling to settle for bedtime
- Cannot focus on one thing
- Continuous barking and howling
While these behaviors can just be side effects of their daily habits and exercise, there is a small chance that there can be more going on.
Is There A Medical Condition For Hyper Dogs?
Though it is rare for dogs to experience the actual clinical syndrome of hyperactivity, it is possible. Hyperactivity in dogs, or hyperkinetic dogs, are miles past just being hyper.
Hyperkinetic dogs that are actually suffering from a form of ADHD in dogs will truly struggle in their daily lives. Some symptoms of hyperkinesis in dogs include:
- Severe agitation
- Seeming tightly wound
- Inability to adjust to their environment
- Inability to relax
- Evidence of compulsions
- Extremely reactive and even aggressive
- Unable to rest no matter how calm their surroundings are
If your dog displays these symptoms above no matter how much daily exercise they participate in, it’s best to visit your veterinarian.
During this visit, they will discuss your dog’s daily habits, diet, and other factors that could possibly contribute to this behavior.
If there are no other factors that could cause these behaviors, they will likely speak with you about options for medications.
Another tip to consider is recording your dog’s hyperactive or agitated moments to show your vet during your visit.
Recording episodes can help them come to an accurate diagnosis.
Ways To Calm A Hyperactive Dog
If you think your dog’s hyperactivity is not due to any medical condition, there are some ways to change their daily lives to help them expel built-up energy in your pup. Some changes you can implement include:
1. Get Them Moving
The most common reason behind any undesirable behavior in dogs is a lack of daily exercise. If your dog seems to be bouncing off the walls, it’s time to consider adding in some daily exercise to your routine.
While there is no set standard for the amount of exercise that a dog needs, it’s best to start with at least 30 minutes a day of play. Try playing fetch, going for a walk, playing tug of war, going to the dog park, going for a hike, or any other physical activity that you and your pup enjoy.
If your dog is overweight, consider easing into this new activity plan with something easy such as fetch and any other activity in which they can control their involvement.
Going for a vigorous hike may not be the best idea for overweight or generally inactive dog. Make sure you ease your dog’s way into this activity.
This is also a wonderful way for you and your beloved companion to bond. Participating in daily play with your dog can be your special moment together, and your pup is sure to love spending extra time with you.
2. Get Them Thinking
Mental stimulation can be just as important as physical stimulation for your dog.
Though you may not think so, mental stimulation can be just as tiring for your dog as a day spent at the park. This is a bonus for busy dog owners, days spent indoors due to weather, or times when you have to leave the house.
Games that get their brain working are a great way to tire out your pup without the physical commitment on your part.
Mentally stimulating activities can involve teaching your dog a new trick, participating in doggie games that require them to find a toy or treat, and offering your dog a treat puzzle that makes them dig and find their favorite treat.
There are many options for stimulating canine games that will leave your pup ready for a nap! These mentally stimulating games can also come in handy for dogs that suffer from anxiety during loud events such as fireworks, or those that have separation anxiety.
3. Teach Them Manners
Sometimes a lack of manners can disguise themselves as hyperactivity. Those constant nose nudges, jumping on you as you walk through the door, and barking for attention can really just be your dog’s poor manners shining through.
Aside from how frustrating these behaviors can be, it can also be rewarding for your pup to learn common obedience.
If your dog is known to be a bit pushy or is displaying any other undesirable behaviors, you may need to consider obedience training.
4. Rewarding Behaviors
We’re often quick to scold our dogs for their bad behavior, but forget to reward them for their good behavior.
While we don’t want to disturb our hyper dogs when they finally lay down to rest, it’s important to show them just how much we appreciate their time spent being calm and collected.
When you take the time to positively connect with your dog when he’s laying in his bed or resting peacefully by your side, that will make them want to participate in this behavior more often.
This could mean a gentle pat, quiet praise, or even a treat if you have one in close range. Rewarded behavior will be repeated, so don’t forget to show them how happy you are with them, and not just when you’re upset.
5. Think About Their Diet
The saying “you are what you eat” stands true for dogs as well. Though it’s tempting to pick up the cheap dog food that is always on sale, remember that it can have damaging results for your furry friend.
Not only can these diets cause GI upset and weight gain, but certain ingredients found in low quality food have also been linked to hyperactivity in dogs.
In order to feel well each day and receive proper nutrition, your dog’s diet will need to be filled with whole and nutritious ingredients.
Make sure to choose a diet that offers quality protein versus meat byproducts, as this is one of the ingredients that is linked to hyperactivity in dogs.
5. Seeking Veterinary Care
If you’ve tried to implement all of the tips listed above and your dog is still bouncing off the walls, it may be time to visit your veterinarian. Like humans, dogs can experience some physiological issues that can lead to troubling behaviors.
If you fear your dog is suffering from a medical problem that is leading to hyperactivity, make sure to give your vet a call.
As we mentioned above, try your best to record any moments that seem like possible episodes. Recording strange behavior can sometimes help your vet come to an accurate conclusion on what’s going on with your furry friend.
A hyperactive dog can definitely be frustrating for any dog owner.
Make sure to implement some of the tips we recommend above, and give your vet a call if you feel like your dog’s hyperactivity is due to something more!