understanding changes in puppy behavior

When is a mood more than just a mood?

No one knows your pup better than you! You’re around your puppy every day. If you’re picking up on subtle behavior changes, they can mean everything from simply being uncomfortable to indicating a severe, underlying medical issue.
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Behavior changes that may need veterinary help

Reach out to your veterinary team if you notice your pup is acting a little different compared to their usual energetic self, even if the changes don’t seem so obvious or drastic. Sometimes, you just notice something different and can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. We can help to rule out, diagnose, and treat any medical causes of the new behavior.

  • Changes in energy level: Your pup just doesn’t have the same pep in their step as usual. They don’t get excited for walks, playtime or feeding.
  • Hiding: Your pup is hiding under the bed or seemingly avoiding you. Has your pup also stopped greeting visitors like they used to do?
  • Changes in sleeping habits: Is your pup sleeping a lot more or a lot less? Is it difficult to wake them up?
  • Lack of appetite: Has your pup stopped eating, or is not all that motivated to eat?
  • Not listening: Has your pup stopped listening to you? Is it harder to get their attention?
A cartoon puppy anxiously laying under a blanket
Vector graphic of an angry grey dog

What’s causing the new behavior?

While each puppy is unique and different in how they may respond to conditions, here are some common reasons for behavior change.

  • Anxiety, including storm phobias, noise phobias, separation anxiety, or any changes in the household that may disrupt your pup’s routine like a new baby, a new home, pet, roommate, and so on.
  • Sense-related causes, like hearing or vision problems due to age, breed predisposition, or disability. 
  • Injury or pain, which could be as simple as a scratch in a sensitive area to more complex issues like arthritis, hip dysplasia, back problems, and more.
  • Infections like a urinary tract infection, respiratory infection, intestinal parasite infestation, skin infection, etc., can all contribute to changes in pet behavior. 
  • Underlying medical condition or internal organ dysfunction, including heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, gastrointestinal issues, and more.
  • Toxins like poisonous plants, household toxins, and even human foods could be making your pup sick.

How Banfield can help

Because behavior changes can have so many causes, your veterinary team will work with you to try to determine what may be bothering your pet, and to help you find a potential solution. Please make an appointment if you have a concern. If something is wrong, the sooner we can help your puppy, the better.

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