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What is Hyper?

Your dog is always energetic, wired and excessively active.  It is extremely difficult to calm him down and he is rarely in relaxed mode. You tend to believe that your dog is hyperactive and has an attention deficit disorder.  There are a variety of reasons why your dog may be “hyper” which may include:

  • Boredom 
  • Lack of exercise
  • High activity breed
  • Diet
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hyperactive/hyperkinetic

In most cases, a hyper dog is the result of behavior or dietary reasons and not a serious condition.

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Why Hyper Occurs in Dogs


Bored dogs are much like bored children. When a dog is bored he will try to find something to do to entertain himself.  Unfortunately, that may mean chewing on shoes, getting into the garbage, disobeying, and being extremely energetic and excited when you get home from work.

Lack of exercise 

Your hyper dog may need more exercise.  Exercise is good for your dog’s physical body and for his state of mind.  If a dog does not get exercised he will have bottled up energy that will appear as hyperactivity.

High activity breeds

Breeds that have high energy levels include the Border Collie, Jack Russell Terrier, Beagle, Dalmatian, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Pointer, Siberian Husky and Airedale Terrier. These dog breeds need exercise and stimulating activity on a daily basis. These dog breeds were bred to hunt, to work and for sporting events.  They need a purpose, a “job” to keep them busy.


Many dogs that are considered hyper are being fed a diet high in carbohydrates and starches. Carbohydrates and starches turn into sugar in the body. They cause elevated spikes of blood sugar levels. These spikes of high blood sugar can cause the dog to become “amped” up.

Dog foods made with soy products may contain plant estrogen, which may cause aggression and hyper behavior.  Food coloring and artificial preservatives have also been linked with hyperactivity.


Hyperthyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine (thyroid hormone).  Hyperthyroidism is a rare condition in dogs. Hyperthyroidism occurs more often in older dogs and can cause weight loss, an elevated heart rate, increased thirst and hunger.


A hyperactive/hyperkinetic condition is very rare in dogs. Hyperkinetic canines tend to be compulsive, are restless, have excessive panting, may be aggressive and their eyes are not focused.

What to do if your Dog is Hyper

If your dog is acting hyper you may consider walking him more often. Some dogs enjoy running with you which could help to burn off excess energy.  Providing your pet with new chew toys may help his boredom. Many dogs benefit from a dog walker coming in midday, while you are at work.  Your dog will appreciate the extra attention and exercise. 

It may be a good idea to take a look at the food label of your canine’s food.  If your dog’s diet is 35% or more carbohydrates, it is time to change his food. Also, check the label of the treats he eats for high carbohydrates and sugar ingredients. Soy products, dyes and artificial ingredients should also be avoided.

High energy dogs may need a trainer or behaviorist to help with their training.  High energy dogs need to be challenged physically and mentally.  Some dog breeds may benefit from agility classes and/or swimming.

If your dog continues to be hyper even when you have provided him with exercise and fun activities; he should be seen by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will give your dog a physical examination. He may suggest a complete blood count (CBC) and may also want to check your dog’s blood levels of thyroxine and TSH.  TSH is a thyroid stimulating hormone.  TSH triggers the production of thyroxine.  If your dog is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, the veterinarian may prescribe anti-thyroid medications.  These medications are meant to help stop the overproduction of thyroid hormones.

If the veterinarian suspects hyperkinesis he may recommend a medication test trial. Your dog may be prescribed ritalin and amphetamine. The veterinarian will monitor how your dog does on these medications.

Prevention of Hyper

Providing your dog with exercise, a balanced diet, and fun activities may help prevent the hyper moments. Hyperkinesis and hyperthyroidism may not be prevented but they can be maintained through medications. It is important that dogs are seen by a veterinarian once a year, to ensure that they stay healthy.  A wellness check can also determine a condition in its early stages. Patients diagnosed with health conditions in the early stages have a better recovery prognosis.

Cost of Hyper

Exercising your pet on a daily basis and considering extra activities will have minimal cost. To treat hyperkinesis, the expense may be $1500. If a dietary change is necessary, consult your veterinarian for advice on a food to help your pet while remaining within your budget.