Restless in Dogs

Why is my dog restless?

Most common conditions

Cushings Disease / Separation Anxiety / Poisoning

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Rated as mild conditon

10 Veterinary Answers

Most common conditions

Cushings Disease / Separation Anxiety / Poisoning

Why is my dog restless?

Jump to section

What are Restless?

Sometimes, your dog will pace or seem restless to get your attention.  Excitement usually accompanies this type of restless.  As a pet owner, you know what your dog’s normal behavior is like so you can spot his out of character restlessness when it occurs.  Restlessness in your dog may include pacing or circling, repeatedly adjusting his position and changes in sleep patterns.  You will want to know the cause of your dog unsettled behavior.  There are several potential reasons for restless from behavioral to medical conditions.  Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Separation anxiety (behavioral)
  • Phobias (behavioral)
  • Fleas and ticks
  • Tapeworms
  • Poisoning
  • Cushing’s Disease

While some restlessness is behavioral, it is important to rule out any medical reasons for your dog’s unsettled behavior.

Why Restless Occurs in Dogs

Out of the ordinary, restless behavior in your dog may indicate some levels of pain, health issues, or anxiety.  Most people can determine if the nature of the problem is behavioral or medical.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs sometimes develop overly attached bonds to their people, and when you leave your dog, he may become restless.  Separation anxiety can lead to destructive behaviors, over vocalization, or house soiling and typically manifest with the first 15 to 30 minutes after leaving your dog.    

Phobias and Fears

Phobias and fears as the cause of restless behavior are easier to spot because something usually triggers your dog’s restlessness.  Phobias are an exaggerated fear, and your dog may tuck his tail under, pant excessively, pace, or cry when his phobia is triggered.  Loud noises, such as thunder, fireworks, or gunshots usually trigger phobias.  

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are small parasites that bite and feed on your dog’s blood and can be very uncomfortable for your dog.  If your dog has a flea infestation, he will intensely scratch and lick his skin to help relieve the itching.  Ticks, on the other hand, use their mouths to attach themselves to your dog and draw blood from him.  Ticks may carry infectious disease and further harm your dog beyond the irritation that leads to restless behaviors.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are intestinal parasitic worms with flat heads and are common in dogs of all ages. Tapeworms are not a serious threat to your dog but may lead to intestinal blockages.  Puppies are more susceptible to the harmful effects a tapeworm as it can result in slow growth and anemia in your puppy.  The most common tapeworm in dogs is a flea tapeworm and may develop after your dog ingests fleas.  

Toxin and Poison Ingestion

There are potential toxins and poisons your dog may have an opportunity to ingest throughout his day, and some may not seem likely. A common poison for dogs that we often forget is chocolate. Consuming chocolate can lead to restless behavior, excessive panting, and agitation in your dog.  The clinical signs of chocolate poisoning can occur within the first few hours of ingestion and can last for days.  You will usually know if your dog has eaten chocolate because he leaves the evidence behind, such as candy wrappers and boxes.    

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease occurs when the endocrine glands can no longer produce the correct levels of cortisol in your dog.  Cortisol production occurs to help suppress inflammation and can trigger during moments of stress in your dog’s life.  Cushing’s is an overproduction of cortisol and can be triggered by pituitary gland (grown gland) damage, adrenal tumors, or over treating with anti-inflammatory corticosteroids.

arrow-up-icon

Top

What to do if your Dog is Restless

If your dog’s restlessness is abnormal, you must determine if the response is behavioral or medical and you should seek a veterinarian’s advice.  You can lessen anxiety and fear over time with reinforcement-based training and should ask for help from a trainer or your vet for the best course of action.  Sedative and anti-anxiety medications can also be administered to help an adjusting pet but will not solve your dog’s behavior-related restlessness.    

If your dog is in pain or his restlessness is due to a medical condition, your veterinarian will be able to determine the cause.  If fleas or ticks are the cause of your dog’s unease, you much follow your vet’s instructions with care to get rid of the parasites.  Tapeworm treatments are very effective if your dog is diagnosed with a worm parasite and your veterinarian will prescribe a dewormer medication.  

The treatment for ingesting a toxin or poison, such as chocolate, will depend on how quickly you catch the ingestion and get your dog to the veterinarian.  At the vet, your dog may be induced to vomit to remove the chocolate from his stomach.  Absorbents, such as charcoal, may also be used to help absorb the toxins.  Many times other treatments are given to support the removal of toxins, such as interventions fluid therapy and beta-blockers to help reduce the heart rate.  

For more severe conditions, such as Cushing’s, your dog may have to undergo surgery or radiation therapy as well as use medication to help control the adrenal glands.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Prevention of Restless

Training and positive reinforcement can go a long way in preventing anxiety and fear from developing in your dog.  A loving and comfortable home is always the best environment for your dog to grow and be happy.  You can prevent medical-related restlessness caused by fleas and ticks by proper grooming techniques and learning how to spot and remove ticks.  Avoiding tall grassy areas will also prevent ticks from coming into contact with your dog.

Several common household products and plants may affect your dog’s health and make him restless. Knowing what is unsafe for you dog and keeping it away from him will help prevent potential poisoning.

As your dog ages, he may develop diseases that lead to restless behavior; however, you can prevent chemically induced physiological responses by limiting unnecessary medications.  Overuse of anti-inflammatory medications are one such drug that may lead to Cushing’s disease; therefore, you should always consult with your veterinarian before administering any medication.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cannanine

Cost of Restless

Treatment cost for restless behavior will depend on the underlying cause.  For example, treatment for fleas can cost $300 whereas treatment for Cushing’s may cost $2,000.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Restless Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Flash

dog-breed-icon

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pacing

My dog Flash is very restless lately. He will be turning 8 August 13. He's a Staffordshire mix and he is up to date on shots. Since seeing his vet back in September or October he was fine. He just recently started acting like he can't sit at night. He's always walking and he'll sit for a moment and then get right back up. I know he's super jealous of our Boxer and wants to do everything she does, so I give him extra treatment sometimes, but he's still acting weird with this pacing thing. All I hear at night is him walking back and forth. If I don't want to be bothered, my boxer will just lay down she knows to go to her spot but he's still wanting attention so I'm wondering if it's an attention seeking thing. He's also always licking my husband and I. He licks Phoebe a lot too but she'll walk away if she doesn't want to be bother by him. She does like his ears sometimes and he likes that but it's like he always wants more. What do you think? Just a note, he's eating fine, bathroom fine, playful, and gets plenty of water as well.

April 10, 2018

Flash's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is difficult to say what the specific cause is, this may be behavioural (attention seeks, jealousy etc…) or medical (pacing due to pain or discomfort; without examining Flash I cannot say which one it is or start to say what possible behavioural issues may be going on with Flash. You could try to place Flash in a crate or another room when he is showing behaviour which isn’t desired as a punishment, but it may take time and he may not pick up on it. As for the pacing, you should visit your Veterinarian again to make sure that there isn’t a medical cause for it. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 11, 2018

Going to try the crate first and go from there. He's not yelping or anything. He whimpers when he has to go potty but that's normal for him or during the rainy days. Hopefully the crate will work. I have one but never use it, so maybe this will let me know if he's just seeking attention or not. Its just weird it only happens at night when we're all in the living room watching TV.

April 11, 2018

Flash's Owner

dog-name-icon

Pal

dog-breed-icon

Maltese Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loose Teeth

Hello, I just realized my dog Pal has Loose teeth and I feel like a total failure, because I know I don’t rake care of him as well as I should. I brushed his teeth when he was a baby, but I don’t anymore. What can I do to improve his oral health? Will he need the teeth removed, and if so, what does that mean for his condition of life. How much does a procedure like that usually cost?

Feb. 21, 2018

Pal's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If teeth are loose you should visit your Veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination to determine whether the teeth need to be removed (most likely) and whether there is another underlying issue. The cost of dental extractions are one of those back end prices which may cost as little as $50 at a charity hospital up to $500 or more at a regular clinic (per tooth) with cleaning, anaesthesia and other costs added on. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Feb. 21, 2018

dog-name-icon

Pal

dog-breed-icon

Maltese Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Restlessness

My dog had bladder stone surgery a few days ago, and has been acting like himself, but he’s been extremely restless tonight. Is that just from the pain? Also, I can’t keep him from jumping on the couch. How worried should I be that he continues to do this? It’s not a very high couch and his outside incision looks fine. I am worried about the stitches on his bladder though

Feb. 12, 2018

Pal's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

The incision on the bladder would have healed much faster than the skin or abdominal wall, but the skin and abdominal wall incision will take five to seven days to heal (or longer since Pal is getting on in years). Discomfort from surgery is a possibility, but you should keep a close eye on him and if you notice any other strange behaviour or if the incision site is discoloured you should visit your Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Feb. 12, 2018

dog-name-icon

Honey

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Restless, Upset Stomach Yesterday,

My dog is very restless today. Will lay down only to pop up in 5-10 seconds. Jumps up into her favorite chair, only to jump back down. She was not feeling well yesterday. She threw up bile and there were trace amounts of blood in the bile. She did not eat or drink until almost 9:30 PM. We watched her and did not pester her or bother her. She begged for and then had 2 dog cookies and drank some water at teh 9:30 time. This morning she seemed perkier. I made her chicken strips and she ate those and then her kibble. She went on her walk and is urinating. She did have a somewhat normal bowel movement, but it was a bit loose and "funky" at the end. She is not drooling. She does have some anxiety and has had to have "happy pills" for when other dogs visit. She had an episode of anxiety about 2 weeks ago even though there were not any visitors. Once she had her medicine, she did settle down.

Jan. 28, 2018

Honey's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It sounds like Honey may just have a simple tummy upset, feeding some boiled chicken and rice for a day or two then moving over to her regular food may be enough to resolve this; infections, parasites, stress, food issues, foreign objects, poisoning, eating non-food items among other causes may these issues. Make sure that Honey is up to date on worming treatment etc.. if you don’t see any improvement you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Jan. 29, 2018

dog-name-icon

Dora

dog-breed-icon

Poodle

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

See Above Description

Why does our three year old tiny toy female poodle (4.6 lbs.) occasionally become restless? Every month or so this has been occurring and lasts about a day. Started approximately year and a half ago. She seems maybe a little disoriented, pacing around, then trying to lay down and get comfortable, then jumps up and goes in circles before repeating said behavior. She also will do things that are not her normal behavior like getting in her toy box and standing, in bed at night walking on us and climbing onto night stand beside bed and doesn't want any petting contact with us. Appetite seems normal most of the time, while some times a little decreased during these episodes.

Jan. 3, 2018

Dora's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Dora may be having bouts of pain or discomfort, or she may be having some anxiety. My dog acts like this when it is going to storm, but there may be other things that you don't hear that Dora does, and it might be making her anxious. It would probably be a good idea to have her examined by your veterinarian to make sure that nothing seems painful or out of the ordinary, and they can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication if you feel that that is something she may need.

Jan. 3, 2018

dog-name-icon

Corrie

dog-breed-icon

Tibetan Terrier

dog-age-icon

11 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

She Paces Continuously

Corrie, our 11month old Tibetan terrier, has recently been spayed and her temperament has changed drastically, she has gone from a cheaky active puppy to an anxious pacing one she doesn’t seem interested in food,treats,toys all of which would have been of interest before. All suggestions gratefully.recieved.

dog-name-icon

Lady Ann

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Crying
Anxiety
Pacing
Anxious Digging

Before Lady would sleep with me until I had to get up for work. But recently early in the morning without fail, she gets anxious and won't lay down. I've tried taking her potty and let her run around, but it doesn't stop. What should I do?

dog-name-icon

Mate

dog-breed-icon

Maremma Sheepdog

dog-age-icon

11 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Whining
Sleep Problems?

I apologize its longer than expected!! So my nearly 12 month old maremma pup has gotten quite restless over the past couple weeks. His appetite has gone down a bit from eating 2 serves to 1 to 1.5 serves a day (plus any other treats we give him) we walk him and take him places. His sleeping pattern is slightly hay wire (normally comes to bed with me while my partner goes to work) which has recently changed as he gets on n off the bed and changes every so often. He whines a lot more. His tummy area seems a bit tight/full. And seems more lethargic during the day (but still wants to come for drives). But other then that he seems happy and normal (ish) and is put of the ordinary. Plus he had barked the other morning at something (dont know what) and had come sat next to me in the shower and barely left my side since (and has a not good scratch on his side whether that had something to do with it or not). Anyone has any ideas?

dog-name-icon

Leo

dog-breed-icon

Yorkie

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

-1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

I have a 2 year male Yorkie who has always been a little restless and obsessed with tennis balls and fetching. We recently brought home a Labradoodle / Bernese puppy female. It seems our Yorkies restlessness has gone up dramatically. She paces all day and runs around as if he can't keep still. We walk him and play fetch to try to get him to expend energy to no avail. What should we do?

Cannanine