Lots of dog owner’s wonder if their dogs get headaches and the answer is that they probably do. When guessing whether your dog is suffering from a headache or not, you will need to decipher the clues that they give as a sign to you. As your best friend does not have the ability to communicate their pain in the way that we do, it becomes an owner’s responsibility to discriminate between your dog’s usual and unusual behaviors to look for signs of a headache in your dog.
Just Like Us
Pain in the head is not a disease, it is a medical sign of something else going on. This can be caused by any number of illnesses that people and dogs can get. It is not crazy to believe that your dog may get headaches. We know that they experience other types of pain as they can get vocal about it. Nonetheless factually speaking, we can have difficulty in ascertaining whether a dog is suffering from a headache as there is just no way for them to tell us.
It is fair to assume that your dog does get headaches just like us when we have some may other illnesses in common. The pain could range from being a minor twinge to being more serious and lengthier, but it can be really hard to know how to tell if your dog has head pain. Dogs tend to be tolerant when it comes to experiencing any kind of pain. Consequently, they do not automatically let on that there is something wrong unless it is really causing them distress. Just like us, they may just feel slightly off but carry on with their day.
Causes of Headaches in Dogs
Since we do not know much about the headaches that your dog gets, then a vet will usually have to speculate about what causes them. Common causes can be much the same as they are for humans;
- High blood pressure
- Head trauma
- Dental problems
- Sinus congestion
- Tumors in the brain and even
- Incorrect use of leash
As there are no scientific tests that can be done on your dog to determine if your dog really does have a headache, you will need to look out for some signs and symptoms to help you work it out.
Symptoms of Headaches in Dogs
The following indications may signpost to you that your cherished friend suffers from a headache.
- Recurrent blinking
- Furrowed brows
- Eye Redness
- Nasal discharge
- A worried look
- Dull expression
- Unpredictable performance
Physical Signs of a Headache in Dogs
- Extra sensitivity to light or sounds
Where a headache makes your dog sensitive to light or sound, then they will usually favour hiding in a quiet, dark place like under a table or behind something. You may notice them looking at the sunlight with squinting eyes or behaving as if contact with light hurts their eyes. Your dog may be keeping away from any kinds of loud noise such as your television or playing children. Although you do need to keep in mind that some dogs are frightened of loud noises in general and this might not be a symptom of a headache in a dog.
- Hitting their head
Your dog will not understand why their head hurts if it does. Occasionally your dog might start rubbing their head onto furniture or other objects in the yard as they try to find a way to relieve their pain.
- Whining and whimpering
Whining and whimpering without any outward reason is usually a powerful sign that lets you know that something is wrong with your dog. This behavior in dogs should be thought of as being the closest thing to them trying to talk to you. Finding out the reason behind the whimpering is a tricky one though, is pain from a headache or from something else. Dogs will cry for all types of pain that they are experiencing. Where your dog will not let you pat their head, it may be a pointer that they are suffering from a headache.
- Wanting time alone
Dogs are usually lively animals and they enjoy the company of their human family no matter what is going on. They will always show interest in fun physical activities. However, when your dog unexpectedly shows a lack of curiosity in playing and instead is choosing to stay by themselves, it could be a sign that they have a headache.
- Sensitive to touch
As a dog owner, you may have seen how much your pet enjoys a good cuddle. But just like us when we feel ill, they may not want you to touch their head, it may be a powerful sign letting you know that their head is hurting. Your dog might even act out of character and show wary behavior when you try to approach them if they have a headache.
Dogs will undertake extreme panting at the time when they are experiencing pain. This symptom of a dog headache is quite a difficult one to distinguish because panting is entirely normal in dogs. Nevertheless, watch out to see if panting is occurring at unusual times like when your dog should be sleeping for instance.
- Refusing to eat
Who really wants to eat anything when a head hurts. This will, of course, be the same for your dog too. If your dog is in discomfort because they have a headache, they will be less likely to want to eat their normal meals. From time to time they will forget that they have any appetite and will not want their usual treats.
- Personality changes
Just like us, a dog might become moody when they are in extreme pain from a headache. Your loving dog may even turn hostile as they do not understand what is happening to them. Then again, some dogs might seem a lot needier and will try to get your attention much more than usual as they feel in pain and need your love.
Apart from headaches, almost all of these behaviors can point other illnesses in your dog like eye problems, allergies, high blood pressure or simple dehydration. If your dog displays these behaviors for just a few hours every now and then, you might not want to set up an appointment with your vet right away. The symptoms may just go away on their own. Yet, if any of these symptoms happen on a more frequent basis, then it might be an indication of a more complex health problem. Get to know your dog really well so you become the expert on what is normal for them. At no time ignore the signs that your dog is trying to show you when they are feeling unwell.
What To Do When A Dog Has A Headache
Do not panic. When you suspect that your dog has a headache, most loving owners find themselves wondering just what to do about it. No owner wants to see their dog in pain. If it is the first time that you have witnessed these symptoms that you think may indicate that they have a headache, and the pain seems moderate without causing too much distress, then it is perhaps best to simply wait to see what happens.
Similar to the headaches that we get, most dog headaches are probably benign. But, unlike us, dogs are not able to pop a painkiller to help them feel better. You must never give your dog pain relief that is not meant for them without first checking with your vet.
If you see that your dog is having headache-like indications frequently, and they give the impression that they are in a lot of pain all the time, you must visit with your vet as soon as you can. If your dog is having constant headaches, then they may be caused by an underlying medical issue which needs to be sorted out.
After a visit to the vet where they cannot find anything serious wrong, you are free to try other things to help your dog’s headache. Lots of dog owners endorse dog massage or alternative medicines and treatments like acupuncture. Even if you can massage your dog, if you are trying to treat a headache properly, then massage should be done by a skilled professional.
Many of these alternative treatments can be used to help determine if your dog’s headaches are triggered by an emotional or even by a physical problem. But, any alternative methods ought to only be tried once your dog has been given the OK from a vet.
Even though dog headaches are not something broadly accepted as existing by all veterinary professionals, it does just make sense that your dog might suffer from headaches from time to time just like we do. It is not known how common headaches are in dogs, as it can only really be a guess that your dog has a headache.
An occasional headache in a dog is not essentially anything for you to worry about too much. But, if it is a long-lasting problem, then you ought to have your dog checked out by a vet.