Behavior Problems – Bad Dog or Bad Health?

We’ve all been there. A typically well-mannered dog all of a sudden snaps at somebody or another animal. Or perhaps they are refusing to obey a command. The challenge for a pet owner is to determine if the behavior is the result of a naughty dog or a sick one. And this can be tough for a variety of reasons, from the simple point that a dog cannot talk and tell us how they are feeling to the fact that some dogs are not perfectly obedient at all times to begin with.

The good news is that most of us are pretty in tune with our pets. We are able to sense behavior that is out of the ordinary. The hard thing to figure out is why. Does the animal feel ill? Do they have a sore spot or bruise? Are they scarred or excited for an environmental reason such as being in a strange place, loud noises or unfamiliar people?

Here are some things to look for if your dog is acting strangely that may point to illness:

  • Chewing or licking in one spot.
  • Defense of an owner touching a particular spot.
  • Reluctance to lay down or sit.
  • Eating grass, rocks or other non-food things.
  • Excessive whining.
  • Excessive pacing.
  • Going to the bathroom indoors.


Remember, if in doubt about your pet’s health, it’s always best to ask the vet.