Do dogs have OCD?

Do dogs have OCD?

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Dogs do not suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD). They, however, do suffer from compulsive disorders. In dogs, compulsive disorders take the form of exaggeration of standard dog behavior. These happen for longer time periods and get repeated where they should not happen. A dog is said to suffer from a compulsive disorder if they show a trait in situations which is unfit for that kind of behavior. The list of such behavior includes tail chasing, barking, staring into nothing, toy sucking, fly biting, or sucking any part of its body.


These compulsive disorders happen due to stress, frustration, or conflict. When a dog encounters a stressful event, its body releases neurotransmitters as a part of its stress response. If a dog gets stressed or frustrated, it may do a normal behavior like holding a stick in its mouth to relieve the stress. If this behavior decreases its anxiety, then the dog will repeat this action whenever it gets stressed. The behavior gets ritualized in some canines.

The problem begins with the progression of compulsive behaviors and it gets steadily worse. The canine frequently performs the behavior with any kind of stressful event, and not only with the original trigger situation. This behavior can consume the dog's normal feeding an sleep habits. These behaviors can result in the dog getting injured as the impulse to repeat hat specific behavior gets stronger with time. To give an example, dogs who suck or bite its tails end up with the appendage being amputated. Skin infections are common in such a scenario.

Attention seeking

In many cases what is believed to be compulsive behavior is, in reality, a kind of attention seeking behavior. Your dog may have noticed that doing one particular activity will be rewarded by close attention. This can include negative attention too. If you find your dog executing a certain action and if you believe that this is being done to get your attention, it is possible to find out whether your doubt is true or not.

Leave a video camera in the room when you leave the house, Observe whether your dog exhibits identical behavior even if you are not at home. If it does not do the action, then your dog simply wants your attention. A few dog breeds like German Shepherds and Bull Terriers are predisposed hereditarily to compulsive behaviors. Labrador Retrievers exhibit a different kind of behavior like picking up objects and trying to eat them.

If you are sure that your dog suffers from compulsive behavior, then take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The professional will make sure that the behavior is not due to medical diseases and start treatment for the same.

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