Why Is My Dog Walking In Circles?

As you know, a normal dog doesn’t typically walk in circles. This only occurs when he is preparing to urinate or defecate. Also, it may occur when your dog is drawn by a smell or another animal. If you notice your pet walking in circles without any such reason for it, you need to immediately figure out what the cause is. Keep reading this article, we will discuss this problem.

Why Walking in Circles Occurs in Dogs

Physical Causes

If you see your dog suddenly walks in circles while he always displayed normal behaviour, you need to take him to your vet. Walking in circles is a sign of a secondary medical problem. Indeed, it may be caused by discomfort, pain, or itching in the tail area, back end, or hind legs. Potential causes may include pesky parasites, anal gland problems, or skin infections.

Neurological Causes

If your dog is in a trance, almost as though he’s in another world, he may walk in circles to handle a nervous system disorder that he can’t control. Sometimes, this problem may be caused by seizures or other forms of brain dysfunction. Other possibilities include an infection of the middle ear, head trauma, and distemper.

Behavior Causes

If you notice your furry friend is repeatedly walking in circles without a purpose, your pet may be facing a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. Well, dogs can suffer from OCD. However, don’t worry! You can consider anti-anxiety medication in order to help your dog learn a substitute behavior for the obsessive-compulsive one.

Other Causes

Even for dogs that are domesticated still can exhibit behaviors reminiscent of their past in the wild. If your dog is walking in several circles before he lies down, he may do this since his ancestors needed to stamp down grass, snow, or leaves in order to create a comfy place to sleep.

Some dogs may be running in circles when they are aroused, especially for some high-strung fellows.  Puppies also enjoy walking in circles since they are excited with an occasional game of spinning in circles.

What to Look For

It’s hard to turn in the direction opposite for dogs who have neurological reasons for circling typically. You should begin your investigation by trying to get your dog to turn away from the direction where he’s circling. Then, it’s time to conduct a neurological exam. This exam should include an evaluation of your dog’s ears, eyes, limbs, and spine.

What to Do

If you think your pet may have a problem that leads to walking in circles, you will need to perform a couple of tests. First, you need to distract your pet. Then, encourage him to move in the opposite direction. Actually, some kinds of neurological issues, so your dog can’t change direction with ease.

Next, you need to check your pet’s eyes. One with no brain issues will be able to focus easily on things. If you check your dog, and he can’t focus, you will have to check if he has an inspection for brain injury.

Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

Did your exam reveal evidence of an ear infection?

If yes, the circling may be caused by the imbalance that sometimes is from an acute middle ear infection. Then, you need to ask your vet for the right course of action. And, your vet can help you deal with the circling behavior.

Did your exam uncover any eye asymmetry?

According to different pupil sizes, a veterinary neurologist can be able to handle neurological problems best.

Did everything seem relatively normal?

If yes, this problem may just be a behavioral issue. And, you can deal with it over time. Also, you can ask a behavioral specialist for help.

Prevention of Walking in Circles

If you want to prevent infection occurring in the ear, it’s best to do annual check-ups. Also, it’s essential to clean of the ears. This way can help to at least decrease the chance or your dog receiving an infection due to mites, wax buildup, and injury.

In addition, there are vaccinations and blood work in the annual wellness check. They purpose to prevent or diagnose early a potential health issue. Although it’s not easy to protect your pet at all times, you should monitor your pet when outside so you can know any head injuries he may suffer from. This purposes to catch any primary or secondary issues early. Then, you can take your pet to the clinic for treatment when needed.

Cost of Walking in Circles

If your dog suffers from an ear infection that is causing him to walk in a circular pattern, you may have to pay an average $450 for the treatment.


To wrap it up, we’d like to let you know a dog’s circling behaviour may easily be caused by recent head trauma. In fact, these effects can lead to something significantly worse. Therefore, it’s important for any pet owners to seek the immediate attention of a veterinary neurologist whenever your pet exhibits even the slightest behavioral abnormality after the head trauma.