It is hard to see your dog flinch as a loving dog owner. At the same time, it is confusing to see your dog startled when you reach to touch it. Is it something your dog has experienced in the past or is your dog just wired to behave that way? Why is my dog is flinching and acting weird? Let’s answer this first!
Why My Dog is Flinching?
Flinching is an impulsive and quick movement of the facial muscles or the body. A dog flinches in response to pain, fear, or surprise. Flinching can be caused by behavioral problems triggered by a certain fear in the dog’s life. It is caused by seizures or other medical problems like nervous disorders need to be carefully diagnosed and treated by certified animal medical professionals.
Flinching in your dog does not have to be caused by some underlying problem, but this behavior can be natural and harmless in the form of puppy periods.
Puppy Fear Periods
Puppies are very curious creatures and undergo a socialization period. This period starts when the puppy is 3 weeks old and continues until 11-12 weeks. The puppy familiarizes itself with sights, scents and interacts with other animals and humans. It is a critical period for a puppy’s development. During this stage, the puppy becomes sensitive and reacts to things that seemed previously normal.
First Puppy Fear Period
A puppy experiences its first puppy period when it is 8-11 weeks old. At this age, they are old enough to be adopted. So, it is the dog owner’s responsibility to provide the puppy with an interactive environment for it to thrive and boost its cognitive development. The puppy should be allowed to meet new people and explore new sights and scents. However, you should give the puppy its space and not overwhelm it with the pressure of interaction.
Second Puppy Fear Period
The second puppy feat period occurs when the dog is 6-12 months old. Small dog breeds have their puppy fear period earlier than large dog breeds. Dogs are large enough to be considered adults at this age. It might leave dog owners baffled that their dogs have suddenly started acting strange and impulsive. Your dog might start flinching at the movement of harmless objects. You don’t have to worry because the fear period will not go on forever.
Reasons For Flinching In Dogs
From emotional distress to shy personality, here are some reasons for flinching in dogs.
Your Dog Is In Pain
Pain makes dogs involuntarily flinch when they are touched or moved. The reasons for pain can be anything, but they are mostly medical problems like arthritis. Also, pain in the jaw or tooth can cause pain. Your pooch might be having temporary pain spikes due to a sickness or pain throughout the day. If you suspect that your dog is wincing because of pain, contact a veterinarian to know the exact cause of the pain.
Your Dog Has A Shy Personality
Not all dogs are socialized properly when they are puppies. As a result, they can develop a shy personality. Your pawfect friend has learned to live in his world and reacts by flinching when you introduce something new to him. For instance, your dog starts to flinch when you bring your friend to him. In such cases, dogs cannot figure out how to react, and they shy away from things. However, that does not mean that your dog is not confident because every dog is unique in its way.
Your Dog Hasn’t Been Socialized
It is the responsibility of the breeder and the dog owner to socialize a puppy properly. Puppies that have not been socialized are less welcoming and get confused in new situations. They need to have a positive and stimulating experience with objects, people, and other dogs to help them grow into confident adults. However, one of the reasons for the flinching of your dog can be his lack of socialization in his puppy days.
Imagine you can only see blurry images moving in front of you. You will most probably be startled. This is the case with dogs that have vision problems. Your dog might have poor eyesight due to old age. Dogs suffering from cataracts have a cloudy appearance in their eyes. Your dog might start bumping into furniture if he has cataracts. If you notice this, contact your vet right away, as matured cataracts can lead to vision loss.
Your Dog Is Having Mild Seizures
You might not know, but your dog might be having a mild seizure. Seizures can cause your dog to twitch and flinch. However, if you notice other symptoms of seizures such as loss of consciousness, drooling, or foaming in the mouth, call your vet as soon as possible. Seizures can cause permanent brain damage if they are not treated timely.
Your Dog Ate Something Toxic
Dogs have a habit of eating things that they shouldn’t. Your dog might start flinching as a reaction to something he has eaten. Onions or grapes can be toxic for dogs and cause flinching or drooling in your dogs.
If your dog has been in your care all along, you can rule out that your dog has been kicked or abused in the past. However, it has been reported that dogs have been mistreated at shelters. So, your dog might flinch due to fear of being kicked or mistreated.
What To Do If My Dog Is Acting Weird
There are many reasons behind flinching dogs, so you need to treat them accordingly. If your dog is shy or has not been socialized properly, then you need to seek the help of a canine behaviorist. Dogs flinching and wincing due to medical problems need to be taken to the vet for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
You should take your dog for regular checkups and keep your dog healthy by taking him out for walks. This will help release the excess energy and help your dog socialize with other dogs and dog owners.
Why is my dog is flinching and acting weird? No matter why your dog flinches, you should not panic and try to assess the situation. Your dog might be flinching due to excitement, but if this behavior repeats, take your dog to a veterinarian.