Can Dogs Have Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Author, Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Whether you have children or not, chances are you’ve heard the rumblings amongst parents and medical professionals when it comes to hyperactivity (ADHD) in human children. Yes, there’s no doubt that many children genuinely suffer from ADHD, but some parents and professionals alike believe that too many are diagnosed with the problem simply because they are overly energetic, leading to unwarranted treatment. Similarly, there are some dogs who seem to have endless energy – they can’t seem to relax, can be destructive, and tend to whine a lot. So, is it possible that dogs can suffer from ADHD, too?
Yes, ADHD can be diagnosed in dogs, but it is extremely rare. In most cases, a dog identified as hyperactive is actually just bored, seeking attention, or anxious. Many first (and even second) time owners don’t understand just how clever dogs are, and that they need something to do with their brain, and a way to use up their often boundless energy. Without the proper, sufficient physical and mental stimulation, they aren’t likely to feel settled or relaxed.
This is particularly the case if your dog is of a working or herding breed, such as a shepherd or retriever. Dogs that were bred for a working career have huge energy levels and they need a job to do.
So, what can you do if your dog is driving you crazy with his hyperactive behavior, and you suspect he may have doggy ADHD?
- Make your pooch an appointment with your veterinarian. Have your vet determine if your dog is suffering from anxiety.
- This isn’t uncommon in dogs and if it can certainly have a negative affect on your much loved canine companion, but there are things you can do to help. Your vet may refer you to a specialist veterinary behaviorist for treatment.
- Increase your dog’s amount of daily exercise.
- Dogs get an endorphin rush from exercise just like we do, but only with high intensity activity. This means a casual walk won’t make him feel better. Rather, get his heart rate up by taking him jogging or playing ball in the yard until he is panting and at ease. Be mindful of the weather and don’t overdo it in the heat. And, always have water on hand to ensure he doesn’t become dehydrated.
- Give your dog a job.
- Consider registering him for obedience classes or agility training. Maybe teach him how to catch a Frisbee, or a water sport such as retrieval or diving. Simply teaching him new tricks will help stimulate his mind. Even if your dog is well behaved and doesn’t need to learn any manners, on-going training will make him think harder and leave him mentally fatigued and calmer.
- Teach your dog to settle and calm down by training him to go to and remain quietly in his spot (for example, his bed or a crate).
- This is where a good dog trainer can help you, but make sure you do your homework – choose a trainer with experience in working with active dogs, and only use positive methods to teach your pooch how to relax.
If you invest the time and effort in changing your dog’s behavior, he will be calmer and more relaxed, and so will you!
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About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
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