Can Dogs Have ADD/ADHD?

by Naomi Millburn
    Overly hyper dogs are often stressed out and nervous.

    Overly hyper dogs are often stressed out and nervous.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    If you're a seasoned dog owner, you probably know too well the frustration of a canine going through a particularly hyperactive spell of behavior. While most dogs are susceptible to occasional bursts of high energy, some of them actually have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, which is also commonly called ADD or attention deficit disorder.

    Hyperactivity Is Not Always ADHD

    Dogs can indeed have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but the condition is highly uncommon in them. When pets become hyperactive, there often is an underlying cause that, if fixed, can reverse the problem. For example, hyperactivity is a symptom of an overactive thyroid. Meanwhile, dogs who don't get enough attention or physical exercise frequently resort to boisterous behaviors that can appear to be hyperactivity. Some dogs act hyperactive because doing so has gotten them desired acknowledgement from humans in the past. If you shower your pet with attention every time he runs through your house with manic energy, he might continue the behavior to get more of what he wants.

    Typical Signs of Canine ADHD

    If your dog gets plenty of interaction with humans, receives enough exercise and isn't nervous or anxious about something, then hyperactive behavior could possibly indicate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Look for key signs of the condition in your pet, including lack of focus, fierce behavior, problematic chewing, seemingly nonstop running, training problems, excessive barking, extreme restlessness, constant desire to play and salivation. Dogs with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also often have problems staying asleep for extended periods of time. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately for a checkup if you notice such symptoms.

    Puppy Stage Hyperactivity

    Hyperactive canine behavior is sometimes simply a matter of youthfulness. Puppies naturally are energetic and dynamic creatures, full of curiosity and liveliness. With the passing of time, however, their energy levels typically drop. Appropriate training also often helps. If your pet is older than 6 to 9 months in age and continues with the same sky-high energy as before, it's a smart idea to look into the situation. If your dog isn't a puppy anymore but continues ignoring your commands, mouthing and barking the day away, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could be the little guy's problem.

    Hyperactivity and Veterinary Assessment

    Only a veterinarian can truly answer whether a dog has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She can accomplish this through conducting tests on the hyper pooch. If it turns out that the dog does have the disorder, the vet will determine what course of management is suitable for the dog's specific needs.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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