Any time you see a sudden change in your dog’s personality or behavior, such as growling or nipping from a dog that never did this, whining, pacing, or snapping at non-existent flying things in the air, your first step should be to take it to a veterinarian to be examined. Any time you have a sudden-onset of any strange or worrisome behavior in a previously normal dog, it is a red-flag to go see the vet, as there may be a physical cause of the problem.
Sudden Growling, Nipping or Biting
Dogs in pain will typically try to hide the fact that they are in pain, but when touched on or near the painful area they will become reactive and may snap or even nip or bite to protect it. If your dog has suddenly become irritable, moody, withdrawn or snaps, nips or bites when touched, these are sure signs for a trip to the vet, before you call me. When a dog has an injured limb, they will limp or favor it and you can clearly see they are in pain and where it hurts so a trip to the vet is obvious. But, when a dog is in internal distress or pain of some other kind, it is often difficult or impossible for you to spot. A dog can’t tell you it is in pain, or where it hurts, but its behavior and body language together will usually give you a clue that it is hurting instead of just suddenly being aggressive and lashing out.
Sudden Whining, Pacing, Lethargy
A physically healthy dog will typically not suddenly start to exhibit whining, pacing or extreme lethargic behavior. If your dog has suddenly started showing any of these behaviors over a very short period of time, it’s time to see a veterinarian first before you call me, as there is a strong possibility of an underlying medical cause of these behaviors. A good rule of thumb is that any time you have a sudden-onset of any strange or worrisome behavior, in a previously normally behaving, otherwise healthy dog, it is time to see the vet first, as there may be an underlying medical cause of the problem.