Dog owners are not surprised if the pet is seen walking in circles as this behavior is common in dogs. The modern day dog’s habit of walking in circles is a carryover trait from their ancestors. This evolutionary holdover is believed to be the primitive dog’s way of making the bed comfortable. Dogs that survived in the wild would bed any where – on the snow, on vegetation or on hard ground.

Walking around in circles to trample the vegetation will make the sleeping area more comfortable. This behavior is also associated with self preservation. Walking in circles before lying down is done to ensure that no poisonous insects or snakes are hiding in the sleeping area. Walking in circles is also done to make sure the chosen bedding area is safe and that they will not be attacked by predators while they are sleeping. A dog owner would know what must be done if the pet starts to walk around – the dog has to be allowed to go out stat otherwise it would make an accident inside the house.

Being social animals, dogs would always want to interact with the family. A dog putting on an act to entertain the family may tilt its head or turn around in circles. Most dogs (and even cats) would be seen walking around in circles. Dogs are noted to walk around in circles before lying down or before doing their business but if these are not the reasons for walking around in circles , a pet parent has to be concerned as it is highly probable that the dog has an underlying health concern.

A dog with an injured inner ear will lose its sense of balance given that the ear is one of the balance centers of the body. Ear mite infestation and ear infection that severely damage the ears can be the reason why the dog is walking in circles. Pet antibiotics and ear washes can make the dog walk in circles if these medications and formulations have a negative effect on the dog.

Canine distemper, systemic lupus erythematosus and vestibular diseases are other medical conditions that will make the dog walk in circles. The cerebellum, an area in the brain plays the important role of controlling balance and voluntary movement. A dog with a tumor in this area can lose coordination and sense of direction so that the dog will walk in circles.

Why do dogs walk around in circles? Sarah’s Dogs have more answers to this common dog behaviour as well as information on dog first aid.

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