Diagnosing your dog with hyperactivity is something that vets will struggle with for a bit. No matter how much your dog jumps around and can’t sit still, genuine medical condition hyperactivity is something that is rare in dogs. Dogs are often busy and overactive, but they are rarely medically considered hyper. As rare as it is, it does happen. First the vet will rule out any other potential causes. Once he has ruled out all other possibilities, then he may diagnose your dog as being hyperactive.
It is very easy to mix up the medical diagnosis of hyperactivity with a dog that has normal levels of activity. Dogs are often extremely busy and active, and certain breeds in particular. Puppies, for example, are normally very active and hyper acting. Working type dogs such as the Spitz breeds are almost tireless in their activity, and can be mistaken for hyper. Keeping this in mind can ease your own mind as an owner of a dog that is active.
When you are talking about a dog that is medically hyper, they are literally unstoppable in their panting and heart rate. They are often pushing the very limits of their energy levels and don’t stop moving and working until they are simply exhausted. This type of hyperactivity is a serious problem for many dog owners.
What causes a dog to be hyperactive?
Medical and behavioral hyperactivity can be caused by many different things. Often, however, it is simply a matter of the dog not getting out enough. If a dog does not get a certain level of exercise, he will respond by being extremely hyper and nervous acting. All dogs need to get out and play, and not providing that will cause a hyper dog to go over the top. These dogs often become diggers, biters, runners and jumpers. They have all this energy and have no idea what to do with it, so it manifests itself in undesirable behaviors.
Dogs like attention, no matter how or what type of attention it is. If we fuss at our dogs for doing these things, they will likely repeat the behavior. Dogs love to be involved and engaged, and their training needs to reflect that. When they do something good, you have to engage them readily and consistently. This will help with all of the negative behaviors. Only pitching a fit when they are bad will lead to very bad things in the future for you and the dog. Work with them on the problems and praise them when they deserve it. It will pay off.
Like people, dogs can have a stress disorder. Anxiety in dogs is very common and they might show signs of hyperactivity as a result of this. When this happens, a dog has to be aided in calming down. They are not medically hyperactive.
Seizures are a rare cause of a dog acting out and being very hyper in nature. This is highly treatable with medicine and often cures the problem right away.
How to treat a hyperactive dog
The first thing you should do is consult with your vet. They are the professionals and they can best assess whether your dog is truly hyperactive or simply acting out behaviorally. They will assess the potential causes, observe the dog and decide what the next plan of action should be. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if you feel uncomfortable with their decision. Bringing video of your dog in their own environment at home can be very helpful if it is possible.
If the vet finds a medical cause for the problem, they can prescribe medicines that often help. Sometimes finding the right medicines will cure your dog of excess hyperactivity on the spot. Sometimes your dog is simply really active and you have to learn to live with it.
Most often, the dog will need more exercise and attention. Dogs that are hyper without a medical cause usually benefit a great deal from this type of modification. More stimulation in their lives will help to calm them down most of the time.