Dogs Who Head Press Should See A Vet ASAP. Recognizing This Behavior Could Save Your Dog’s Life

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If you notice your dog repeatedly pressing their heads against the wall, floor or other object for no apparent reason, your pet could have a dangerous medical condition.

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The behavior is called “head pressing”, and it is characterized by the compulsive act of pressing the head against something solid for extended periods of time.

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Head pressing generally indicates damage to the nervous system or a neurological condition or illness and it is very important that you take your dog or cat to a veterinarian for diagnosis.

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The causes of head pressing behavior can be varied, but may include:

  • prosencephalon disease (in which the forebrain and thalamus parts of the brain are damaged)
  • tumors (eg brain or skull)
  • liver shunt
  • toxic poisoning (e.g. lead poisoning)
  • metabolic disorder, such as hyper or hyponatremia (too much, or too little sodium in the body’s blood plasma)
  • stroke
  • encephalitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Many things can cause encephalitis. Infectious causes include bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and tick-transmitted disease).
  • hepatic encephalopathy (metabolic disorder as result of liver disease)
  • infection of the nervous system (rabies, parasites, bacterial, viral or fungal infection)
  • head trauma

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Head pressing should not be confused with a “headbutting”, where a dog or cat affectionately rubs against a person or other animal.

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headpress-3Source:dogheirs.com

Head pressing can be just one symptom among other behaviors and symptoms of neurological or metabolic distress. Other behaviors and symptoms can include:

 

  • constant pacing
  • walking in circles
  • face rubbing (pushing head into ground)
  • damaged reflexes
  • visual problems
  • seizures
  • getting stuck in corners
  • staring at walls

By recognizing head pressing and other neurologically-related symptoms in your dog or cat, you could potentially save their lives!

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