Head pressing in dogs

If you ever see your dog pressing their head against a wall or other object, document it — but not in the social media way. Keep track of how long and how often they do it. This action can signify a neurological disorder or other disease, like distemper.

Should I be concerned about head pressing in dogs?

Head pressing is considered an emergency. If you see your dog pressing their head against a wall or other hard object, take them to the vet right away.

What are the potential causes of head pressing in dogs?

Head pressing can be a symptom of a neurological issue. These are the potential causes, including non-neurological ones, and they should all be examined by your vet for treatment:

  • Nervous system infections
  • Head trauma
  • Brain swelling
  • Toxic exposure
  • Distemper
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Tumors
  • Poisoning
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative diseases

What are the different versions of head pressing in dogs?

Head pressing doesn’t have different versions. Typically your dog will press its head against or very close to a stable object for a long period of time. This is noticeably different to when they press their head up against your leg for attention.

What are the next steps and tests for head pressing in dogs?

At the vet, you can expect neurological tests to see why your dog is head pressing. Think things like an MRI, CT scan, or testing your dog’s reflexes. In addition, the vet may wish to do a blood panel and X-rays to rule out any other issues, like poisoning.

What other symptoms are often associated with head pressing in dogs?

Head pressing tends to present with other neurological symptoms. Those include:

  • Seizures
  • Slow reflexes
  • Visual problems
  • Pacing
  • Behavioral changes

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