Are you concerned because your dog keeps throwing their head back? Don’t worry, in this article we will explore seven common reasons for this behavior and provide seven possible solutions.
A dog may throw their head back due to various reasons such as fly catchers syndrome, petit mal epilepsy, neck or spinal problems, seizure activity, fleas or ticks, seeing something, or air scenting. Since it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of this behavior, consulting a veterinarian is the best solution.
The reason behind this behavior could be either normal or abnormal, depending on the circumstances. However, identifying the exact cause will facilitate the remedial process. So, let’s dive into the topic and explore potential solutions.
Why does your dog keep throwing its head back?
Important Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's instructions.
It feels so wired when a dog keeps throwing its head back.
I’ve seen some dogs suddenly started staring into space just like they are looking at something so interestingly for ages and started moving their heads backwards as far as they can.
Some canines do this so fast, while several of them do it at a slow pace.
So, what does it mean? Here are the possible reasons.
1. Fly Catchers Syndrome.
Perhaps the most suspicious cause is “fly catchers syndrome“, also known as “fly-snapping syndrome”.
This is a type of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder among canines which is quite a rare condition. In general, these dogs seem to be staring steadily at particular objects (or at least appear to be like that) located far away.
However, this fly Catchers Syndrome condition can also be seen in dogs with vision problems.
On the other hand, some canines behaving like they’re watching at flies (frankly, they’re imaginary) that are buzzing nearby their faces and attempting to bite them just like they do with real flies.
Usually, this fly-biting behavior is accompanied by the following.
- Constant barking.
- Excessively swallowing.
The bad thing is they can spend hours upon hours engaging in this behavior, which must be treated immediately.
2. Due to epilepsy.
If a dog started to keep its head throwing back, it could be some form of petit mal epilepsy condition.
When it comes to common symptoms of petit mal epilepsy in dogs, look for the following signs.
- Imaginary chewing.
- Flank sucking behavior.
- Vocalizing behavior.
- Tail chasing.
- Dazed behavior.
- Disoriented behavior.
Moreover, the dogs prone to petit mal epilepsy tend to stare into space for a while, it can be from a few seconds to several minutes, and they behave utterly normal as other canines do.
The problem here is though the symptoms mentioned above seem pretty ordinary for a canine, making the dog parents not care about them or don’t recognize them.
In addition, having epilepsy can lead to gulping attacks.
3. Neck or spinal problem.
If your dog suddenly starting to throw its head backwards, another possible unfortunate problem could be neck or spinal issues that are quite common among senior canines as well as puppies that tend to play roughly or engaging in strenuous activities.
If this is the circumstance, there is nothing you can do apart from consulting your veterinarian.
4. A seizure activity.
If your dog suddenly started to throw its head backwards along with uncontrollable body movements, imaginary flies or bugs biting, sniffing totally random things, and strange body movements, there is a higher chance to be seizure activity.
Be mindful of your dog and constantly check if this seizure behavior lasts longer than around 5 minutes; consider taking him to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
5. Due to fleas or ticks.
The areas like the back of the head and top of the neck are pretty difficult to itch; movements like throwing their head back can be considered usual for dogs that fall prey to fleas and ticks.
One thing to note here, though, having fleas or ticks isn’t directly correlated with this behavior.
However, the dog still needs veterinary attention as ticks or fleas can lead to many health issues.
By the way, here is what to do when a dog doesn’t let to remove ticks.
6. It really sees something or air scenting.
Another possible cause is that your dog sees something you cannot see. It can be due to their sharp vision, different height positions to the ground, or you really haven’t noticed that.
Perhaps, it can be a light reflection. Did you know that some dogs are afraid of light reflection and shadows?
Moreover, certain canine breeds like Bloodhounds, Basset hounds, Beagles, German Shepherds are dramatically scent-driven dogs that often prefer to sit in the backyard by holding the nose upwards in a consistent manner for a long time.
That being said, seeing something or air accenting essentially not defining this abnormal behavior. However, canines are compacts with tons of behavioral patterns that are required to closely observe in order to recognize.
7. Any other health issue.
If none of the above causes match your case, your dog may keep throwing its head backward due to an unrecognizable health issue.
So, consider meeting your vet as soon as possible.
What to do if your dog keep throwing its head back?
Although now you know the possible causes for this unusual behavior, this problem is somewhat difficult to treat as it may indicate numerous things.
So, there is no way you can apply home remedies for this strange behavior; even there are some home remedies, it can be a little dangerous as you can only examine the external symptoms, frankly, you are incapable of understanding what are the meanings of those symptoms as it requires years of expertise and knowledge in the veterinary space.
Therefore, the only option available for you is to meet your veterinarian as soon as possible to assess the conditions.
However, there are certain important things I can suggest to you to avoid such behaviors in the future.
Perform an eye examination: As I mentioned earlier, dogs with vision problems tend to imaginary fly bites, which are common among adult-senior dogs. Getting advice from your veterinarian is highly recommended. He/she will decide whether further medications or tests are required. However, you can get a small idea at home by doing a small activity. Hold your hand in front of the dog’s face. The distance between your palm and its face should be around 1.5 feet. Move your hands rapidly towards the eyes until it gets the distance around 3 inches and checks if the dog blink. If it doesn’t, your dog has vision problems.
Avoid seizure situations: Since sudden changes like changes in the environment, stressful conditions can cause seizure conditions in your dog, avoiding stressful situations, gradually introducing to new environments are worth considering. Moreover, it is vital to provide sufficient daily exercise, keep it in a healthy and balanced diet, constantly check blood sugar, and regularly meet the vet.
Don’t let your dog catch fleas and ticks: Fleas and ticks are certainly a massive headache for most dog parents. So, consider applying tick products, inspecting the property, making it dog parasites-free, constantly checking the dog’s body, regular grooming, and using home remedies like apple cider vinegar, citrus, and natural oils.
Things to be aware of.
You now seem to know the reasons why your dog keeps throwing its head backward and what to do about that. However, there are a handful of things you need to be aware of.
Don’t try home remedies: You will find dozens of home remedies if you search all over the internet with regards to this behavior. However, I strongly advise you not to apply them because it’s a considerable risk. This isn’t kind of an issue that can give solutions within seconds. It requires doing thorough tests, including even X-ray examinations for potential head or spinal problems.
Vet checkups: Don’t skip regular vet checkups for your dog’s well-being.
Check for symptoms: You are the one who knows perfectly about your dog. So, always be mindful of your dog’s body language and understand what is expected and what is abnormal. For instance, your dog’s nose should always be wet. If it’s dry, that indicates that your dog is unwell.
Exercising: Since performing wrong exercises or engaging in inappropriate activities may result in possible injuries in your dog, consider visiting your vet and getting advice to create a proper exercise schedule.
Diet plan: The same goes when it comes to preparing the right diet plan for your loving pooch.
Common among some dogs: Usually, puppies are extremely playful and would love to experience everything that they possibly can. So, it can be just normal happy behavior. Moreover, some dogs don’t prefer to have their heads touched due to past bad experiences. Also, your dog might be redirecting your hand to the specific area she wanted to be petted on. Moreover, dogs often do this 3-4 times in the morning when stretching their bodies.
Things can get worse: Since an issue like fly-catching syndrome is pretty hard to notice and rarely seen, many dog parents are inclined to unintentionally skip veterinary attention. If this happens, this problem may get worse as the dog gets older. So, something to be aware of.
Canines are known to display thousands of strange behaviors in the day to day life. So, have you ever wondered why do some dogs keep throwing their heads backward at certain times? Well, we’ve discussed 7 possible causes for that behavior and what you can do about that. Hope you found this helpful.