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Help! My Senior Dog is Walking in Circles

Dog with head laying in the palm of a human hand

It is not a pretty sight to see having your older dog walk around in circles or just walk in a disoriented manner is disturbing. This habit is not to be confused with your dog circling 3 times before lying down or chasing their tales.

It may be a sign of something major is wrong with your senior dog and you should talk to your vet. To learn the reasons why your pet is now turning around in circles, just continue to read our article. It provides those reasons and an explanation you should be aware of.

Reasons Why Your Senior Dog Walks in Circles

1. Ear Infection

You can tell your dog has contracted this ailment by its continual head shaking, scratching its ears constantly, the ear smells bad, or it is swollen. The circle walking is an indication of a severe ear infection. Causes can be allergies, hypothyroidism, or immune system is compromised.

2. Injury or Pain

Scruffy dog with a bandage on one paw laying on a floor

Your dog may have recently suffered a head injury that causes it a lot of pain or that injury popped an eardrum throwing its balance off. If there is a lot of pain, you may see some indication of it through whimpering while they sleep, loss of activity and interaction with family members, or loss of appetite.

3. Brain Issues

This comes with several names one is brain inflammation, another is meningitis and the technical term is meningoencephalitis. Then necrotizing meningoencephalitis has circling as one of its main symptoms.

This ailment is caused by parasites, fungus infections, ticks carrying diseases. Talk to your vet to get the right treatment.

4. Canine Dementia

Portrait of a black chihuahua with a grey face

Not much is known about this disease, but it has circling as a common symptom. Other symptoms included disoriented, confusion, lack of alertness, aimlessness, and more.

5. Brain Tumor

There are a variety of tumors that will have your dog wandering around in circles. But this is something your vet needs to diagnose. Your dog may experience seizures as well when they have contracted a brain tumor.

6. Stroke

Close up portrait of a golden retriever

If you see your dog walking in circles it could be the result of a stroke. This trait may be accompanied by dragging legs, behavioral changes, limping, head tilt, and more. if you see these signs, get your pet to your vets office as soon as possible.

7. Ataxia

There are a variety of ailments using this name and to be more specific it is the Vestibular ataxia version that will cause your pet to walk circles. This disease affects the inner ear and brainstem and there may be an infection involved as well. If you suspect this is the source of your dog’s strange walking habit then take him or her to the vets for a check-up.

Why Do Dogs Walk in Circles Before They Die

Old brown dog with its head leaning near a pair of human legs wearing boots an jeans.

It is an emotional topic, but it needs to be addressed here. It is hard to see your senior pet walk in circles, but they do this to find a comfortable spot to die. While this is a common dog habit you should not associate this symptom with death when it can be a symptom of another ailment.

While it is hard to watch, it is perfectly normal for dogs to walk in circles when their life is almost over. When your dog is in his or her senior years it is best to do some research and learn about what to expect and what dogs do when their time is at an end.

Why Do Dogs Walk in Circles For Hours

Tan dog with a gray face walking on a beach on a leash

When your dog gets up in years, its habits may change a little. One of the reasons they may walk in circles is not because they want to get comfortable or look for that specific bathroom spot.

The real reason is that they are telling you they are experiencing pain. When you see your dog spending their waking hours’ circling, you need to get them to the vets as quickly as possible.

The symptom could be for something minor, or it could indicate something major is wrong with your dog.

Walking In Circles and Standing in Corners

Jack Russell Terrier standing in a corner

Another strange habit that is hard to watch. But when you do spot it, your dog may be telling you that they are disoriented or has contracted dementia. Take your dog to your vets and tell them what you have been observing.

That will help the vet make the right diagnosis.

Some Final Words

Portrait/ Head shot of a german shepherd against a brown background

When your senior dog gets seek and starts to walk in circles, it is very hard to witness. Sometimes this habit is normal while other times it may be indicative of a major illness.

When you see this trait take place in your dog, talk to your vet, and let him or her examine your dog. The faster your diagnosis the problem the faster your pet can get better.

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