Clinically referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), autism is a mental disorder that impacts the cognitive, emotional, and social well-being of a patient by attacking their nervous system. While this chronic disorder is becoming increasingly common among children today, there have been instances where dogs have been found displaying similar symptoms as well.
Could your little pooch be autistic as well? And how would you figure out if that were the case? In our blog today, we will attempt to answer all questions about the possibility of autism in dogs.
Autism in dogs: Truth or Myth?
As many of you might already know, the symptoms of autism are not like any ordinary disorder. Autistic patients have different triggers depending on the severity of its impact on their nervous systems. Some common symptoms of autism among humans include:
Inability to understand the emotions and thoughts of other people.
Fear of coming into physical contact with others, even those who are close to them.
Tendency to obsess over habit, routine, and at times random objects.
Getting nervous or anxious easily, particularly in public spaces.
Tendency to repeat words, phrases, or actions, such as spinning in circles and rocking their bodies.
If autism is common among us is it possible that our canine companions can have autism too? Many dog parents have noticed similar symptoms in their pets but it goes by a different name among dogs: Canine Dysfunctional Behavior (CDB).
Just like autism, CDB is also an idiopathic condition, where it’s difficult to pinpoint a root cause. Dogs who suffer from it are born with it, just like autistic children.
Symptoms of Canine Dysfunctional Behavior in Dogs
If you feel like your furred friend could be suffering from this disorder, here are some common symptoms to keep an eye out for:
Issues with communication
Most dogs have specific actions to express their emotions, such as wagging their tail when happy or barking continually to get your attention. But dogs who suffer from CDB are unlikely to follow these typical conventions because they struggle with communicating their feelings or emotions. They might also avoid being touched or petted.
If your dog suffers from CDB, you must be careful around them, especially in public places. Because of their social awkwardness, they tend to avoid making eye contact with other people or dogs and can seem absent-minded while walking with you. When approached by strangers, they can even behave aggressively as part of their defense mechanism.
Difficulty dealing with change in their environment
If there is one thing dogs with CDB resist, it’s any kind of change in their lives. It takes them a lot of effort to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. If they see new people or unfamiliar objects (generally large furniture or electrical appliances), their first reaction is retreating into a safe space to avoid confrontation.
Treating Canine Dysfunctional Behavior in Dogs
The first thing you need to know about CDB is that it cannot be fully cured. And even though there are ways to treat it, the impact can vary from dog to dog.That being said, the following are some effective ways of treating CDB.
Getting the help of experts
The first thing you need to do is contact your vet. Most vets are familiar with a number of therapies that can help dogs suffering from mental illness and can give you the support and training needed to manage them.
Provide your pets with a safe space
Stress is the leading trigger for all dogs suffering from CDB. This is why it is most important to provide your pet with a safe and comfortable environment, both at home and outside. Be careful about loud noises, sudden movements, and unexpected touches to prevent overwhelming them as far as possible.
Engage them in physical activities
Dogs with CDB often tend to spend their days lying around, avoiding too much movement or activity, which is highly unhealthy for them. Since any form of physical activity can help keep their stress levels in check, it is a great way of protecting them from triggers.
While chronic disorders like CDB cannot be cured with medication, there are certain medicines that can help calm your pets when they’re behaving aggressively or have been triggered. Your vet can help you with that.
With regular vet visits, the right therapy and medication, and above all, your patience and love, you and your pet can overcome the challenges that CDB poses.