Dogs have a lot of peculiar habits, and the longer you have your dog, the more familiar you’ll become regarding why those habits are there in the first place. In other words, the longer you own your dog, the more you’ll get to know it, which means you’ll likely always know why it’s doing this or that, and what all of its mannerisms mean.
But if you’ve noticed your dog staring silently at the wall, this can be one behavior that is hard to figure out. Oddly enough, staring at the wall is not that uncommon for dogs, and although it can sometimes mean it has a serious medical condition, most of the time it is nothing to be overly concerned about.
If you’ve noticed your dog staring at the wall every now and then and you’ve wondered why in the world it’s doing so, it can be one of several reasons, including the following:
1 – Your Dog May Be Looking for Pests of All Kinds
If your dog is staring at a wall, ceiling, or door, it might be fascinated by critters such as ants, mice, or even termites. Sometimes, dogs get bored and are understimulated, and when this happens they usually manage to find something to keep themselves occupied.
This can include looking at pests of all types, and if you watch your dog’s behavior long enough, you might just find out which pests they are.
If your dog’s behavior persists and you want to know for sure what is living inside of your home, you should go ahead and call an exterminator so that the pests will be eliminated and won’t damage your home.
Your dog could also stare at walls when you’re outside on your deck or patio, because just like pests on the inside of your home, pests can be living outside as well. But again, keep an eye on your dog’s behavior and call an exterminator if you start to think this is the real problem.
2 – It Could Be a Focal Seizure
Not all seizures are extreme and involve the entire body. Focal seizures involve only one part of the dog’s body, and if you watch your dog’s behavior you can narrow down the reasons why it is acting so funny.
If your dog has a focal seizure, it may stare intently at the ceiling or look like it’s snapping at invisible flies.
How do you know if this type of behavior is a genuine concern? One way to know for sure is to try and distract the dog from the activity involved. If your dog simply cannot be distracted regardless of how hard you try, it could very well be suffering with this partial seizure.
In fact, the more difficult it is to tear your dog away from this type of behavior, the more likely it is that it has had a focal seizure.
Of course, only your vet can determine for sure if your dog has had this type of seizure, so a trip to the vet’s office is the first thing you should do when your dog is exhibiting this very odd behavior.
3 – It May Be Just a Compulsive Disorder
Both bored, understimulated dogs and stressed-out, overactive dogs can develop a compulsive disorder, mostly as a way to have something to do. Staring into space is one of the symptoms of this illness, as are symptoms such as chasing lights or shadows, chasing their tails, or even constantly licking their tails.
Fortunately, this disorder will not really harm the dog. Your dog is mostly doing it just to get attention. When dogs are bored or overstimulated, they want attention, including the type of attention they can only get with a compulsive disorder.
Once they are given something to do without it being too much, this behavior should disappear just as easily as it started.
4 – Head Pressing
Head pressing is not all that uncommon in dogs and involves them standing very close to the wall, staring at it, and keeping their heads close to it as well.
Oddly enough, this condition indicates that there is damage to some of their organs, in particular their liver. When a dog’s liver isn’t functioning properly, it can produce high amounts of ammonia, and this in turn can cause intoxication of the brain.
Just like other ailments, this one can be confirmed by a vet, so if you notice this type of behavior, a trip to the veterinary clinic is required. Only blood work from a qualified vet can determine for sure that your dog has this illness.
5 – Your Dog Is Getting Older
Just like humans, dogs can suffer various cognitive problems as they get older, and this includes illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. The canine version of Alzheimer’s is called canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome, or CDS, and the only way to know for sure if your dog has it is to take it to the vet.
Other symptoms that might mean your dog has this ailment include staring into space or even at the ceiling, getting stuck into corners, wandering around aimlessly, not participating in the activities it used to love, trouble recognizing people who are familiar to it, a set-back in potty training, and starting to sleep more during the day while becoming more active and restless at night.
Fortunately, if your dog does have dementia or CDS, the good news is that the progression can be slowed down if the illness is caught early on, so the sooner you take your dog to the vet, the sooner you’ll know for sure if it’s ill.
6 – Miscellaneous Conditions
Naturally, there are a few other conditions your dog might be suffering with, including depression, a brain condition known as prosencephalon disease, problems with its balance due to vestibular disease, or even one of several very rare diseases that dogs sometimes get.
Most doggie conditions have many different symptoms, and because staring at a wall or ceiling is a symptom of many of these conditions, only a vet will be able to tell you why your dog is doing this in the first place.
Whether your dog needs medication or specialized treatment, your vet will make sure your dog gets it, and it will leave you with the peace of mind you need and deserve as a pet parent.
Dogs exhibit strange behaviors occasionally, and if your dog is staring at the wall, ceiling, or the corner of the room on a consistent basis, there could very well be a problem.
While some of these problems are easy to get rid of, others are more serious, but regardless of how minor the behavior seems, if it becomes a regular occurrence your dog will need a trip to the vet’s office.
Fortunately, most of these ailments can be slowed down or controlled if caught early, which is why a comprehensive medical exam is what your dog should receive first if it’s exhibiting any of these behaviors.
These problems are easy to diagnose and easy to treat, especially if caught early, which can give you a lot of peace of mind as a pet parent. Let’s face it, keeping your furry family member healthy and happy is a very important part of your life, so paying close attention to your dog’s behavior and taking it to the vet’s office whenever you notice something peculiar is part of your job.
If your dog exhibits these behaviors once or twice, there likely isn’t anything for you to worry about. But once the behaviors become a habit and your dog is constantly staring at parts of the room, you should get it to a vet right away.
Only a vet can diagnose the problem, if any, so that you can get your pet the help it needs to get better. Even if a certain behavior seems minor, it’s better to be safe and bring your dog to the vet than to be sorry in the end.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.