Why Is My Dog Pacing: 3 Reasons & How To Help Them

settle down stressed dog
Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you are a dog owner, especially of an older dog, you may notice them pacing at some point. As a pet parent, seeing your dog restless and unsettled or being unable to distract them or get their attention can be distressing. But what can cause dogs to pace? Read on to find out about the potential causes and what you can do to help.


Variable, but often moderate to severe

Table of Content

Key points

  • Pacing can be caused by stress or pain but also by neurological conditions affecting the brain
  • Your dog will need to be examined by a veterinarian and may need further tests
  • Your dog may need a referral to a behaviorist or a neurologist for investigation depending on the cause
  • Pacing can be related to a phobia or anxiety, so may happen at certain times of year e.g. firework season

Common in:

Symptoms and types:

Giving any human medication is very dangerous and should be avoided since dogs do not react to all drugs in the same way that humans do.

Understanding the diagnostics

Learning about the causes

1. Anxiety or stress

2. Pain

3. Neurological causes

If your dog also has any other symptoms like vomiting, a head tilt, or circling, you should speak to a veterinarian right away.

Best treatment options

Home remedies and their effectiveness

When to see a vet


Dr. Hannah Godfrey MRCVS graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011. Although she initially worked in mixed practice treating all species, she found a love for small animal work and has worked exclusively with dogs and cats since 2014. She lives in Wales with her partner, son, and two cats (named Poppy and Ashton Kutcher), and writes comedy fiction in her spare time.

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