Autistic Dog: Symptoms and Behavior

Roxy, a sweet pit bull terrier, was abandoned at a shelter in Los Angeles before she was paired with then 13-year-old Joey Granados, a teen with Asperger's syndrome. It was love at first sight!

Many people will associate dogs with loyalty, playful attitudes and excellent social interaction if compared to other species of animals. Besides, they are recognized for being incredibly intelligent. They can form bonds with either human or other dogs. Despite their inability to talk in human languages, dogs seem to be able to communicate with their owners. But what if your dog does not show any of this behavior? There is a possibility that you are petting an autistic dog.

Can dogs suffer autism?

If your dog does not show any of the normal social traits that other dogs do, it does not mean that your dog does not love you. Instead, it can be because your dog suffers from autism. Many of us think that autism can only happen to humans. However, similar symptoms can also occur in your pets as well. And this condition is called as a dysfunctional behavior.

People with autism will face difficulties in interacting socially, which will affect their relationship with the people around them. Their ability in communicating is also affected by this syndrome since they are usually not able to process emotions and also non-verbal cues.

The similar characteristics are shown in dogs with canine dysfunctional behavior. Unfortunately, the exact factors causing this disorder are not yet known. All those vets and scientists know is the fact that dog can be autistic. It is believed that autistic dogs do not have important neurons in their brain that are responsible to assist them to learn the social traits they should have. That is why these dogs cannot develop the needed skills for building a relationship with their masters.

The Common Symptoms of Autistic Dogs

It is rather hard to diagnose the autistic condition in dogs because there is very limited information about this syndrome. The number of tests that the vets and scientists do to measure how well the dogs will respond is not always concrete. Different from autism in human, dysfunctional behavior in dogs does not show a spectrum.

However, you are suggested to monitor your dog’s condition and bring them to vets if they show some of the common cues below.

  1. Minimal Interaction
    All of us agree that dogs are very socialize animals that can bond strong relationships with humans and other dogs. If your dog does not show any interest in building this kind of relationship, it can be a red flag. For example, he does not pay any attention to you during regular feeding times.
  2. Cannot “Communicate”
    Dogs with dysfunctional behavior tend to have flat personalities, which means that they are not able to show their anxiety, happiness, and other feelings. They usually stare in the same direction for a long time and do nothing. They also tend to avoid any eye contact with you.
  3. Lethargy
    Autistic dogs rarely go outside and play around. Instead, they prefer to stay at their usual place all day and do not show any interest in most of the things around that other dogs find to be interesting. If your dog is an active-type breed, but it tends to lounge around the whole day, it will be better to bring him to vets.


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