Do Dogs Get Headaches? What If Your Animal Is 'Head Pressing' for No Reason?

Posted by Christy Caplan
Sick Dog

Can a dog get headaches?Head pressing is an alarming behavior and if you see your dog behaving this way it's important to see a vet immediately. Its unfortunate dogs cannot tell us their head hurts and instead they might rub their head or hold their head against the wall, furniture, or even you for no reason at all.

They may rub their eyes on the carpet. This behavior may indicate their pain is from toothaches, eye dysfunctions, allergies, head injuries--but, head pressing is likely very serious and needs medical attention immediately. 

As a Certified Veterinary Technician, I've heard from pet owners that head butting is a behavior they immediately knew wasn't normal behavior and decided to come to see their vet. When your animal is behaving this way, it's evident there is a problem. Although it's easy to think they may be having vision problems or something that doesn't seem as serious as a neurological problem. That's why this issue needs awareness so spread the word!

PetMD.com tells us,

"This generally indicates damage to the nervous system, which may result from a number of causes, including prosencephalon disease (in which the forebrain and thalamus parts of the brain are damaged), and some types of toxic poisoning."

Experts say to look for additional symptoms including abnormal vocalization, compulsive pacing and circling, disorientation and behavior changes.

Here's what you need to know.

Causes of head pressing are serious

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Attention, this is not a game nor funny! If you ever see your cat or dog doing this, you need to take them urgently to the vet. Some owners may find this behavior funny but it has a medical reason. . . It's known as Head Pressing. Cats and dogs do this when they are suffering from a terrible headache. They are suffering so much that they need to press their head against the wall. Head pressing is a condition characterized by the compulsive act of pressing the head against a wall or other object for no apparent reason. This generally indicates damage to the nervous system, which may result from a number of causes, including prosencephalon disease (in which the forebrain and thalamus parts of the brain are damaged), and some types of toxic poisoning. This condition can affect dogs of any breed or age-range. . . The act of head pressing is just one sign of prosencephalon Disease. Other symptoms that may accompany this include compulsive pacing and circling, changes in learned (trained) behavior, seizures, damaged reflexes, and visual problems. Some of these symptoms may lead to lesions, for example, sores on the feet as a result of compulsive pacing, or injuries to the face and head as a result of pressing the head against a surface for long periods of time. . . Please seek immediate veterinary care if you ever seen your cat or dog doing this! . . #headpressing #headpressingcankill #medicalcorner #themoreyouknow #notagame #MidAmericaBostonTerrierRescue #MABTR #BostonTerriersOfInstagram #RescueDogsOfInstagram #WhoRescuedWho #RescuedIsMyFavoriteBreed #BostonTerrierLove #BostonTerrierCult #BostonTerrierLife #BostonTerrier #AdoptADog #Rescue #Foster #FosterDog #FosterDogsOfInstagram #DogRescue #BostonTerrierRescue #AdoptABoston #BostonTerriersForever #RescuedBostonTerrier #AdoptDontShop #AdoptFosterRescue #FlatNoseSociety #ItsABostonThing

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This is an extremely serious list of potential issues and clearly, it's time to see the vet!

  • toxic poisoning
  • brain tumor
  • liver shunt
  • metabolic disorder
  • prosencephalon disease
  • encephalitis
  • infection of the nervous system
  • stroke

Symptoms to watch for

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Re-sharing an old post of ours this morning for various reasons. Dont ignore these signs in a dog! 🔴SHARE THIS POST IT MAY JUST SAVE A DOGS LIFE🔴 The causes of head pressing behavior can be varied, but may include: •prosencephalon disease (in which the forebrain and thalamus parts of the brain are damaged) •tumors (eg brain or skull) •liver shunt •toxic poisoning (e.g. lead poisoning) •metabolic disorder, such as hyper or hyponatremia (too much, or too little sodium in the body’s blood plasma) •stroke •encephalitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Many things can cause encephalitis. Infectious causes include bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and tick-transmitted disease). hepatic encephalopathy (metabolic disorder as result of liver disease) •infection of the nervous system (rabies, parasites, bacterial, viral or fungal infection) •head trauma #dog #dogs #dogsofinstagram #englishminaturebullterrier #minibullterrier #adopteddog #dogs_of_instagram #englishbullterrier #vet #advice #fosterdog #englishbullterriersofinstagram #bullies #ebt #bully #staffordshirebullterrier #sbt #bullbreeds #walkies #dogbreeds #headpressing #headpressingcankill #pets #pethealth #headpressingisaneurosign #dogsinneed #rescuedogs #rescuedogsofinstagram #savealife

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Dr. Becker explains there are additional symptoms to looks for,

There are other symptoms depending on the underlying cause of the problem.

"There can also be problems with balance, disorientation, behavior changes, visual problems, seizures and trauma to the head or eyes from the head pressing."

Treatment options depend on the diagnosis

The overall care will depend on the diagnosis your vet shares with you after diagnostic tests. Any condition considered severe will require hospitalization and immediate treatment. 

Have you ever seen a dog that displayed this type of behavior? Please let us know and comment below. 

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Do Dogs Get Headaches? What If Your Animal Is 'Head Pressing' for No Reason?