Disoriented Dog

The causes and treatments of a dog’s disorientation.

Note: Take precautions to avoid being bitten if the disoriented dog becomes aggressive.


Trauma: Blow to the head.

Infectious disease: Distemper, leptospirosis, rabies, or diseases that cause meningitis or encephalitis. Note: Never handle a dog who may have rabies. If possible, without touching the dog, confine him in a room, pen, or yard and call your local animal control for assistance.

Toxicity: Ethanol (alcohol), ethylene glycol, or anticoagulant rodenticides (warfarin).

Tumors: In brain or nasal passages (with extension into brain).

Congenital abnormality: Hydrocephalus, hepatic encephalopathy (due to abnormality of the blood vessels in the liver).

Drug reaction: Antihistamines, ibuprofen, or aspirin.

Nutritional disorder: Magnesium deficiency.

Miscellaneous disorders: Cognitive dysfunction.

What to do: If necessary, restrain the dog to prevent injury. If the dog is severely disoriented, has been injured, or has other signs that seem to be worsening, take him to a veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Have a family member or friend call ahead to let them know you’re coming. Otherwise, call your veterinarian during regular office hours to make an appointment for diagnosis and treatment. If you’re not sure what to do, call your veterinarian or emergency clinic for advice.

Disclaimer: DogChannel.com’s Dog Medical Conditions are intended for educational purposes only. They are not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your dog’s ailment. If you notice changes in your dog’s health or behavior, please take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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Dogs · Health and Care