Can dogs have ADHD? animals have many behaviors whose root causes are hard to find. Many folks wonder if their hyperactive dog has ADHD. But how do you know if your dog has ADHD or just an excess of energy?

Can dogs have ADHD


Can dogs have an attention deficit disorder?

Research suggests that dogs may have ADHD, although it is not common.

A study from the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center analyzed the blood components of hyperactive and non-hyperactive dogs. The team, led by Professor Hannes Lohi, analyzed blood metabolites, small molecules in the blood, in both types of dogs.

They discovered something interesting: hyperactive dogs had abnormal results in metabolic blood tests. There was a link between hyperactivity and the lowest level of phospholipids in the blood.

This finding is notable because in humans, “several studies have recorded lower levels of lipids and fatty acids in the blood in ADHD patients than in the control groups,” says Ph.D. student Jenni Puurunen, a researcher on the study.

Can dogs have ADHD
Can dogs have ADHD

Does my hyperactive dog have ADHD?

Your high energy, the pet ​​may have ADHD, but a diagnosis is much less likely than other causes of hyperactivity. Before deciding that your dog has ADHD, ask yourself if any of these could be the cause of hyperactivity:

Boredom Has your pet been left alone for a long period, of time with minimal stimuli? Maybe you had a particularly long workday or have been doing errands all day. Hyperactivity is a common reaction to old-fashioned boredom. Consider your dog having some puzzle toys to keep them mentally stimulated when you can’t play with them.

Recent encouragement: On the other hand, did you recently take your dog for a walk? Some dogs get excited with exercise and may act more hyperactive when they return. If this is the case, try to schedule some payback time after the walk to extract the rest of your dog’s energy.

Not enough exercise: Another possibility is that your dog is not getting enough exercise. You may have heard the expression (a tired dog is a happy animal). It is necessary to tire your dog with a good amount of exercise for some breeds, especially if the dog is young. If you suspect that your dog is not exercising enough, try to increase your walking time or schedule some regular trips to the dog park, and see if your dog’s hyperactivity is affected.

Socialization is not enough A 1961 study found that dogs that were raised in semi-isolation (exhibited excessive social contact behavior when they were given limited access to other dogs,) according to Whole Dog Journal. This finding indicates that little dogs may need a certain amount of socialization with other little dogs. If they fail, they can become hyperactive when you do see another dog

Can dogs have ADHD
Can dogs have ADHD

Causes of ADHD in dogs

As the previous study indicates, ADHD in dogs seems to be related to lower levels of phospholipids in the blood. The study also showed a negative correlation between hyperactive behavior and metabolite levels of tryptophan, an amino acid.

Professor Lohi, who led the study, says that hereditary and environmental factors contribute to behavioral disorders such as ADHD, which makes them difficult to study. We cannot name a specific cause of ADHD, but we know that both types of factors play a role.

Signs of ADHD in dogs.

Like humans, dogs with ADHD show:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsiveness
  • A tendency to get distracted easily

However, it is important to keep in mind that, although these behaviors can indicate ADHD, they are also quite common dogs behaviors that can be symptomatic of many different causes (as we mentioned earlier).

Can dogs have ADHD

Dog treatment with ADHD

It is quite difficult to determine if your dog really has ADHD. You will definitely have to take them to a veterinarian to talk about all the possibilities and all your treatment options.

If a veterinarian determines that your dog does have ADHD, the treatment is similar to that of ADHD in humans. A dog with ADHD may be prescribed a stimulant that, even if it seems paradoxical, will help him feel calmer and focused.

MORE: Medicine to calm a hyper dog

If your dog is prescribed ADHD medications, your veterinarian is likely to recommend some type of training and possibly some lifestyle changes (for example, more exercise or more mental stimulating toys).

If it is determined that your dog does not have ADHD, do not worry: there are still medications that can help with hyperactivity. These medications, in addition to training and behavior modification, can help your dog a lot (and by extension, you).


Research suggests that dogs may have ADHD. However, ADHD in dogs is rare. Before diagnosing your dog, take it to the veterinarian and consider other possible causes of hyperactive behavior. Whether your dog has ADHD or shows hyperactive behavior for other reasons, some lifestyle changes and behavioral changes will greatly help.

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