Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
dogs will circle around a spot before they settle down to rest. While no one can be certain of the exact reason why canines do this, the ritual is likely a residual habit from the days when wolflike dogs lived out in the wild, says veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Sueda, DVM, of the
VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital.
Your dog’s ancestors had to sleep outside, in the elements, without much warmth or safety. Walking around a spot was a way to stamp down grass, leaves or snow and create a soft, level surface — something akin to carving out a nest.
After she circles, does your
dog scratch at the bedding or carpeting before curling up? Just like circling, the digging action is probably an ancestral behavior related to staying safe and comfortable.
In extreme heat, digging a hole was a way to reduce a dog’s body temperature by surrounding herself with cool soil that could help regulate body heat. When it was cold — or even freezing — climbing into a hole allowed a dog to retain body heat and keep cozy.
So why haven’t our pampered house pets evolved away from these behaviors?
Don’t worry — circling is not a sign that your pet has heard the call of the wild. Adaptive behaviors tend to linger long after they’ve lost their usefulness if there’s nothing to discourage them or “select against the habit,” Dr. Sueda says.
Restlessness can be a sign of discomfort or even pain. If your dog is repeatedly circling and digging but can’t seem to get comfortable, she may have a health problem, such as
arthritis or neurological problems.
You should observe your pet to see if she’s having trouble getting up and settling down. If she’s restless, take her to the vet to rule out pain and get a proper diagnosis.
More on Vetstreet.com:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
As your cat gets older, he could be prone
to a number of health problems including
arthritis, cancer, heart disease…
We imagine texts our pets would send,
from asking what’s for dinner to warning
us to rent a steamcleaner.
Sloppy grooming, a higher-pitched meow and more wakefulness at night could mean it’s time to see the veterinarian.
Known for his excellent rat hunting
abilities, the Li Hua is an intelligent and
agile breed who hails from China.
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.