Can A Dog Be Retarded? Things Every Pet Owner Should Know 

Can A Dog Be Retarded

As a pet owner, we try to keep our pets healthy, happy, and fit body-wise. When most people check up on their canine friend, it is to ascertain if they had eaten.

Many of us are good at knowing when our canine friend is happy, hungry, or unhappy. But what we forget is that dogs have brains. And as such, they could as well be prone to some mental health issues.

So, here’s what you need to know.

Is it possible for a dog to be retarded? 

Yes, dogs can be mentally retarded. They don’t have immunity over it. Dogs can have diverse mental disorders, just like humans, and there could be various causes. 

How it affects dogs and symptoms might not be the same as humans. But they do suffer abnormalities in their mental faculty. However, research conducted at Emory University reports that humans’ and dogs’ brains are very similar.   

Mental retardation doesn’t affect only canines. The brain is responsible for every animal’s intelligence. Therefore, any animal with a brain that is prone could suffer mental retardation. 

Do Dogs Ever Show Sign Of Mental Retardation

A mentally retarded dog is in grave danger. Its life could be blown away any minute. And that’s how severe mental retardation can be in dogs. It can be so extreme and cut the dog’s life short.

Now, can mental health issues be identified in dogs as in humans? The truth of is that mental health issues are very discrete. Most humans don’t even know they have mental retardation until diagnosed.

The one thing that sets humans apart and makes identifying mental health issues easier is that humans can speak. Humans can express themselves, which helps health practitioners identify the problem without too many tests.

Unfortunately, canines cannot express themselves this way. They cannot express how they feel unless you assist them. The painful part is that dog’s mental health issues are discrete. You would never know unless you observe the dog.

When a dog has a mental health issue, you will discover some slight changes to its behavior. These changes could be obvious too. So, if you find your dog behaving strangely, take it to the veterinarian for treatment. But get ready to explain how the dog behaves to the veterinarian to help to discover the issue a breeze.

How To Know If Your Dog Is Mentally Retarded 

Mental health problems, whether in dogs or humans, are a serious problem. They could be life-threatening in dogs. So, the sooner you detect such conditions in your canine friend, the better.

There are several ways to detect when your dog has mental problems.

You can spot mental disorders in your dog with careful observation. Since you have been with the dog for a while and know its behavior, you can tell if it’s behaving strangely.

Cognitive dullness is one of the things to look out for when observing your dog for mental retardation. Check if the dog is acting weird and having a problem recognizing its surrounding.

A dog with mental retardation may lack the free will to learn. The capacity to learn may also diminish. When called upon to perform a certain action, such a dog might take forever to respond. They may not even respond to the owner’s command because they have no clue.

Commanding a dog that won’t respond might seem like the dog is unruly. In fact, most dogs exhibit such behavior, even though they don’t have a mental disorder. So, there might be other reasons your dog isn’t responding to your commands other than a mental disorder.

However, if your dog responds super quickly when commanded in the past but doesn’t lately, you should be concerned. And the problem might be a mental disorder.

Staring into nothingness! Is your dog exhibiting this behavior? He keeps staring and behaving as though he’s thinking about the next political move the embattled U.S. president would make and the ways he, the dog, can change the world. Know that your dog has a mental disorder.

He seems unwavering and unemotionally. No fear, no love, and no interaction with the owner like he used to weeks back. He doesn’t play or connect with other dogs or kids in the house. Just sits there quietly with his head tilted to the ground or to one side.

Well, if your dog didn’t have a stressful day and you come home to find his head position this way, be sure to act as something is definitely wrong with his mental faculty.

Forgetfulness can also be a sign that your dog is losing it in his mental department. It’s easier to tell when a person is mentally deranged via his or her forgetfulness. They may not even know where the exit door is any longer.

Such a thing happens to dogs. You will find the dog looking for the exit door as if it has been moved to another different point in the home.

Your dog’s movement pattern can help you identify if he has mental retardation. If you spot him running or walking sideways, know something is wrong.

A psychological problem could also be responsible for your dog’s mental health problem. We all know that dogs, particularly young puppies, enjoy chasing after their tails. It’s normal for this to happen. But if this continues for long, then you should be concerned. If your older dog does this constantly, you don’t need any further explanation to know that it is OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Other signs of this behavioral disorder exist. Your canine friend could be chasing shadows or chewing on something unacceptable. It could be your soaks, shoe, or something else. If it performs this behavior constantly, just know your dog has a mental disorder.

What To Do Knowing Your Dog Is Mentally Retarded

No dog owner wishes their dog to pass through a mental health challenge. But this is life, and things happen. However, once you spot signs that your dog has mental retardation, then your first move should be to visit the vet doctor for further diagnosis.

The vet doctor would tell you what to do to help your dog get well. Nevertheless, it’s important for you to know that caring for a pooch in this condition would require some level of patience from you.

You need to show more love and affection to help your canine friend get well. And keep in mind that even though you may feel hurt, your dog is going through the worst. But with your help, he might be able to pull through.

A Handy Tip: It’s no longer news that humans and dogs share similar brains. Thus, signs of mental disorders as experienced by humans would be the same as for dogs’. So, with careful observation and understanding of the various mental retardations humans suffer, you can detect mental health issues in your dog before things get even worse.

Types Of Mental Disorder Dogs Experience

Let’s look into the various mental disorders that dogs might develop in their lifetime.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD is one of the common mental health problems in dogs. This disorder is also common in humans too.

It’s well documented that stray dogs are prone to this mental disorder, owing to experiences with their fellow dog, humans, or other attackers. Such dogs can react in diverse ways when put in similar conditions or pass through the same environment where the abuse happened.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Shivering
  • Barking

A dog with PTSD may want to escape if placed in a similar condition. Thinking about the experience in the past would make them want to escape to avert the same torture and agony.

What Causes PTSD in dogs?

PTSD in dogs is caused by trauma. When dogs experience a traumatic situation, the memory is automatically implanted in their brains.

When you take a dog with PSTD to the same environment where he had such a bad experience, he may react aggressively or defensively.

How can you treat PTSD in your dog?

You can treat PTSD in dogs. The process is not that difficult, and there are drugs you can use. But you must allow a veterinarian to do his or her job. Explain the symptoms you observe in your dog to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis.

After treatment, you still need to continue helping your dog. Help her to get familiar with the environment and build confidence.

Separation Anxiety – A Mental Disorder

Most dogs will suffer anxiety in their lifetime, particularly separation anxiety, considered popular among the others. The reason is that dogs need attention. They like having their owners around.

But when you leave for work, leaving a dog all by itself, separation anxiety may creep in. The dog doesn’t know when or if you’ll be back. And because of that, it may start panicking or acting aggressively. No one enjoys losing the company of a friend, not even a dog.

What are the symptoms of separation anxiety?

There are diverse symptoms of separation anxiety. These include frantically barking, yelping, and crying. Destructive behavior could also be a sign of this mental disorder. When you arrive home after spending hours away, you may most likely find chew marks on various items, such as your trash bin, show, or even door.

How can you treat separation anxiety?

There are no known drugs for treating this condition. You have to do the treatment via training. However, it’s important to start such training early.

Training your dog to understand and accept your routine will help you prevent separation anxiety. You can use a virtual hint to make the process successful.

You can hide a couple of treats somewhere to keep your canine friend busy. And if possible, you can assign someone to watch over the dog in your absence.


So, yes, dogs can suffer from mental retardation. They have the same brain as humans, and they could get retarded.

You can help your dog overcome these mental problems. But first, you need to understand the symptoms of mental retardation in dogs. If you observe that your dog is acting weird, take him or her to a veterinarian for help.

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