The most basic medical causes of dog aggression may seem obvious:
- Painful joints
- Injured muscles or limbs
- Sore or aching gums and teeth
- Upset stomach
- Loss of important senses, such as hearing, sight, or smell
- Hormonal complications, such as hypothyroidism, which may result in overly-protective behavior around food
In other cases, the health issue may be neurological. Several conditions can cause inflammation of a dog’s brain, which could create neurological difficulties. This change can make a dog more lethargic, but it can also cause the dog to become more anxious or aggressive.
Health conditions that may instigate neurological disorders, resulting in canine hostility, include:
- Head trauma or brain trauma
- Brain tumors
- Epilepsy, or any form of seizure
- Bacterial or viral encephalitis
- Hydrocephalus, which is most common in short-nosed breeds
- Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, which is frequently a result of age-related neurological degeneration
Unfortunately, dogs cannot tell their owners, “Ouch! I hurt my leg running up those stairs!” This is why it is so important to keep a close eye on canine health. Behavioral changes can occur for a long list of reasons. Many dogs simply feel increased anxiety during new experiences. If behavioral problems aren’t strictly medical, the best option is to work with a friendly and professional trainer.
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