Dog Runs Restlessly Through The Apartment | Best 11 Reasons

Dog Runs Restlessly Through The Apartment | Best 11 Reasons

If dogs are constantly walking restlessly through the apartment, this can be a sign of excess energy, stress, anxiety, or longing. In some cases, dogs also wander around at night because they suffer from dementia, arthritis, or torsion in the stomach.

Occasional and short walking around is usually no cause for concern. If, on the other hand, your dog wanders back and forth every day and for a long time, this can indicate existing diseases.

Here is a rough overview of the most common causes:

Possible causesMost Affected Dogs
DesiresBitches in heat + sensitive breeds
StressDogs that need a lot of attention + lap dogs
DementiaDogs over 10 years old
Racial BehaviorGuard dogs + Great Dane species
FearSmall dog breeds + sensitive dogs
Stomach torsionLarge dog breeds
Excess energyShepherd dogs + hunting dogs + city dogs + apartment dogs
ArthritisBig dogs + old dogs
Hear or smell somethingSniffer dogs + guard dogs
Increasing blindnessOld dogs + sick dogs

So let’s take a closer look at the causes.

Are you worried or unsure? Then click here to start the live chat with a veterinarian.

1. Desires

With very sensitive dogs, the longings are often so strong that they run back and forth restlessly. Potential triggers are here:

  • Strong sex drive – eg when bitches are in heat
  • Bowel movements – eg if the dog suddenly gets diarrhea and has to go outside
  • The master – eg when the master is not at home
  • Strong hunger – eg if the food was forgotten
  • Favorite toy – eg if the favorite toy is in the garden
  • Attention – for example, if the otherwise daily cuddle session did not take place

By far the most common cause here is a strong sex drive. The only thing that helps here is castration. Because this greatly reduces the production of sex hormones.

Unneutered males are horny almost all the time. Unneutered bitches, on the other hand, only come into heat every 6 months for around 3 weeks.

If your dog is pacing restlessly near the front door, it is usually waiting for a specific person.

A dog camera or recording with a cell phone can help to find out the exact cause. After that, all you have to do is satisfy the longing.

Longings such as a strong sex drive, the master, or hunger can lead to dogs running around restlessly in the apartment. The solution here is to identify the corresponding cause and satisfy the longings.

2. Stress

Constant wandering can also indicate emotional or environmental stress in dogs. Possible triggers are:

  • Severe weather – eg upcoming storms, thunderstorms, or hail
  • Noise – eg fireworks or noisy trains
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder – e.g. violence in upbringing
  • Mourning – eg after separation from the mother
  • Vet – e.g. before or after a visit to the vet
  • Threat to territory – eg if your own basket smells of other animals

If there is no recognizable trigger, this could also indicate the so-called “Cushing’s syndrome”.

Here, a brain disorder causes the dog to produce too much of the stress hormone “cortisol”. Affected dogs also often run restlessly through the apartment.

When dogs are under severe stress, they usually show other symptoms:

  • Constant panting
  • Unusually strong hair
  • Nervous behavior
  • Tremors

The following measures can help to reduce stress:

  • Give your dog more time and attention
  • Go for two long walks a day
  • Reduce any noise

All lap dog breeds are the most sensitive to stress. Because they are considered to be particularly sensitive and trusting.

Severe or chronic stress often leads to restless pacing in dogs. Typical causes here are an upcoming storm, noise, or grief. In almost all cases, more attention and physical and mental activity help.

3. Dementia

According to studies, around 28% of all 11-12-year-old dogs suffer from dementia. With 15 and 16-year-old dogs it is even a whopping 68%. 

Affected dogs are more likely to run around at night, simply forgetting that this is their home. Other typical symptoms are here:

  • Disorientation
  • Incontinence
  • Ignore the simplest commands
  • Sudden night activity
  • Irritability

Unfortunately, dementia is currently still one of the incurable diseases. However, the following measures can mitigate the effects:

  • Night lights
  • Mental occupation
  • Dog diapers

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Older dogs pacing around the house restlessly at night can be a sign of dementia. Here dogs also often behave very defiantly and are disoriented. While dementia is incurable, the spread can be slowed.

4. Racial Behavior

Compared to humans, dogs are significantly more instinct-driven. Guard dogs in particular therefore tend to always be on the lookout for potential dangers.

  • The reason? We are able to objectively assess how safe our lives are today. Dogs can’t do that.
  • The result? Survival is still the #1 priority for dogs today. They, therefore, patrol the apartment more frequently for their own protection.

So what looks to us like restless pacing back and forth is actually more of an instinctive protective mechanism.

Some dog breeds were even bred specifically to patrol unaccompanied. The “Napoletano Mastiff” is the best example here.

But many other Great Dane species also instinctively tend towards this behavior. In the case of smaller and very trusting dogs, on the other hand, this is relatively rare.

Restless pacing can be an instinctive defense mechanism in dogs. Patrolling is most commonly seen in guard dogs and some Great Dane species. Sometimes they also migrate back and forth at night.

5. Fear

If your dog behaves restlessly or even nervously, this can also indicate existing anxiety disorders. Typical causes are here:

  • Separation anxiety
  • New environment after moving house
  • Loud noises
  • Barking of a more dominant neighbor dog
  • Alzheimer’s

Very old dogs in particular often become increasingly anxious. Because the deteriorating memory usually leads to confusion and disorientation.

In addition to running back and forth, there are usually other symptoms here:

  • Constant panting
  • Repetitive Behavior
  • Incontinence
  • Sudden aggressive

For treatment, the cause should first be identified. Irrespective of this, the following measures can also help:

  • Distracted by a new toy
  • Calming Supplements
  • Anti-anxiety medication

Anti-anxiety medication should only be used when all other measures have failed.

Restless pacing is one of the many symptoms of existing anxiety disorders in dogs. It is usually accompanied by severe panting, repetitive behavior, and incontinence. Treatment is specific to the underlying cause.

6. Stomach Torsion

As the name already suggests, when the stomach rotates, the stomach rotates around its own longitudinal axis. According to studies, this disease occurs in 0.6% of all dogs.

The most common symptoms of this are:

  • Bloated stomach
  • Retching without vomiting
  • Restless walking around
  • Drooling and trembling

The exact cause of this is not yet known. According to statistics, however, large dog breeds are most frequently affected.

This is a medical emergency. Because if left untreated, torsion in the stomach is accompanied by severe pain and usually ends fatally.

Early action is therefore the be-all and end-all. In most cases, operative intervention is necessary for torsion of the stomach. The mortality rate here is around 25%.

Torsion in the stomach causes such severe pain that affected dogs cannot sleep and instead run restlessly through the apartment at night. If you notice any other symptoms, you should see your vet immediately.

7. Excess Energy

While a single short walk is perfectly fine for some dogs, not even three long walks are enough for other breeds.

In this case, restless wandering is just a symptom of a lack of physical and mental activity. Other typical symptoms are:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Howl
  • Constant digging

Part of the restless behavior is also due to a diet with too much sugar and carbohydrates. A look at the nutritional information of the feed helps here.

Sheepdogs and hounds are generally considered to be among the most active breeds. However, excess energy can also be the result of living conditions:

  • A large dog kept in an apartment that is too small
  • Active dogs that are kept in big cities without wide meadows

Regardless of breed, every dog ​​should get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. For more physical and mental activity, the following aids can help:

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Restless pacing around the home can be a sign of excess energy. Here the dog only needs more mental and physical activity. This type of hyperactivity is most common in hunting and shepherding dogs.

8. Arthritis

According to studies, around 1 in 5 dogs will suffer from arthritis as they get older. This means chronic inflammation of the joints.

In this case, lying down and getting up is often associated with such great pain that affected dogs prefer to pace restlessly to and fro instead of sleeping.

Other symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Stiff gait
  • Painful impression of rising
  • Swollen joints
  • Aversion to jumps

Unfortunately, arthritis is still one of the incurable diseases. However, the symptoms can be treated very well. Help to:

  • Medicines for pain relief
  • Physical therapy
  • Dietary Adjustment

Arthritis can make lying down and getting up so painful for dogs that they fidget around the house at night instead of sleeping. In addition, affected dogs usually walk a little stiffer. Although this disease cannot be cured, it is easily treatable.

9. Hear or Smell Something

In comparison, dogs hear and smell many times better than humans. Here are the facts:

  • Depending on the breed, dogs can smell up to 60 times better than the average human.
  • Dogs hear sounds four times farther away than humans.
  • Not only can they perceive frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hz, but even up to 65,000 Hz.

In other words, dogs’ hearing and sense of smell are so good that we can’t even imagine it.

If your dog is pacing back and forth in front of a wall, this could be an indication of existing bed bugs or rodents.

In particular, tracker dog breeds are very sensitive here. Other typical behaviors are:

  • Scratching on the floor
  • Barking at a wall

Even if it sounds completely silent to you, another dog may be howling or yelping in the distance. This also causes nervous behavior.

Since dogs smell and hear many times better than humans, restless walking around the home can indicate possible rodents or noises in the distance. Sniffer dogs are the most affected.

10. Increasing Blindness

As dog’s age, their eyesight often deteriorates. And the worse a dog sees, the more often disorientation occurs.

Affected dogs often run back and forth in the apartment to memorize the floor plan. Other symptoms of this are:

  • Hazy eyes
  • Dog no longer jumps on objects
  • White dots on the eyes
  • Sudden clumsiness
  • Avoiding Stairs

Completely blind dogs often make a depressive impression, no longer want to play, and are reluctant to leave their familiar home.

You should visit the vet for a diagnosis. Treatment then depends on the underlying cause.

No worries. Even with a terminal illness, there are numerous ways to keep a blind dog happy.

Older dogs with increasing visual impairments often wander restlessly around the home in order to remember the floor plan. In many cases, the impairment can already be seen in the eyes. The veterinarian should be consulted for treatment.

11. Other Causes

In rare cases, the restless pacing can also indicate other problems. The more typical causes include:

  • Liver diseases
  • Brain tumor
  • Breathing problems
  • Poisoning
  • Other abdominal pain
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Heart diseases
  • Headache
  • Pregnancy
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