Anonymous asked in PetsDogs · 1 month ago

Can dogs/pets be manic?

My pup has been tested for everything under the sun, and everyone is shaking their heads, but overall, deemed a healthy, normal-ish dog. 

My dog will go through bouts of some kind of depression; I'm talking not eating a lot, sleeping, energy for walks and play time, but not much else. Then after a week or two, he snaps out of it, eats everything he can, plays nonstop, zoomies outside, the works. Can dogs be bipolar like people can? This is the strangest thing I have ever seen in a pup! He's completely fine otherwise, no health problems.

The vet said he could just be wired wrong, but there really isn't anything medication-wise they can do, just have him go through his episodes and "deal with it." Anyone else have a dog like this? And yes, he is a good well-trained boy, but his moods are all over the place!


Forgot to mention, he's two years old, mixed-breed. He's been having these episodes since he was a puppy and we brought him home, all over the place.

8 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    Both PR and Maxi have given you excellent potential explanations.  IMO, dogs do not usually have manic behavior per se (w/o an underlying cause) - as covered by PR's examples (and/or a type of pain or discomfort) whether digestive or bone pain - such as panostetitis. - The latter can ebb and flow (up to age 5 years) and can make dogs feel PUNK.  

    Unfortunately, you do not mention what mix of breeds your dog is.  This does not help us figure whether the dog might be from a breed background suggesting something like Pano or whether it is part of a natural personality.  

    In frequently reading breed profiles; I have found that some breeds do have "naturally occurring" wide mood swings & some breeds can be far less forgiving of people, and less interactive than others.  Some breeds (like the Husky) can be known to be very BOTH unusually food efficient (and eat less) and can also be finicky as to food.

    Dogs do need a very regular schedule as to exercise & feeding and many also benefit from BRAIN games or activities (to replace what they were breed to do) if you have no use for a hunting, herding, tracking, or draft dog, etc.  My advice would be to up and/or add more activities, to feed the brain side of the dog, and to help stimulate a good mood thru "work" or use of said brain (too often dormant, in pet dogs).

  • Rita
    Lv 6
    7 days ago

    Some dogs can suffer from neurosis and sometimes the issue could be behavioral. Some signs that your dog may display that may mimic bipolar include sudden mood swings, aggressive behavior, becoming withdrawn and fearful, or becoming totally aloof and disinterested.

  • 1 month ago

    It may be normal behavior for this dog since everything else checks out okay.  Dog do suffer from mental problems where the cause is unknown.

  • PR
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Does he spend a good deal of time alone? Does he get scolded for misdeeds, often?

    -Social: If a relatively social dog is alone a lot, this might affect the dog. Let's face it, dogs do not have a lot of control over their own lives. If this might be the case, try to figure out ways to make the dog part of family activities, more often. Take the dog places in the car, take to dog parks, take to family or friend's houses. Walks are also a great activity, as well as going outside and playing directly with the dog. Most Home Depot and Lowes Stores allow dogs inside!

    -Feeding: Always feed two times per day. Mix some water with dry food and possibly a bit of canned to make a gravy-like mixture. Sometimes dry food-only can upset the stomach. Dogs need two meals per day or it can affect the liver, even causing vomiting. If the dog is a smaller breed, feed mainly canned with a bit of dry and some water. Smaller breeds can be a bit finicky.

    -Over-feeding: If you are feeding too much, perhaps the dog is getting overweight. Dog food bags usually recommend too much food for the average dog. Go by body weight and condition.

    -Snacks: Watch the treats/snacks. 

    -Upset stomach: If the dog is either eating food, bones, or treats that are bothering him, this might affect him. Watch his stool for either diarrhea, or constipation. Be sure the dog is not getting into something while you are out that is causing stomach distress. When small, our dog ate pieces of carpet strands which upset her stomach.

    -Scolding: Some dogs are quite sensitive to scolding. If the dog is getting into trouble a lot and then getting scolded, this could easily cause behaviors such as this. Always use praise to help train in a dog. Scolding a dog for poor behavior will cause many negative behaviors, and accomplishes absolutely nothing. If you are scolding your dog intermittently, this could easily explain these behaviors. Dogs live for praise!! This bears repeating: Dogs live for praise!!

    -Tension in the house: If there may be upset between human members or some sort of stress in the home, dogs often reflect this in their behaviors or moods. Some dogs are much more sensitive than others in this regard, and will react to human emotions and moods. If there is tension in the home, fix this - your dog may be your emotional or relational barometer, telling you to fix something.

    Take your dog for a walk - every day.

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  • 1 month ago

    I'm sorry but if you buy into all this mixed breeding, messing around with long-established breeds which were bred for a specific purpose, there's no knowing what the offspring will be like.  Some of how he is may be related to one set of genes, and some to another set.   At least with purebred breeding, you 'should' know what to expect depending on how close to the Breed Standard the breeder manages to get.

    Hopefully once he is fully mature, which in males can take up to and over 2 years, and with TRAINING, he will be ok.   I'd suggest your vet's diagnosis of 'just be wired wrong', is his kindest way of telling you what's really going on.

    There is, of course, a possibility he has a brain tumour, in which case an MRI scan might be indicated.   That should become obvious as time passes.

    You might check the protein level of the food you are providing.   Too high can produce a manic dog but I don't think it would cause fluctuations between being overly active, and being lethargic.

  • 1 month ago

    Dogs can have mental issues. They don't seem to be as complex as what humans can get though. I've never heard of a dog going through random depressive/manic spells. But I've seen plenty of dogs with doggie version of OCD and anxiety. So who knows! I'd try to see a different vet.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    There sounds like something is wrong but the vets may need to do more tests. May be an MRI. Also u may need to see a specialist vet-try and get a referral. Could  he need some anti depressant?

  • 1 month ago

    I got a big strong American Staffordshire bull terrier. He can kill anything and everything he wants to. Be tough get a pit.

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