Head pressing in senior dogs

Head pressing in senior dogs

Key Takeaway:

  • Head pressing in senior dogs is a serious symptom that can indicate a number of underlying health issues, including Prosencephalon disease, canine cognitive dysfunction, and systemic infections. It’s important to seek prompt veterinary care if your dog exhibits this behavior.
  • Diagnostic procedures, including physical examination and medical imaging, can help identify the underlying cause of head pressing. Treatment options may include medication and changes to your dog’s environment or diet.
  • While liver damage and neurological signs may also cause head pressing, it’s important to note that this behavior is not always indicative of a serious problem. However, any unusual behavior in your dog should be noted and evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure their health and wellbeing.


Head pressing in senior dogs is a concerning behavior that pet owners and veterinarians should take seriously. If you notice your senior dog engaging in this behavior, it is essential to understand what it means and seek professional help. In this section, we will dive into an explanation of head pressing behavior and what it may indicate.

Explanation of head pressing behavior

Head pressing in dogs is abnormal and concerning. It involves pressing their head against walls or objects. Sometimes, this behavior has no underlying cause, yet it can be an indication of a medical condition. Prosencephalon disease is one possible cause; it affects the forebrain and leads to head pressing.

Not all dogs with head pressing have Prosencephalon disease. Other potential causes include Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and infections. Physical exams, tests, or animal hospital referral for medical imaging can diagnose them.

Pet owners need to be aware of the symptoms of head pressing. If seen, seek veterinary care quickly. A case study showed a senior dog with liver damage and toxic exposure had head pressing, circling, and lethargy – they made a full recovery with prompt treatment.

To sum up, head pressing is a worrying issue that needs attention from veterinarians and pet owners. Understand the causes and symptoms. Rule out serious conditions like Prosencephalon disease. Be vigilant and seek help if your dog shows signs.

Symptoms of Prosencephalon Disease

Prosencephalon Disease can present itself in many ways, but one of the most significant symptoms that pet owners may notice in their senior dogs is head pressing. In the upcoming section, we will take a closer look at this alarming symptom and discuss why it warrants immediate veterinary attention.

Head pressing as a symptom

Head pressing can be a sign of Prosencephalon Disease. It’s a neurological disorder that affects a dog’s forebrain. This behavior involves a pooch pressing their head against walls or objects for a long time. Prosencephalon Disease affects motor coordination, vision and other sensations. Dogs may circle, make noises, pace and have seizures.

Head pressing can also indicate liver damage or other neurological issues. These issues may be caused by using prescription medications too much or taking too much of a drug. So, pay attention to your dog’s behavior. If it’s strange, get veterinary care. Your vet will do physical exams and medical imaging to figure out the problem and fix it.

Don’t let your dog use your walls and furniture as a headrest. Look out for head pressing and take action if it happens.

Possible Causes of Head Pressing

As our furry friends age, it’s important to be aware of any significant changes in their behavior. One specific behavior that may be cause for concern is head pressing. In this section, we will explore possible causes of head pressing in senior dogs, including the cognitive dysfunction that may come with aging, as well as potential system infections. Let’s take a closer look at what could be behind this concerning behavior in our aging pups.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Studies show that more than 60% of dogs over seven suffer from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Signs include disorientation, confusion, memory loss, less activity, altered sleep patterns, less interaction, anxiety, and aggression.

Risk factors for CCD include aging, genes, chronic inflammation, and environmental stress. Diagnosis involves a physical exam and possible medical imaging.

Treating CCD can involve meds, dietary shifts, brain games, and regular exercise. With early diagnosis and management, senior pups can live better lives.

It’s not only seniors that suffer – CCD may be genetic or caused by head injuries. Brain changes can be permanent.

System Infections

System infections can affect dog bodies in various ways. These could be bacterial, viral or parasitic. Signs may differ, depending on their severity.

Head pressing is a concerning symptom that can point to a system infection in senior dogs. Head pressing is when dogs press their heads against objects for long periods. This is abnormal and could mean a systemic infection. Systemic infections can cause a range of neurological issues, behaviour changes, seizures and confusion, which can lead to head pressing.

Senior dogs with weak immune systems are prone to getting infections like RMSF, sepsis, meningitis, encephalitis and toxoplasmosis. If left untreated, these conditions can worsen and lead to serious health issues. So, if a dog is head pressing, it’s important to get medical help from a qualified vet.

Vets will do physical exams and tests to find the cause of head pressing. Sometimes, they’ll refer owners to animal hospitals for imaging. Owners should be alert to any unusual behaviour in their dogs and tell their vet promptly. This helps ensure early detection and treatment of system infections.

Diagnostic Procedures

As our dear furry friends age, they become more susceptible to several medical conditions. In this section, we will discuss the diagnostic procedures for head pressing in senior dogs. We’ll explore the tests involved in a physical examination and testing, as well as when it’s necessary to seek referral to an animal hospital for medical imaging. With proper diagnosis, we can ensure that our senior pups receive the right treatment to improve their quality of life.

Physical examination and testing

Vets may take blood samples to spot infections or liver damage. X-rays or MRI scans may be used to look for structural issues in dogs with CNS issues like head pressing or seizures.

Invasive tests like skull radiographs require anesthetic and should only be done in animal hospitals with the right facilities like CT scanners or MRI machines.

An old dog with Prosencephalon Disease had head pressing behavior. Tests showed liver damage that was treated. Further testing revealed an infection in the CNS. Medication was given to manage the head-pressing before full recovery.

Referral to an animal hospital for medical imaging

Referring a senior dog to an animal hospital for medical imaging is essential. Physical exam and testing may not be enough to make a diagnosis. With medical imaging, vets can get detailed info on the dog’s internal organs and body systems. They can then find any abnormalities in the brain or nervous system.

Medical imaging can diagnose lots of diseases and conditions that cause head pressing. Common types of imaging for the brain, skull, neck, and other body parts are MRI and CT scans. Specialists in radiology do the referral for scans to find any anomalies.

It’s important to find an animal hospital with the right facilities and equipment. Also, you need specialists who can do the scans accurately. Research shows that medical imaging is safe and effective for finding underlying health conditions that cause head pressing. So, referring a senior dog to an animal hospital for medical imaging is a must.

Common Causes of Head Pressing

Head pressing is a serious behavior seen in senior dogs, and it should not be ignored. In this section, we shall examine the common causes of head pressing in senior dogs. We will focus on two sub-sections:

  1. Pressing the head against walls
  2. Pressing the head against objects

By understanding the causes of head pressing, we can take the necessary steps to ensure senior dogs receive the medical treatment they require. According to the reference data, head pressing in senior dogs could be related to a neurological condition or brain injury.

Pressing head against walls

Head pressing behavior is a major symptom of Prosencephalon Disease in senior dogs. This involves pressing their heads against walls or other objects for extended periods, with no apparent reason. It can be alarming, so seek medical help right away if you notice it.

Head pressing may also be related to other neurological conditions or liver damage. If you observe this behavior, act fast – early detection is key to successful treatment.

Not all head pressing is linked to health issues – it could be out of boredom or curiosity. Be vigilant and see a vet if your pet has any strange habits – especially prolonged head-pressing.

If you spot your dog using furniture as a headrest, it’s time to investigate the cause. Prompt medical attention is the best way to keep your furry friend healthy and happy!

Pressing head against objects

Many dogs press their head against objects. This may be a sign of several conditions. They often press their heads against furniture or even their owner’s leg.

One of the possible causes is prosencephalon disease. It affects the forebrain and can lead to seizures and behavioral changes.

Canine cognitive dysfunction is another cause. It causes changes in brain chemical levels.

Systemic infections can also cause dogs to press their heads as they try to ease discomfort.

Liver damage can lead to disorientation and circling; this can cause head pressing.

If owners notice this unusual behavior, they should take action. Veterinary diagnosis and treatment is essential.

It’s important to be aware of any changes in a dog’s behavior or health. This is especially true for aging dogs. Prompt intervention can make a difference.

Treating head pressing in dogs needs proper diagnosis and management. But with quick medical help, some conditions that cause it can be managed or cured.

Treatment and Prognosis

Veterinarian treatment is important for head pressing in elderly dogs. The result of the issue depends on the cause and seriousness of the condition. There is no special cure, but drugs like anti-seizure drugs may decrease the frequency and intensity of seizures.

Pet owners should give their dog a safe and pleasant area, that has no risks that make head pressing worse. Vets may also advise dietary changes, such as less protein. It is vital to remember that head pressing in senior dogs can be a symptom of a severe issue, such as a brain tumor or liver disease.

Vets may suggest diagnostic tests like MRIs or blood tests to determine the source of the behaviour. Good and on time treatment often results in better results. Pet owners should also pay attention to their elderly dog for any changes in behaviour or physical signs connected with head pressing. Any unusual signs must be reported to the vet straight away. Providing suitable and fast care can help to manage head pressing and increase their general life quality. Therefore, treatment and prognosis are key to managing head pressing in senior dogs, and pet owners should work with their vet to guarantee their pet gets the best care.

Other Possible Causes of Head Pressing

Head pressing is a concerning behavior often observed in senior dogs, indicating neurological abnormalities. However, there are several other possible causes of head pressing. This section will focus on two such causes – liver damage and neurological signs – shedding light on their potential role in head pressing and how they can be identified.

Liver Damage and Neurological Signs

Dogs displaying head pressing may have Prosencephalon disease, which damages the forebrain. Seizures, confusion, and behavioral changes can result. Head pressing is a sign of neurological issues.

Liver damage and neurology are sometimes related. Dogs with liver trouble may have jaundice, vomit, and diarrhea. Also, encephalopathy, causing head pressing, confusion, circling, and pacing, can manifest.

Therefore, pet owners should pay attention to changes in their dog’s behavior and get veterinary help soon. Late diagnosis or treatment of liver damage can cause irreversible harm to internal organs.

To reduce the risk of liver disease and neurological signs like head pressing, pet owners should make sure their dog has good nutrition, a comfortable environment, and regular health checks.

What to Do If Your Dog Exhibits Unusual Behavior

If your pup is acting strange, it’s critical to act fast. Speak with a vet right away if your dog is exhibiting abnormal behavior. For older dogs, head pressing can indicate issues like brain tumors, head trauma, or liver disease. The quicker you detect the cause, the better the treatment. So, if your pet is head pressing, get medical help fast!

Besides locating the cause, you can aid your dog’s healing process by providing lots of care. Monitor them closely to guarantee they do not cause any more harm. To help them recuperate quickly, give them a comfortable environment and stick to your vet’s advice.

Don’t wait for things to get worse. If your dog behaves oddly, take action quickly. Your canine’s life might rely on your timely response. Book an exam with an expert at once, obey their orders, and supply full care to assist your pet in recovering swiftly.


Thus, head pressing in elderly pooches is a major worry that needs swift medical attention. This conduct could signify hidden neurological problems, e.g., brain tumors, encephalitis, meningitis, hypothyroidism, and liver illness. It is essential to make a vet appointment straight away for correct diagnosis and cure.

Early action can produce a superior quality of life and lengthier lifespan for elderly dogs. If you spot any strange conduct or activity in your pup, don’t delay to get in touch with your vet.

Five Facts About Head Pressing in Senior Dogs:

  • ✅ Head pressing in senior dogs is a compulsive behavior of pressing the head against a wall or object without any apparent reason. (Source: petMD)
  • ✅ This behavior is an indication of damage to the nervous system, which commonly occurs due to prosencephalon disease, toxic poisoning, metabolic disorders, lymphoma or other tumors, and head trauma or injury. (Sources: Team Research, vetster.com)
  • ✅ Senior dogs are more susceptible to head pressing than younger dogs due to the increased likelihood of developing neurological conditions as they age. (Source: wagwalking.com)
  • ✅ Other symptoms of senior dogs with head pressing include compulsive circling or pacing, changes in behavior, seizures, damaged reflexes, and visual problems. (Source: petMD)
  • ✅ Diagnosis of the underlying cause of head pressing in senior dogs may require advanced diagnostics like an MRI or CT scan, and treatment and prognosis vary widely depending on the condition. (Sources: vetster.com, sevneurology.com)

FAQs about Head Pressing In Senior Dogs

What is head pressing in dogs?

Head pressing in dogs is a compulsive act of pressing the head against a wall or object for no apparent reason. It indicates damage to the nervous system, which can be caused by prosencephalon disease or toxic poisoning.

What are the possible causes of head pressing?

Possible causes of head pressing in dogs include metabolic disorders, tumors, infections of the nervous system, head trauma, and exposure to toxins. Other possible causes include forebrain damage or disease, poisoning, electrolyte imbalances, head injuries, hypothyroidism, kidney disease or damage, diabetes mellitus, tumors and cancer, epilepsy, adrenal gland disorders, fluid buildup in the brain, viral diseases like rabies and distemper, and fungal and protozoal infections affecting the nervous system.

What are the symptoms of prosencephalon disease?

The symptoms of prosencephalon disease in dogs include compulsive pacing and circling, changes in learned behavior, seizures, damaged reflexes, and visual problems.

What are the possible causes of forebrain dysfunction and head pressing in dogs?

The seven possible causes of forebrain dysfunction and head pressing in dogs includes brain tumors, strokes, inflammation of the brain, and hydrocephalus.

How is head pressing in dogs diagnosed?

Diagnostic procedures for head pressing in dogs include a fundic examination of the retina and other structures in the back of the eye, blood pressure measurements, computed tomography (CT), and MRI scans.

What is the treatment for head pressing in senior dogs?

The treatment and prognosis for head pressing in senior dogs vary widely depending on the underlying cause. It is not an emergency unless present with other symptoms indicating more urgency like seizures, collapse, or labored breathing. Treatment may include medication, surgery, or management of the underlying disease. Blood work and other diagnostic tests may be necessary to determine the underlying cause of the head pressing.

Joe Inglis
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