Believe it or not, hiding isn’t just a behavior reserved for felines. Dogs hide, too — and dog hiding is actually pretty common. According to Dr. David Dilmore, DVM, of Banfield Pet Hospital, dog hiding often occurs when dogs feel stressed, confused or are in an unfamiliar situation.
So, is your dog hiding? Find out how to help your dog, if the behavior deserves the attention of a vet and get to the bottom of why your dog is hiding.
“Dogs can hide because they are scared or stressed,” Dr. Dilmore says. “For some dogs, small, dark spaces can be comforting during stressful situations.”
If your dog often disappears, you might wonder if this behavior is normal. The most important thing to look for when assessing dog hiding is change.
Many times, a dog hiding is responding to some kind of change: perhaps a move, a loss, the introduction of new people, a new place, etc. “Hosting out-of-town guests, traveling or even just a change in [a dog’s] daily routine can be stressful for dogs and can sometimes cause them to seek hiding spots,” Dr. Dilmore says.
Or, could it be a change in the weather, environment or in the people surrounding your dog?
Most often, a dog hiding is responding to some kind of change in her regular routine. However, if you are having a hard time pinpointing a significant change, consider your dog’s health. In some cases, dog hiding indicates a health issue.
“While some dogs hide when they’re scared or anxious,” Dr. Dilmore says, “hiding can also be a sign of illness. If your dog is hiding and you notice any signs that she might not be feeling well, it’s best to contact your veterinarian who can help determine the underlying cause of her hiding.”
Another reason for dog hiding? It might be a side effect of a new medication. Discuss with your doctor immediately to explore changing to a different medication.
When your dog is in distress, it’s hard not to feel in distress yourself. According to Dr. Dilmore, here’s what you can do when your dog is hiding:
As mentioned, dog hiding is usually indicative of stress on your dog, but in some cases, it signals a health issue. How can you tell the difference? Knowing your dog’s normal behaviors and tracking any important changes in her routine is crucial to assessing your dog’s reasons for hiding.
“Hiding can be a concern in cases of anxiety or illness,” D. Dilmore explains. “If you are concerned about your dog’s hiding behavior or if it is out of character for your pet, you should take her to see a veterinarian.”
Thumbnail: Photography ©alexkich | Getty Images.
Stephanie Osmanski is a freelance writer and social media consultant who specializes in health and wellness content. Her words have appeared in Seventeen, Whole Dog Journal, Parents Magazine and more. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton and writing a memoir. She lives in New York with her Pomsky, Koda, who is an emotional support animal training to be a certified therapy dog.