How to Know If a Dog Has a Stroke

By Lanh Ma

Strokes occur in dogs much as they occur in humans, but while a human might develop slurred speech or facial paralysis, dogs show signs of stroke in much different ways. A stroke is a condition that needs to be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Figuring out if your dog had a stroke can help you make important decisions about the care your dog needs.

Watch for a change in personality. A stroke can affect the way that a dog behaves. If a friendly dog suddenly becomes snappish and fearful, or if an outgoing dog suddenly turns silent, these may be signs that the dog suffered a stroke.

Call your dog. If it does not come when called, a stroke might have disrupted its ability to discern what its senses are telling it.

Watch for head tilting. A dog that has had a stroke may hold its head at a cocked angle. A dog might not be able to walk in a straight line, either.

Consider your dog's movement. A dog that was previously graceful and now is clumsy may have experienced a stroke. A stroke can throw off your dog's sense of balance.

Watch for sudden incontinence. If your dog has been housebroken for years, but suddenly loses bowel or bladder control, this can be a sign of stroke. It can also be a sign of numerous other disorders, so take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.