How to Know If a Dog Has a Stroke

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.


Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.