If your dog has hypothyroidism, his thyroid glands are failing to make adequate amounts of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is an ailment that's relatively prevalent in the canine universe. The symptoms of hypothyroidism can display in a variety of ways, and some of the mare related to temperament.
Hypothyroidism can affect your pet's temperament by bringing upon shifts in temperament -- think the emergence of unusually fierce behavior. If your normally placid and mild dog seemingly out of nowhere begins to show hints of aggression, don't assume that his disposition is just randomly changing. These types of hypothyroidism temperament changes are thought to be especially common in the German shepherd breed. This truculent behavior could be anything from attempts to fight fellow dogs to attempts to battle humans. Turf-oriented behaviors also sometimes pop up in dogs with hypothyroidism.
If your normally sweet and patient dog seems to have taken on an easily agitated temperament, hypothyroidism could be the cause. Moodiness is often indicative of the condition. If your pet seems his usual self one minute and totally crabby the next, it's probably not just because he woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
Dogs with low thyroid levels sometimes behave in especially nervous or edgy manners. Your pet might behave bashfully and with a lot less social confidence than before. He might react with apprehension to everything from extremely loud noises to your simply leaving the house to go out for the day.
If your typically sharp, alert and active pooch seems to suddenly be confused and devoid of focusing skills, he could be experiencing the mental sluggishness that often accompanies hypothyroidism. Not only do canines with hypothyroidism frequently seem sluggish in terms of thinking, they often seem that way about partaking in physical activity, too. Note that persistent fatigue is a key symptom of the disorder.
If your pooch is showing some of the classical temperament-related symptoms of hypothyroidism, there's a strong chance that he's showing some of the more general signs, as well. Some of the most common clues of hypothyroidism in canines are gaining weight, skin discoloration, shedding more frequently, dry or lackluster fur, oily skin, fur loss and an intense aversion for cold temperatures. Whether your dog is showing behavioral changes, physical symptoms or both, take him to the veterinarian immediately if you haven't checked him for hypothyroidism before.
By Naomi Millburn
The Kennel Club: Can Canine Hypothyroidism Affect a Dog's Behavior?
WebMD: Hypothyroidism in Dogs
The Merck Veterinary Manual: Hypothyroidism
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Long Beach Animal Hospital: Hypothyroidism
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.