Do Dogs Get Headaches?

Dog Health Recent March 21, 2024
Do Dogs Get Headaches
Avatar photo



Do Dogs Get Headaches?

This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More

Do Dogs Get Headaches

The general consensus is that yes, dogs can get headaches but they are not as easy to diagnose. Animal specialists believe that dogs do get headaches because their biological makeup is very close to that of humans. As humans, we can tell someone or see a doctor to help cure our headache.

However, this is not the case with our pups since they cannot just tell their owners when they are in pain. Often, they do not show signs of pain until it becomes severe and highly noticeable.

Dogs experience pain the same way we do, and they are susceptible to many of the same medical conditions. So, it is not unlikely that they can suffer from some kind of head pain.

Why Do Dogs Get Headaches?

Dogs can experience headaches due to various reasons, similar to human headaches. Pet specialists believe that strong scents, such as perfumes or cleaning products, are the main cause of headaches in dogs.

As dogs have powerful olfactory receptors, it takes less to upset their brains than in humans. An allergic reaction, which can cause runny noses, eyes, itching, sneezing, and occasional headaches, is the most common cause of headaches in dogs.

Physical trauma to the head or neck is the most common cause of dog headaches, which can occur from hitting the dog, falling, fighting with another dog, or being hit by a car. Headaches can also be caused by illness, such as tumors pressing on nerves or blood vessels in the brain or pressure on the brain itself.

Neuronal problems can also cause headaches in dogs, with symptoms such as walking in circles, pressing their head against a hard object, or abnormally lashing out. Understanding the range of possible causes can help owners recognize and treat their dog’s headaches effectively.

How Do You Know if Your Dog Has a Headache?

As humans, we may complain or treat our headaches with painkillers, but our pups are unable to do the same. There are things to look for if you are worried that your dog may be suffering from headaches.

Symptoms to observe:

  • Hyper reactive to or averse to touch
  • Clumsy
  • Self-protective behavior upon approach
  • Pacing in room, house or yard
  • Vertebral misalignment of mainly scull
  • Difficult leash or put-on collar
  • Hard to groom
  • Skittish, irritable, aggressive, and frightened
  • Head shaking, head pressing on objects, or staring
  • Furrowed brows, squinty eyes
  • Frequent blinking, distressed or dull expression
  • Tight jaw and or mouth
  • Partial or full body shakes
  • Light sensitivity
  • More frequent resting and napping
  • Keeping their head close to the ground
  • Constant licking and other anxious activity

How to Treat Your Dog’s Headache

If you suspect your dog has a headache, the best way to deal with it depends on how intense their pain seems. Some mild headaches will go away on their own.

If your dog’s headache seems to be mild, it could pass in an hour or so. While your pup recovers, it is best to make their environment more comfortable and remove anything that might trigger or increase the headache.

We discussed why dogs get headaches, and resolving them will depend on the cause in your dog. To treat your dog, find an area for them that’s cool, dark, and free from disturbances. Then try the following:

  • Place a hot or cold compress on their neck or back
  • Avoid touching their head
  • Make sure family members don’t disturb your dog
  • Let them rest
  • Be sure they have access to fresh water
  • Do not administer pain relief medication, unless your vet recommends it

If your dog appears to be in serious pain or the headache is not subsiding, it is best to take them to the vet for an evaluation.

Your veterinarian should complete a full examination of your dog to determine if there are any underlying causes for headaches. They might do an allergy test to determine if your dog’s headache is the result of a reaction. However, if the headache seems more serious, your vet may also request that your dog undergo an MRI to rule out any more serious health conditions.

If your dog allows you to touch it, you can try these anterior methods to treat a headache.


Just like in humans, there are a few acupuncture points to help treat headaches in dogs.


These kinds of medications can be mixed up with water or food and given to your pet.


You can help your dog recover by either applying a wet cloth or by giving a gentle massage if your dog is not displaying aggressive behavior.

Recovery process

Normally, a headache in a dog will go away by itself in a half hour, but they can last longer, especially if they are brought on by trauma or scents.

Your dog will let you know if he wants to be left alone or wants you close by. Let him dictate what he needs at this time.

If you notice that your dog gets more headaches than usual, that they are taking longer to go away, or that they are leaving him in pain longer than about half an hour, you should have him checked out by your vet to rule out health problems.

Final Thoughts

Just like in humans, headaches are uncomfortable for dogs. Keep an eye on your pup and be sure they are not exhibiting signs of pain or discomfort. If you suspect your dog has an ongoing headache, and does not show improvement in the next few hours, it is best to check with your veterinarian.

Avatar photo

Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *