A new study finds that dogs, like humans, can develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and that certain breeds – including German Shepherds and Border Collies – are more prone to the disorder.
A team from the University of Helsinki say that gender, age, the dog’s breed, and even how much attention their owner pays to them plays a role in whether they develop this condition. Professor Hannes Lohi, head of a canine gene research group at Helsinki and his team examined over 11,000 dogs during their extensive behavioral survey.
Dogs Left Home Alone Are Most At Risk
“As social animals, dogs can get frustrated and stressed when they are alone, which can be released as hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. It may be that dogs who spend longer periods in solitude also get less exercise and attention from their owners,” the researchers said.
Unfortunately, just like humans, the study finds those with ADHD often develop other conditions such obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In dogs, this presents itself in behaviors like tail chasing, continuous licking surfaces or themselves, or staring at “nothing.”
How Can You Help?
- Spend quality time with your dog daily
- Give your dog plenty of exercise (walking is not enough)
- Don’t regularly leave your dog alone for long periods of time
- Allow your dog to interact with other dogs in play situations