Scientists are trying to learn more about how dogs think and feel like they study people. Can dogs be autistic? Some people think that dogs might have something like autism in humans, but scientists are still figuring this out.
They’ve been studying this since 1966, looking at the genes in different dog breeds to understand how dog behavior works. This helps scientists learn more about dogs and how they act.
Even though some people say it might be like autism, scientists aren’t completely sure yet. They need to do more research to find out for sure. So, they call it “canine dysfunctional behavior” for now, which means they’re still trying to understand it better.
Read Also: Can Dogs Have Asthma?
What is autism in general?
Sometimes, people can be a bit different in how they talk, play, and act. Doctors look at two important things to understand if someone might have autism:
Communication and Interaction Difficulties:
- Not responding when someone calls their name.
- Not looking into others’ eyes or making facial expressions.
- I find it hard to talk or use words.
- Not understanding questions or instructions well.
- Not showing emotions like happiness or sadness.
- Not playing with others but preferring to be alone.
- Doing things like repeating words over and over without understanding them.
- Acting in ways that might seem odd during social interactions.
Repetitive Behaviors and Interests:
- Doing the same movements again and again, like spinning or flapping hands.
- Following strict routines and getting upset if things change.
- Moving a lot without stopping.
- Being very focused on small details, like the wheels of a toy car, but not understanding the bigger picture.
- Having unusual likes or dislikes, especially with food.
- Not playing pretend games or copying what others do.
People with autism can have different combinations of these things, and each person’s experience is unique. It’s like how everyone has their special way of being.
Can dogs have autism?
Currently, scientists are trying to understand if dogs can have something like autism. A brilliant scientist named Dr. Valli Parthasarathy says that, at the moment, autism isn’t recognized in dogs. This is because there hasn’t been enough research done to be sure about it.
But, scientists are always learning more about how dogs think and feel. As they discover more about how dogs’ brains work, they might find out that dogs can have autism-like behaviors like some people do.
Think of it like solving a puzzle: the more pieces of information scientists gather, the better they understand dogs. One day, they’ll figure out if dogs can have autism or not. Science is always exploring and discovering new things!
Research on autism in dogs
Scientists are like detectives, trying to understand how dogs feel and act. Some people have a condition called autism, where they find it hard to talk to others and do the same things, scientists have noticed similar behaviors in some dogs.
These behaviors might include spinning their tails or acting in a trance-like way. While it’s not the same as autism in people, scientists are studying these actions to see if dogs might have some similar feelings.
It’s like trying to solve a puzzle to understand our furry friends better! Scientists are like puzzle solvers, making sure dogs are happy and comfortable.
Diagnosis of autism in dogs
Sometimes, dogs might show behaviors that are a bit like autism in people. Here are some signs:
- Trouble Making Friends: Dogs usually love to be around other dogs and people. If a dog doesn’t want to be with others, it could mean something is different.
- Doing the Same Things Over and Over: Dogs might repeat actions like grinding teeth, chewing, or walking in circles. Doing the same thing again and again can be a sign.
- Finding it Hard to Communicate: Just like people with autism might find it hard to talk or understand feelings, dogs with similar behaviors might struggle with barking or showing how they feel.
Scientists think these behaviors might happen because some parts of the dog’s brain don’t develop, while other parts become too sensitive. It could also be something that runs in their family, like how we inherit traits from our parents.
So, when dogs show these signs, a vet needs to check if something is making them feel this way. Understanding these things helps scientists and vets take care of our furry friends!
Symptoms of autism in dogs
Sometimes, dogs might act in ways that are different from other dogs. Here are some signs that scientists think might be like autism in people:
- Not Wanting to Play: Dogs are usually playful, but some dogs with autism-like behavior don’t like to play or go for walks. They might not even want to eat or hang out with other dogs or people.
- Unusual Behavior Dog: These dogs might do strange things like staring at things for a long time, avoiding people, or standing still without any reason. They might not get excited about new places, toys, or other pets like other dogs do.
- Feeling Scared: Dogs with autism-like behavior might get scared for no clear reason. They might avoid places or people even if they’re not in any danger. It’s like they’re feeling frightened, but we don’t always know why.
- Not Moving Much: Even though they might not be sick, these dogs might seem lazy because they don’t want to play or do fun things like other dogs.
- Reacting differently: These dogs might feel touch or other sensations. Sometimes, they might act like they’re hurt even when they’re not touched very hard. It’s important to know that they’re not being naughty; it’s how they feel things.
Understanding these signs helps vets and scientists take care of dogs better, making sure they feel safe and happy.
What to do if your dog shows signs of autism
If your dog acts differently and you think something might be wrong, talk to a special dog doctor called a vet. Sometimes, dogs act because they’re not feeling well, like when we have a tummy ache or a sore throat.
The vet will check if there’s anything wrong with your dog, like problems with bones or their tummy. If they don’t find any physical issues, they might suggest talking to a dog behavior expert, like a special dog teacher.
These experts, like trainers, can teach dogs new and better ways to behave. It’s important to find a trainer who’s nice and uses good methods. They help dogs by rewarding them when they do something good, like when we get a treat for doing our homework well.
It can be hard to find the right help because few people understand these special dog behaviors. But people who love their dogs are trying their best to help them, like we do for our friends!
Management of autism in dogs
If your dog acts differently and you think it might be like autism, there are ways to make them feel better:
- Find Triggers: Triggers are things that make your dog upset. Maybe it’s meeting new people, going to noisy places, or certain sounds. If you know what upsets your dog, try to avoid those things. For example, if your dog doesn’t like crowded places, take them for a quiet walk instead of going to busy places.
- Special Tools: There are special wraps that can make dogs feel calmer. These wraps give gentle pressure and help them feel more secure. Imagine it’s like getting a warm hug when you’re scared.
- Fun Activities: Dogs can also do activities that help them feel better. Like how some people find comfort in heavy blankets, dogs can do “heavy work” too. They can pull a cart or wear a backpack filled with soft weights. These activities can make them feel more relaxed.
Conclusions: Can dogs be autistic?
Like people, dogs can be different from one another. Some dogs might act in unique ways. If you think your dog is different, it’s important to be patient and loving. Sometimes, dogs need special help, like some people do.
It’s like how we understand that people can be different and that’s okay. We should also learn to accept that dogs can be different too. Being kind and understanding, both to your dog and yourself, is important. Love and patience can make a big difference in making your furry friend feel happy and safe!
References: Elevated serum neurotensin and CRH levels in children with autistic spectrum disorders and tail-chasing Bull Terriers with a phenotype similar to autism,