Dennis the dog and his food Dennis the dog and his food

Can Dogs Get Headaches?

Leestijd: 5 Minuten

03 okt 2023

Yes, dogs can get headaches.

How Do You Tell If a Dog Has a Headache?

Dogs, like humans, can experience discomfort in the form of headaches. However, unlike us, they can't verbally express their pain. So, how can you tell if your furry companion is suffering from a headache?

Behavioural changes

One of the most common signs of a dog with a headache is a noticeable change in behaviour. If your typically active and playful pup suddenly becomes lethargic, avoids interaction, or seems unusually irritable, it might be a clue.

Sensitive to touch

Gently stroking your dog's head or neck may elicit a negative response, such as flinching or even growling. This heightened sensitivity can indicate discomfort in the head region.

Unusual vocalisations

Some dogs may whimper, whine, or even yelp when they have a headache. These vocalisations are their way of communicating distress.

Changes in appetite

Headaches can lead to a loss of appetite in dogs. If your dog suddenly refuses their favourite treats or meals, it could be a sign of discomfort.

Pawing at the head

Your dog may instinctively try to alleviate the pain by pawing at their head or rubbing it against furniture or the floor.


On the flip side, some dogs may become restless and unable to settle down due to their discomfort.

Dilated pupils

Examine your dog's eyes. Dilated pupils, especially in well-lit conditions, can be indicative of a headache.

Remember that these signs can vary from one dog to another, and it's essential to observe your pet's behaviour closely and consult your veterinarian if you suspect they have a headache.

What Causes Dog Migraines?

Understanding what causes headaches in dogs is crucial to preventing and managing them effectively. While dogs don't experience migraines in the same way humans do, they can suffer from various types of headaches, often linked to underlying issues. Here are some common causes:

Sinus problems

Just like us, dogs can experience sinus congestion and inflammation. This can lead to sinus headaches, characterised by discomfort in the forehead and around the eyes.

Ear infections

Ear infections can cause intense head pain for dogs. The discomfort often radiates from the ears to the head, leading to symptoms resembling headaches.

Dental issues

Dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, can lead to significant head pain. Dogs may not be able to pinpoint the source of their pain, so it's crucial to monitor their dental health.

Eye conditions

Eye infections or disorders can cause discomfort around the eye area, leading to headache-like symptoms. Look for signs of eye redness, discharge, or excessive blinking.


Dehydration can result in headaches for dogs, just as it does for humans. Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times, especially during hot weather or after physical activity.

Toxic ingestion

Ingesting toxic substances can cause a range of symptoms, including headaches. Keep dangerous chemicals and plants out of your dog's reach.

Stress and anxiety

Dogs can experience stress and anxiety, which may manifest as tension headaches. Creating a calm environment and using relaxation techniques can help.

Underlying health conditions

Headaches can also be a symptom of underlying health issues such as tumours or neurological disorders. If your dog's headaches persist or worsen, consult your veterinarian for a thorough evaluation.

How to Treat Headaches in Dogs

Now that we've explored how to identify headaches in dogs and their potential causes, let's discuss the essential topic of how to treat these discomforting episodes.

Consult your vet

If you suspect your dog is experiencing headaches, the first and most crucial step is to consult your veterinarian. They can conduct a thorough examination, including diagnostic tests if necessary, to determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

Pain relief medications

In some cases, your vet may prescribe pain relief medications to alleviate your dog's headache. It's essential to follow their dosage instructions precisely, as human medications can be harmful to dogs.

Address underlying issues

If the headache is secondary to an underlying health problem, treating the root cause is crucial. This may involve antibiotics for infections, dental procedures for dental issues, or specialised treatments for more complex conditions.

Provide comfort

Create a quiet, comfortable space for your dog to rest. Dim the lights and minimise noise to reduce sensory stimulation, which can worsen headaches.


Ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Proper hydration can help alleviate headaches caused by dehydration.

Stress reduction

If stress or anxiety is a contributing factor, consider implementing stress-reduction techniques such as regular exercise, calming supplements, or behavioural training.

Dietary considerations

Review your dog's diet. High-quality, fresh dog food like that provided by Butternut Box can contribute to overall health and may reduce the risk of headaches. Ensure your dog's food is free from additives, preservatives, and fillers.

Regular check-ups

Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your dog's overall health and catch potential issues early.

Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Always consult with your veterinarian for personalised guidance on treating and preventing headaches in your furry friend.