Dog Concussions

Can Dogs Get Concussions?

Dr. Haley Georges

Jul 6, 2023

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Can dogs get concussions? How common is this problem in dogs? What should you know about canine concussions in order to be the best dog owner you can be?

It is true that dogs can get concussions, especially if they are injured in a way that involves the head. In the article below, you’ll find more information about concussions in dogs and risk factors involved in this type of problem. With the help of this information, you should be able to recognize when your dog is at risk of a seizure and when you need to see a vet quickly. Read on to find out more.

Signs of Canine Concussions

Listed below are a few symptoms that could indicate concussions: 

Head Pressing

Head pressing is a behavior that involves dogs pushing their heads against objects or the wall. This habit occurs when dogs are trying to relieve pain deep in the head. If your dog is head pressing, this is a sure sign that something is wrong and she needs to see a vet.

Pupil Dilation

Pupil dilation can occur in dogs with concussions as well. If your dog’s eyes look very wide and dilated, even when you shine a light into her eyes, this can indicate concussion, as well as several other medical problems. When shining a light into your dog’s eyes, her pupils should naturally contract into a smaller size.

Loss of Balance

Loss of balance can look like stumbling, falling to the side, dragging the limbs, or wobbling from side to side. Loss of balance can happen from a variety of health problems. Once again, when seen with other items on this list, it may indicate a concussion. A loss of balance without other items on this list and without a head injury may mean your dog has an ear issue instead. If you notice your dog showing signs of a loss of balance, she should be seen by a veterinarian.


Dogs can have convulsions and seizures for a variety of other reasons; however, if you notice your pet having this following a head injury, this is a good sign she may have a concussion. Take her to the emergency vet right away if you notice this concerning symptom after an injury.

Risks of Canine Concussions

Listed below are the main risks that come with dog concussions: 

Head Injury Due to Vehicle Accident

Vehicle accidents are some of the most common underlying causes of concussions in dogs. Whether your dog is a passenger in a vehicle during an accident or she is injured by a vehicle herself, she may be at risk of having a concussion.

Head Injury Due to Animal Attack

If your dog is injured by another animal, she may experience a concussion. This can happen if she is thrown into an object or wall during the attack, and it can also happen if she is kicked in the head by a larger animal (such as livestock). In any situation when your dog has been attacked by another animal, she should be seen right away by an emergency vet.

Head Injury Due to Being Dropped

Small to medium sized dogs are often carried by their owners. While there is no reason to avoid carrying your dog altogether (unless she just hates it), doing so may increase your risk of dropping your pet. If you have a smaller dog who is dropped from your arms, she may hit her head on an object or on the floor, and this could lead to a concussion. This problem is, of course, much less common in larger dogs.

Dome-shaped Head

Dogs who have a dome-shaped head are at a greater risk of concussions than other types of dogs. This is simply because their heads have not formed the same way, and they are more sensitive. Chihuahuas are one example of dogs with dome-shaped heads.

Call VEG if You Think Your Dog Could Have a Concussion

Based on this information, you should have a better idea of what to expect from concussions in your dog. Although many dogs will go their whole lives without ever experiencing a concussion, it is important for you as a dog owner to learn how to recognize this issue before it gets worse.

If you know or suspect that your dog has a concussion, take her to the emergency vet immediately. The sooner you have her examined and treated, the better her chances of recovery will be.

At VEG, we have locations all over the country that are prepared to handle any emergency situation. Our locations are open 24/7 and even on holidays. If you think that your dog has a concussion, don’t hesistate to call us and we will give your dog the best care.