While this behaviour may appear funny or cute, ‘head pressing’ is actually a sign of ill health, possibly severe neural damage, reports Zululand Observer.
Head-pressing is one of the early abnormal behavioural signs that indicate ill health in a dog or cat. Other signs include lethargy, weakness, and personality changes.
When an animal head-presses, it usually stands near a wall or corner, hanging its head low and not moving.
The animal need not press its head against a wall to exhibit head-pressing, but this often also occurs.
Head-pressing is indicative that something is wrong with the animal’s nervous system.
This could indicate a nervous system-specific ailment, or be the result of an existing condition that has progressed to neurological involvement.
This behaviour is not normal and will not go away on its own.
Should a pet exhibit head-pressing behaviour, urgent veterinary intervention is required.
Head-pressing could also be the result of the animal being under the influence of a toxin.
Symptoms in dogs
- Pressing the head against stable objects for no obvious reason (ie not scratching an itch),
- Exhibiting reduced reflexes,
- Compulsive pacing,
- Often developing sores from excessive pacing in a small area,
- Drastic changes in behaviour,
- Visual problems, such as trouble with identifying objects or obstacles.
Symptoms in cats
- Vision problems,
- Slow reflexes,
- Head injuries from forcefully pressing head into objects,
- Sores on feet from pacing.
Cats are more difficult to diagnose than dogs, as their behaviour often involves sleeping face down, or rubbing their faces up against something. If your cat presses their head against a wall while awake and clearly anxious, this is cause for concern.
However, if your cat is sleeping or relaxing in an awkward position, this is just them being their cute selves.
Sources: www.wagwalking.com; purrfectlove.net