Can Dogs Get Headaches? How Can You Tell?

Written by Marisa Wilson
Published: September 27, 2022
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It’s 8:30 in the morning, you don’t sleep well, and you’re supposed to work an eight-hour shift. After work, your head is likely to hurt from the stress and lack of sleep. You can take Tylenol and get some relief most of the time. If you have a pup, you might wonder if they can also have a bad case of Monday headaches. 

There isn’t much evidence that they 100% have headaches, but studies strongly suggest they can happen in dogs. So if dogs get headaches, what are the symptoms? What can cause them to get headaches? In this post, we’ll see why they are likely to get headaches and what to do if you suspect your dog has one. 

In Theory, They Could Have Headaches

Studies hace shown that dogs can suffer from headaches just like us

Research has shown that dogs can suffer from headaches


Few studies have shown that dogs can experience headaches, although many veterinarians concur that it is highly likely that they can. But to properly comprehend how canine headaches develop, it’s crucial to understand how human headaches develop. The brain serves as a source of pain information, which the body processes. 

Therefore, a headache is caused when particular body parts, such as nerves, blood vessels, and muscles, become restricted or start to expand. With that stated, many pet specialists think there is solid evidence to support the notion that dogs can develop headaches. One of the primary factors contributing to canine headaches is that dogs have a stronger olfactory receptor (which is the sense of smell) than humans. 

Due to their genetically identical blood vessels and nerves to humans, this process occurs similarly in dogs. It is still unclear if dogs experience headaches despite sharing many body processes with humans, according to the veterinary community. This is due to our furry friend’s incapacity to express their pain and the source of it through speech.

When Might They Have Headaches?

Older dogs or those suffereing from health issues are more likely to develop a headache than a younger or healthier dog

Older dogs or those with underlying medical conditions might be more likely to develop a headache than a younger, healthier dog

©Patryk Kosmider/

In dogs who face stressful conditions or become anxious easily, headaches can frequently occur. Older and frail dogs may be more susceptible to loud noises and bright lights, which can cause headaches. 

Dogs who suffer from underlying medical conditions may also have headaches more frequently. These problems include allergies, brain injuries, and other medical diseases. Constant sneezing and sinus inflammation brought on by allergies might result in headaches. 

Dogs can develop headaches for a variety of reasons, just like people. It can be challenging to assist dogs in distress because they cannot communicate the cause of their issues. But here are some reasons why a dog may get headaches.

Heat and Exhaustion 

Three Irish setters in a field panting

Overexertion or overheating could be a cause of headaches in dogs


A dog headache can also be brought on by overexertion. Your dog’s body may occasionally become overheated through rough play or running around for an extended amount of time, which may eventually cause a headache or migraine. 

If dogs are dehydrated as the temperature rises, they could experience heat exhaustion. Dogs may experience headaches from the heat and the potential for hyperthermia. Bring your dog indoors and attempt to keep them cool if they start to exhibit symptoms including panting, vomiting, and an increase in pulse.

Cold and Allergies 

Dogs can develop allergies that can cause headaches, whether the trigger is particular tastes, scents, or environmental factors. Dogs have considerably better olfactory sensitivity than people, which can be very frustrating when encountering specific allergens. 

The painful headache that typically follows a cold or flu infection in humans makes us want to sleep in all day. Dogs are subject to the same rules. When our canine pals are ill, they may sneeze frequently or appear exhausted, which are all warning signals that your dog is having headaches.

What Are the Symptoms of Headaches in Dogs?

Your doggie might show one or more of these signs, depending on the intensity of the headache. Maintaining your dog’s comfort and sense of security is the best action to prevent the problem from worsening, even if headaches are not dangerous and typically do not linger for long periods. 

You should take your doggie to the veterinarian to be examined if you observe these or other clinical signs of headaches getting worse. The clinical indications of headaches can be accurately analyzed and diagnosed by veterinary internal medicine. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Anxiety or difficulty remaining motionless
  • Sensitivity to light and a preference for shadowy areas
  • Evident fear or aggression
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Diminished appetite
  • Swallowing repeatedly and drooling
  • Constantly dozing off and not wanting to be petted on the head
  • Pounding temples
  • Clumsiness

How to Help if Your Dog Has a Headache

dog sleepy

Allowing your dog somewhere quiet to sleep and relax can help them recover from a headache

©Kuznetsov Alexey/

Create a safe area for your dog if they are under any stress, such as from booming noises, to help lower their risk of headaches. Find a place in your house where they feel safe and at ease, and offer them things that have their scent. 

They may detect familiarity and trust through their aroma and your tender care. After that, give them the time they require to recover. Every dog who gets headaches might have a particular habit or technique that makes their aching head feel better. Here are some methods for relieving your dog’s headaches.

Keep Fresh Water near Them

Just like humans and other animals, dogs need water to survive. Dogs’ bodies require water to function correctly if your dog is missing this crucial component. Dogs who are dehydrated or hot experience headaches. 

It’s critical to give your pup a plentiful supply of fresh water in their drinking bowl, particularly on hot days, to avoid headaches. If you don’t correctly hydrate, your dog’s brain will gradually shrink due to fluid loss. 

Your dog will experience painful headaches due to developing head soreness from this. However, after drinking enough water, their headache will go away, and their brain will return to normal.

Give Them Space or an Ice Pack

A hot or cold compress can help relieve the pain of a headache


Giving your dog some space while they have a headache might be beneficial in addition to creating a safe area. Depending on their personalities, dogs occasionally want to be left alone to resolve their problems independently. Even though you may wish to assist your dog who is experiencing a headache, there are times when it is preferable to give them the comfort they require and let them get through it on their own.

If a human has a headache, using a hot or cold compress on the forehead can assist ease any pain. Dogs may use this too. A cool or hot compress will help ease your dog’s tension in their neck and head while also soothing them if you notice any indications that they might be experiencing a headache.


While there isn’t a solid answer about dogs getting headaches, it’s not a far stretch to say that they can; several things can cause a headache in a dog. Like in humans, colds, allergies, and dehydration can bring them on. If you see your doggie showing signs of a headache, like avoiding getting a pet on the head or trying to avoid the lights, try some remedies.

Keeping them in a calm, quiet, and dim room can help them recover, along with fresh water. Sometimes leaving them alone is better; how do you feel when you have a headache, and someone keeps talking to you? Usually, headaches don’t mean anything to be worried about, but if your dog is acting out of character in a sickly way, a vet can help you find out why. Check out the posts below for more insight into your dog’s health!

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © 135pixels/

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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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