11 Common Reasons Your Dog Keep Looking at the Ceiling

You love your canine so much and even prefer to spend most of your time with them. In the past few days or so, however, you’ve noticed something strange about them – your dog keeps staring at the ceiling!

It’s one thing that’s likely to stir up more questions than answers. Why is your dog doing it? Could your canine be seeing a ghost? Does it have anything to do with a medical condition? Is there a paranormal activity happening in your house without your knowledge? Can you do anything about it?

Well, these are just a few of the many questions likely to pop into your head. And yes, in this article, we will be telling you more about why it’s happening. Keep following!


Why Does My Dog Keep Looking at the Ceiling?

Why your dog keeps looking at the ceiling could be because they hear or see something, they’ve developed a new habit, feel bored, suffer from a condition, and more. Dogs will always stare at the ceiling for a reason, so it’s up to you to find out what exactly is making your dog do that.

Pups generally have peculiar behaviors. That’s one thing every experienced dog parent will tell you. To understand your canine better, you have to familiarize yourself with all these odd habits and the message each carries.

Looking at the ceiling isn’t too strange for our furry friends. In fact, it may not be the first time your canine is behaving in that manner. Yes, they may have done it before, only that you may not have been keen enough to note it.

So, what exactly is the stimulus behind that behavior?

That very question once bothered me. That was about two decades ago after I got Claude, my first dog (keep resting in peace). Having him stare at the ceiling for hours day in day out just looked too odd for me. I didn’t have much knowledge about dogs then, so it really made me worry. To get the science behind it, I opted to do research and consult several dog experts. Here is what I found out!

11 Common Reasons Why Your Dog Keep Looking at the Ceiling

1. Your Canine is Sensing Something Up There

One fact about dogs is that they have more developed sensory organs than humans. Your dog smells, sees, and hears better than you. Actually, there’s a wide gap between their sensitivity and that of humans.

Let’s pick the sense of smell, for instance. Canines can pack up to about 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. You and I each only have about six million. Just a bit of maths – their noses are up to 50 times better than ours.

And that’s just on the sense of smell alone. The eyes and ears are just as good. So yes, the next time you see your Fido stare at the ceiling, know that they could be picking up something you aren’t.

2. It’s All Because of The Fan

If you have a ceiling fan, it might be one keeping your dog’s eyes fixed up there. They may not have anything spectacular in our eyes, but fans are perfect for capturing your dog’s attention. Canines generally find the circling motion of the blades satisfying.

Some canines even develop the anxiety of ceiling fans, especially if seeing it for the first time. It’s a common thing for dogs to fear new items. So, if you just installed a ceiling fan, then know it might be the reason your canine is staring at the ceiling.

Again, when spinning, ceiling fans produce air, dust, noise, and shadows. All these will stir enough curiosity to keep your dog staring at the ceiling for many hours. Your canine want’s to know what will come about from what they see, hear, or feel from the fan.

3. You Have an Understimulated Canine

Much more like humans, dogs get bored. You have to give your dog physical and mental stimulation to keep them engaged, happy, and well-behaved.

Inadequate physical and mental stimulation is enough to make dogs develop odd behaviors, such as staring at the ceiling. By looking up there, your furry friend is trying to find a way to keep themselves engaged.

If the cause of the gazing habit is boredom, you should notice signs such as pacing, excessive licking, sudden scratching, and nibbling on things. A bored dog will also try as much as possible to avoid eye contact.

Finding time to interact with your pet may go a long way to bring positive results. You can also consider getting dog-friendly interactive toys if you don’t have the time for interaction.

4. Your House is Drafty

Improper insulation causes drafts, and that can also make dogs stare at the ceiling. By looking up there, your dog may be trying to find the exact source of the draft. Your dog feels something cold blow on them and is curious to know the source.

At times your dog will look up because they are enjoying the chilly air. It doesn’t have to be coming from there. Perhaps looking at the ceiling positions them best to enjoy the cold air.

Where drafty air is the reason for the odd habit you see in your dog, you can only solve the issue through proper insulation.

5. It’s All For The Light And Shadows on The Ceiling

Dogs will lose their attention even to things that look too minor to humans. A case in point is light and shadows. None of these may capture your attention. Not even for seconds. But that’s not the case for pups.

If your dog keeps looking at the ceiling, and you notice that light is casting a shadow on it, that’s enough reason they act that way. These loyal buddies are intelligent beings. They may even know the science behind shadows. However, probably your dog has never thought it possible to have shadows on places like ceilings.

6. Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD)

Dogs that look at the ceiling for extended periods could also be having OCD. This condition manifests through exaggeration of normal dog behaviors.

Sure, a glance at the ceiling isn’t a bad thing for your pet. After all, it comes naturally. However, when exhibited longer than usual, that should send a different message.

Compulsive behavior can result from stress and frustration. It can also develop if there’s a reward attached to the behavior. For instance, if staring at the ceiling gets your attention, canines will opt to do that every time they feel ignored.

Where OCD is the reason for the behavior you see in your dog, you need to get in touch with a veterinarian behaviorist. It can only worsen with time, so you should seek help as soon as possible.

7. Your Dog is Under an Attack

It doesn’t look like it, but tick infestation can make your dog behave the way they are doing. These tiny beings cause discomfort, and your pet will do all it takes to try and get rid of them.

When your canine keeps their head inclined to the ceiling, they may be doing that as a way of trying to remove these parasites. Dogs will also tend to shake their head quite a lot, and that’s to help shake them off.

Keep checking your pet more often for any tick. They may look small, but ticks affect the behavior and overall health of your canine. Medications providing internal protection from ticks will also do.

8. Beware of Idiopathic Epilepsy

Though very unlikely, Idiopathic epilepsy can still happen to your dog. This condition causes abnormal behavior in dogs. Epilepsy can make a dog look at the ceiling for hours, so don’t always carry it lightly.

Recent research shows that 5.7% of dogs around the world suffer from this condition. There’s also a claim that the disease is more likely in dog breeds like Labs, Golden retrievers, Beagles, Shetland sheepdogs, and Vizslas.

The cause of Idiopathic epilepsy is unknown, but it’s clear that it’s inheritable. It comes alongside signs like drooling, shaking, house soiling, restlessness, whining, and more. When you notice any of these, visit the vet as soon as possible.

9. It Could Be Focal Seizure

Seizures will also make your furbaby stare at the ceiling for long. However, that type of seizure is called a focal or partial seizure. It’s a mild form that won’t cause convulsions like the common violent ones.

According to PetMD, this condition will only affect a small part of their brain. That means abnormality is of the part of the body, which could be the face or limb.

To tell that it’s seizure and not other causes, look out for other signs such as unconsciousness, eyes rotating upward, and a blank stare. And like any other medical condition, contact the dog doctor as soon as possible.

10. Your Fido Has an Underlying Gastrointestinal Disease

As a pet parent, one thing you might have noticed about dogs is that they are very prone to digestive issues. These furry friends can develop gastrointestinal problems even from things that look very unlikely.

Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs of gastrointestinal issues in canines. That’s what most people know. But we have lots of other manifestations, including staring at the ceiling.

Staring at the ceiling, or star gazing, if you like, can result from upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract issues. This part of the gut involves the mouth, esophagus, small intestine, and stomach.

If your dog has issues with their upper GI, they experience pain that will radiate to the neck region, causing your canine to extend the neck and raise their head facing towards the ceiling. Excessive drooling, fly snapping, and gagging are all on the list of signs that your dog has GI issues.

11. It Could Be Fly-Catching Syndrome (FCS)

Although dogs will seldom develop it, the fly-catching syndrome can still be the reason your dog keeps gazing at the ceiling. It will come alongside other behaviors such as jumping, licking, and swallowing.

Dogs suffering from this syndrome will exhibit the odd behavior regularly, although it can still be from time to time. It can come from hyperactivity, peripheral neuropathy, food allergy (meat), gastroesophageal reflux (GER), and more.

FCS treatment depends on the cause, meaning it ranges from dietary changes to the use of enzymes and probiotics. So yes, you still need the vet to help in managing your dog’s condition.

Final Verdict

While it may look odd, it’s common for dogs to stare at the ceiling for long periods. More often, the causes aren’t health-related, so usually, there isn’t a reason to worry.

However, where you suspect that it could be attached to a health issue, reach the vet. The doctor will perform tests to see if there’s any condition and then adopt the necessary treatment.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult with a licensed and local veterinarian for medical advice.

About Shaun Clarke

Shaun is passionate about pets and animals, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits. He owns a dog and a couple of cats too. He loves visiting wildlife sanctuaries and shares a strong bond with animals. When he is not writing, he loves to do a barbecue in the backyard with his family and friends.