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17 Reasons Why Your Dog Looks Up At The Ceiling + 5 Tips

Why Does My Dog Look Up At The Ceiling

Your pooch has developed a strange habit.

They often stare at the ceiling like they’re watching something up there.

Wait, are they seeing things? Creepy!

Continue reading to find out:

  • What makes your dog gaze at the ceiling for so long.
  • If you should be concerned about this staring behavior.
  • Do they see something or is it all due to hallucinations?
  • 5 practical tips on how to help them and stop this weird habit.
  • And many more…

Why does my dog look up at the ceiling?

Your dog looks up at the ceiling because they’re hearing some critters, bored, scared, or feeling a cold draft above. This can also be due to a habit, OCD, dementia, tick, foreign body, tumor, blocked anal sacs, seizure, epilepsy, flea medication, fly-catching syndrome, and gastrointestinal disease.

17 reasons why your dog looks up at the ceiling

#1: They sense something up there

Your pooch keeps on barking and staring at the ceiling.

OMG! Are they speaking to something we don’t see?

Relax. You don’t have to call the ghostbusters for this one. Instead, pest control is what you need.

It may look like your dog is looking up. But actually, they’re tracking a sound or a scent above so they point their snout upward.

You can also see their ears and nose twitching as they try to follow where it goes.

They might be hearing rodents or squirrels crawling inside the ceiling. As well as termites eating the wood in your house or drops of water due to leaking pipes.

You may also wonder: Why does my dog growl at night?

#2: Lights and shadows

Is your dog too focused on the ceiling?

And do they only do this once in a while?

Aside from bugs and spiders, canines’ eyes can also be glued to lights and shadows.

And they could either be fascinated or scared by these. 

#3: They’re understimulated

Dogs will also show odd behaviors if they don’t get enough exercise and attention. 

So staring up at the ceiling could be one of the weird habits they developed.

They might be keeping themselves occupied. Or waiting for lizards or cockroaches to crawl above. As this can also be a fun pastime for them.

Other subtle signs of boredom are:

Reading tip: 11 Extraordinary Reasons Why Dogs Nibble Clothes + 5 Tips

#4: They feel a cold draft above them

Your Dog Looks Up At The Ceiling When They Feel A Cold Draft Above

Is there a specific spot where your pooch does this?

Maybe near a vent or windows?

Because it could be that a cold burst of wind blows on them. And they might be looking for its source or liking the chilly air.

Drafts are caused by improper insulation. And these happen when cold air is being pushed inside as warm air is pulled outside.

So these may come from a gap around the openings, a crack on the wall, or even an electrical socket.

#5: They’re jittery

“I want to get out of here.


Aside from boredom, dogs might also look up when they’re uneasy.

They could be avoiding something around them. Detecting some weird noises above. Or, they were startled by a sudden sound.

Learn more: 7 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Is Acting Scared + Tips

#6: OCD

Your pooch stares at the ceiling way too often. And they’re also biting something in the air.

But you don’t see any insects flying.

“Why do they act like this?”

If it’s excessive and random, this could be an obsessive-compulsive disorder. A.k.a OCD.

It’s the uncontrollable urge of doing something. And based on a study, this might start during their social maturity – 18 to 24 months old.

“How can they develop this condition?”

This is likely inherited. But the signs will vary per breed.

For example, herding dogs are known to chase their tails. While guarding Fidos often have hallucinations. Say Rottweilers and Dalmatians.

The latter is due to their intense concentration and persistence. And it can also be the case for your pooch.

Canines who have this may not also stop following the lights and shadows above. Plus, they’ll look anxious and bark at the same time.

“What are other common compulsive behaviors in canines?”

Warning: If left untreated, this will become severe and affect your dog’s living.

Speaking of odd behaviors…

Check this out also: 7 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Like Period Blood (& Lick It)

#7: Canine dementia

Staring at the ceiling and walls is also an indicator of dementia in dogs.

Specialists show that 1 out of 3 canines aged 12 years old can have this. And they may exhibit some of these signs:

Their brain will be affected as well as its function. So they’ll have trouble remembering things.

They’ll also zone out often and this could be the reason for your dog’s ‘stargazing’ habit.

Read this article next: Why Does My Dog Stare Into Space? 7 Reasons Revealed

#8: Tick infestation

Does your pooch stare at the ceiling and move his head a lot?

This may look like a neurological problem. But, check their eyelids first.

There could be a tick under or around that’s bothering them. So they look up and try to get rid of it.

Ticks often get to the dog’s body by climbing on the snout. I’ve had several experiences like that with my dog, Lissa. 

At times, I’ve managed to brush the tick off before it got its head in Lisa’s skin. But once the tick was so tiny that it just went in Lissa’s fur and I couldn’t do anything about it. 

Well, the good news is that she’s internally protected by Nexgard Spectra. So I knew that after the tick drinks the blood, it’ll die. And fall of my baby’s fur. 🙂 

#9: Foreign body in their eye

Foreign Body In Dog's Eye

Aside from being infested by ticks, there might also be a tiny object that’s stuck in their eyelid.

One common culprit is grass seeds. There are tons of these in summer and your pooch can get them during walks.

These are less than 1/4 inch (0.64 cm) long and they could squeeze into your dog’s ears, eyes, and feet.

So you may also notice intense paw licking if some get between their toes. (Poor pooch!)

Note: The longer their fur is, the more grass seeds they’ll get. So keep your furry pal’s hair short especially in their paws and ears.

#10: Eyelid growths

Another discomfort in the eyes that causes dogs to look up is a developing tumor.

This is likely if your pooch scratches and paws at their eyes too. And it’s not easy to detect this as it’s often hidden under their top eyelid.

According to PDSA, these kinds of lumps are common in canines. And the good thing is, 75% of their cases aren’t cancerous.

However, early removal of the growth is needed. Because the bigger it gets, the harder it’ll be to cure.

So if you also notice that they have watery and red eyes, have them checked by a vet at once.

Further reading: 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Has A Lazy Eye + 7 Tips

#11: Impacted anal sacs

Your pooch has a strange ritual.

They look at the ceiling, turn around, then stare and licks their behind.

“What are they doing?”

First of all, it’s not a routine. It’s likely an expression of irritation. 

And if they keep on checking their bum, this might be due to blocked anal sacs.

“What are those?”

They’re 2 small pouches inside a dog’s anus that secrete a foul-smelling liquid. 

If not emptied properly, they could be blocked. And this causes discomfort.

Note: For your dog’s safety, don’t attempt to express their sacs on your own. Take them to the clinic to have them checked and drained.

You might also like: Why do dogs sniff their own bum?

#12: Focal seizure

What seems to be ordinary daydreaming could also be a seizure.

This isn’t as severe as convulsions so it’s called a partial or focal one. 

“Why does this happen?”

PetMD explains that this type only affects an area of their brain. So it has only an effect on one part of the body. Like the face or a limb.

Dogs who have this will often stare blankly at anything and move their eyes upward.

Warning: Although this starts as a mild condition, it can progress into a more serious one as they age. An episode that lasts for more than 5 minutes needs immediate medical attention.

#13: Idiopathic epilepsy

A dog staring aimlessly at the ceiling?

It can also be a sign of idiopathic epilepsy.

Research shows that 5.7% of dogs around the world have this condition. And it’s also common in humans.

The exact cause of this is unknown. Hence the name. But the only thing that’s confirmed is it’s inherited.

This is mainly observed in breeds like:

  • Vizslas.
  • Beagles.
  • Golden Retrievers.
  • Labrador Retrievers.
  • Shetland Sheepdogs.

“At what age do canines start to show any signs?”

Seizures may appear within 6 months to 5 years of age. And it’s more common in male Fidos.

Signs to look for are:

  • Shaking.
  • Drooling.
  • Whining.
  • Restlessness.
  • House soiling.
  • Disorientation.

#14: Flea treatments

Have you recently applied spot medication on your pooch?

Because there are reports that certain flea treatments also cause seizures. As well as tremors, vomiting, and nausea.

Some dogs will slowly look up at the ceiling then bite their tail. And this episode may occur 3 to 4 times a day.

The FDA says that these drugs have a pesticide named isoxazoline.

According to them, it’s safe for canines. However, they recommend consulting with your vet first before purchasing.

Approved brands containing the said substance are:

  • Credelio.
  • Bravecto.
  • Nexgard.
  • Simparica.
  • Revolution Plus.

Note: Even though you didn’t apply this on your dog, there could be a cat or other canines on medication. Your pooch could’ve touched the spot and accidentally licked some of it.

#15: ‘Fly-catching syndrome’

Dog's Suffering From A Fly Catching Syndrome

Apart from being a sign of an ailment, fly-catching can also be a syndrome itself.

According to experts, this is rare in dogs. And it may occur regularly, occasionally, or all of a sudden.

This also comes with:

  • Licking.
  • Jumping.
  • Swallowing.

“But what may have caused this?”

  • Hyperactivity.
  • Visual anomalies.
  • Food allergy (meat).
  • Peripheral neuropathy.
  • Vitreous opacity issues.

#16: Gastrointestinal disease

One study found that ‘star gazing’ in dogs is also a sign of an illness in the:

  • Mouth.
  • Stomach.
  • Esophagus.
  • Small intestine (first part).

These make up the upper gastrointestinal or GI tract.

But you may think, “How is this connected to their staring habit?”

It’s said that the pain causes dogs to extend their neck and raise their head.

At first, this will only happen once or twice for several days. But after a year, each episode will become more intense and frequent.

If your dog has this, you might also notice other signs like:

  • Gagging.
  • Anorexia.
  • Weight loss.
  • Dry heaving.
  • Fly snapping.
  • Regurgitation.
  • Painful swallowing.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Repeated swallowing motions.

Don’t forget to check out: 11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Licks Your Bed + 7 Tips

#17: They have a weird habit

If you don’t see any changes in your dog’s behavior and they don’t do this frequently, this might just be an odd habit.

Canines can do weird things sometimes. But, it’s not formed without a reason.

They might have gotten this while they’re still a puppy. And since it isn’t corrected, they keep doing this until they grow up.

5 tips on what to do if your dog looks up at the ceiling

#1: Watch them closely

There are plenty of possible reasons for this behavior. So, it would be best to monitor your dog and list down any signs you’ll notice.

But first, think about these things:

  • When do they start doing this?
  • How frequently do they look up?
  • Are there any other changes in their behavior?
  • Do they stare at a specific part of the ceiling or do they do it everywhere?

If their behavior seems excessive, record a video of them. This will help you and an expert assess their condition.

And if your dog shows other signs, you’ll put your mind at ease if you…

#2: See a vet

“Is this ‘stargazing’ caused by a behavioral problem?

Or a medical condition?”

These questions are racking your brain right now.

Some illnesses might not be easily detected. And seizures, in particular, aren’t only a sign of epilepsy.

So to be sure, bring your pooch to the clinic to rule out any health issues.

Plus, your dog will be given medications. These will help lessen their hallucinations, pain, or anxiety.


#3: Check the label

This is if you need to buy over-the-counter flea and tick treatments.

Your vet has a record of your dog’s medical history. So he or she knows which will suit them best.

It’s already known that some of these cause seizures as a side effect.

But, inspecting the label and talking with an expert can prevent that from happening.

What should I do?

Check if it suits your pup’s age. Some treatments might be made for adult dogs and not for puppies.

Read the ingredients. NRDC says that chemicals like s-methoprene or pyriproxyfen are less toxic. 

Consult about the dosage. This will vary based on their age, weight, or existing illness. As well as if they’re on another medication so seek a professional.

Report. If any side effects happen on your pooch, contact the manufacturer. And let the FDA know through or 240-402-7002.

#4: Manage their environment

If your pooch is having seizures, ensure that they’re in a safer place.

AKC says that they tend to fall after looking at the ceiling.

So, gently hold and place them away from stairs, windows, or doors. Then put a cushion in front of them or by their head.

Remove any pointed or fragile objects around that may hurt them while they’re having a fit. And also, lessen the amount of light and background sounds in the room.

But if your dog suffers from dementia, avoid making them confused.

Meaning, stick to a consistent routine and don’t rearrange the furniture in the house.  And place their bowl, toys, and bed in one accessible place.

#5: Keep them fit and busy

Working out their body isn’t the only thing you need to do.

This is because stimulating their minds is just as important for dogs. And canines with dementia will also benefit from it.

Make them try out new games. But to avoid boredom in the long run, mix them up every day.

“What are some fun activities for doggos?”

Finding treasures: Hide treats or toys around and make your dog look for them.

Playing interactive toys: Give them some safe puzzle toys. Preferably those that have detachable parts or snack dispensers. 

Shaping game: This is ‘molding’ a certain skill such as lying down and shaking hands. But it’s done in a fun step-by-step process.

Hide and seek: Ask someone to make your pooch stay in one place while you hide. Once you’re all set, call them out. And reward them if they find you.

People also ask: 

Why does my dog look up at the ceiling and sniff?

Your dog looks up at the ceiling and sniffs because they feel scared or sense critters inside. They may also have gastrointestinal problems or epilepsy.

Did something happen earlier? Like a sudden fireworks display, rumbling thunder, or having unfamiliar visitors? If so, your pooch can be stressed from it.

Reassure them by patting them softly. Then lead them to a quiet room for them to settle down.

If they’re also barking, there could be small animals inside your ceiling.

But, if they show any signs of illnesses listed above, it can be an underlying medical problem. And they need to be treated asap.

Why does my dog stare at the ceiling fan?

Your dog stares at the ceiling fan because of the air, noise, dust, and shadows it produces. If they’ve never seen one before, they might be afraid of it or fascinated by its movements.

They may also be bored so they follow the fan as it rotates to pass time. But, if they do this too often, it could be due to compulsive disorder.

Lastly, fear of new items is common in dogs. But with constant exposure to ceiling fans, as long as it isn’t traumatic, you can help them get rid of their nerves.