Dogs Daily Tips

Why Is My Dog Flinching All Of A Sudden?

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In this article, you will know the answer to the query “Why Is My Dog Flinching All Of A Sudden?“.

The dog flinches away from your hand, tail tucked between his legs, fear in his eyes – what does this even mean? 

Dogs may suddenly flinch for a variety of reasons without any connection to you or anything you have done. This can be caused by several reasons, and we can see what we can do to help our dog get back to being his old, confident self again.

What is Flinching? Why is My Dog Suddenly Flinching?

Dogs who are shy or sensitive frequently flinch as an instinctive reaction to fear. 

It could also be a reaction caused by a trauma that occurred to him as a puppy. 

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A lot of abused dogs flinch when you raise your hand close to them, but in this case, the dog does it all the time. When your dog starts flinching all of a sudden, if he has never displayed such behavior before, you should seek out the cause elsewhere. An event that happened to the dog recently does not refer to a past trauma. 

Dogs might flinch unintentionally when you just want to pet them because of an injury, an infection that causes pain, vision or hearing problems, seizures, or an incident that you didn’t witness or know anything about.

Another possibility is that your dog’s sudden reaction is perfectly natural and relates to his emotional development, the so-called puppy fear periods.

What are the two puppy fear periods?

There are two fear periods for dogs, according to experts. 

When the puppy is quite young, around 8 to 11 weeks, the first takes place, and the second takes place in his teens, which may be anywhere between 6 to 14 months.

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The first puppy fear period

This period of puppy fear tends to overlap with the first time the puppy meets his/her new family. 

As they are weaned right around eight weeks of age, puppies are starting to gain their independence from their mothers.  

As a result, they explore more and socialize more during this period. In the process of becoming independent, one also becomes aware of all the potential dangers.

Due to the dog’s delicate emotional development at this point, it’s best to wait until he’s over it before relocating the pup. 

Traumatic events that take place during this period might leave a lasting impression on the dog for the rest of his life.

The second puppy fear period

You might have a young dog that is suddenly flinching because he has entered the second puppy fear period. 

By the time a dog is 12 months old, he is usually all grown up and you see him like an adult dog. 

It’s not true, he’s still a puppy learning about the world.

It’s important to know that your dog will not act weird all the time during this fear period. This isn’t an ongoing fear he is experiencing. 

Generally, the dog will have some fear episodes every now and then, and for no apparent reason.

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A dog in this stage might suddenly be afraid of things he used to greet with a happy bark every day, like the trash can or the neighbor down the street. 

It’s impossible to know what’s going on in his head.

Dogs around the age of 6 to 14 months, or even 18 months in some cases, may flinch because of this fear stage, but they will usually outgrow it fairly soon.

How can pain make a dog flinch all of a sudden? Why Is My Dog Flinching All Of A Sudden?

Your dog may flinch from your gentle approach in a reaction that is comparable to a child who has experienced terrible abuse. 

Dogs aren’t afraid of people, they simply don’t want to be touched because they’re in pain. The cause of an infection or a wound can range from a strained muscle to a wound.

It is only natural that he would avoid you if his back hurts. 

Even if the dog gives you an angry look at this point, he might actually be angry at you because you are the one in charge, and you don’t seem to be doing anything to help.

You can help him the most by taking him to the vet and having him examined. 

It is obvious you should not rush your dog to the vet the first time he does this sort of sudden flinch because it could be anything, like an upset tummy that will disappear the next day.

You must take action if your dog flinches more frequently or every time you approach him. 

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Check your dog from head to tail for injuries, bites, ticks, or signs of infection if the dog allows it.

If your dog is suddenly flinching for external reasons, that is easily treatable and he will be back to his usual happy-go-lucky self.

Loss of senses can make the dog flinch all of a sudden

Most of these pets are seniors, with declining health and progressive deterioration of their senses. 

The dog doesn’t understand this age thing, just like he doesn’t understand anything else about you. It’s not your fault at all.

The objects appear dim or the contours fade when a dog’s vision is affected by cataracts, a common condition in older pets. 

The unfamiliar surroundings might scare him, which is why he is scared when you approach him gently.

The same is true for those who have lost their hearing. 

Even when he was lying dozing off in a corner, your dog could recognize the footsteps of every member of the family. 

He’s sure to be startled when you show up in front of him all of a sudden now that he can’t hear that well. 

It makes him flinch. 

In his position, you would do the same thing.

While the vet may be able to improve the dog’s eyesight, he cannot help him if he suffers from hearing loss. 

It will be necessary to learn to live with your pet if this is the case. 

In order to avoid scaring the dog, try not to approach him when he isn’t aware of your presence.

Sudden flinching caused by a traumatic experience

You need to start examining what recent events might have caused your dog’s strange behavior when he starts behaving strangely without a physical reason.

You can rule out the possibility of the dog being kicked or abused in any way as long as the dog is always in your care. 

Alternatively, if you have recently left your dog in a daycare or with a minder you barely know, he might have been abused. 

Doggy daycare has experienced cases of dogs being kicked. 

So, do not jump to conclusions and start making accusations you cannot prove, but perhaps you should reconsider your options and make different arrangements for your beloved pet.

Nevertheless, there are many other situations in which a dog may undergo trauma. Has your house recently been moved? 

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Is there someone new living in your house, a baby, or a new partner? 

Has anyone left?

It can be stressful to move houses for humans, but for dogs that find themselves in an unfamiliar place, it can be even more stressful. 

Ensure your pet has his own sleeping quarters just as he used to, unpack all of his favorite toys, and give him time to adjust.

How to deal with a dog flinching all of a sudden

It’s important to first determine if there is a physical problem causing this behavior. 

Injuries and infections will most likely heal on their own, or if he has seizures, he will be given medication to ease the symptoms. 

Once the underlying cause of the dog’s flinching is dealt with, the dog will stop doing it.

In contrast, if it’s entirely in his mind, you should show understanding and help the dog figure it out.

  • Don’t worry if it’s about the second fear period. He will outgrow it in time.
  • The dog should not be forced to go near the object or person he appears to be afraid of.
  • Allow him to be himself, even if it means cowering in his safe space.
  • When he feels comfortable, let him get close to you or whatever scares him.
  • Consider socializing your dog more.
  • You can let him have fun at a dog park to relieve whatever stress he might be experiencing.
  • Seek the advice of a dog trainer or a canine behaviorist if nothing else works.

Anyhow, you shouldn’t be upset with your dog if he flinches out of nowhere. There’s nothing you can do about it.


Whenever a dog suddenly flinches, there is an explanation. 

It’s possible that he is going through a phase of fear, which is completely normal and will pass.

You should take your dog to the vet if there’s a physical problem causing him to flinch, such as pain or vision loss, and, in most cases, the behavior will disappear once the underlying issue is resolved.

You can just wait until he gets it sorted out in his head if you can’t think of any reason for his behavior.

If you want to read more about dog daily tips, read here: Dog Daily Tips and Tricks.

Why Is My Dog Flinching All Of A Sudden? (Watch Video)

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