Jekle and Hyde
by Lesley Flood
Dougal is a 6 month old Westie (female) she was a joy to have up until 3 weeks ago. We had her spayed and everything went fine. The vet was pleased with her and Dougal had acted as if nothing had been done and then she changed.
She went from a happy go lucky pup to the hound from hell. The vet can't find anything wrong with her physically but she now nips at both my husband and I and air bites. When she is not doing this, she is barking at everything and everyone constantly. I am at the end of tether. She is on James wellbeloved dry food, so i don't think its an allergy. Please help me get my contented, happy pooch back.
I'm sorry to hear of your difficulties, this certainly is strange. I'm not a vet, but I personally think it's too much of a coincidence for this behavior change NOT to be related to her surgery in some way.
Sometimes a pup can go through some hormonal fluctuations after being spayed, and these can cause temperament changes. Usually it's a temporary situation and settles down after a while, but the overall result normally ends up with a dog who is, if anything, is 'more mellow' than before. Not more aggressive.
However, it sounds to me as though your pup is in pain, or at the very least some discomfort. The biting, snapping, and barking are signs of her distress, she doesn't know how else to show it.
If your veterinarian has examined her thoroughly and can't find anything wrong, you may either need a second opinion, or a referral to a more specialized vet. There is something going on here, and as her 'parents' it's up to you guys to find out what it is, Dougal can't help herself.
I totally understand how upsetting and frustrating this must be for you and your husband, but if you can find and treat the problem I would expect that the 'contented, happy pooch' you had before will return.
NB: If you haven't changed her diet recently, I would not expect that to be the source of the behavior, although it is possible for dogs to react badly to certain ingredients. It probably wouldn't hurt though to try a food that is specifically designed for dogs with food allergies/sensitivities. You can find out more about dog food allergies and the sorts of food you can try, on my page. Also remember that treats can be highly flavored/colored and some dogs react badly to these ingredients.
I wish you and Dougal the best of luck and hope you get to the bottom of her problems soon.