Why Does Your Dog Stare At The Ceiling? (9 Reasons)

Dogs tend to look up at the ceiling from time to time. While the occasional look is nothing to be concerned about, repetitive staring could signal something wrong. If your dog is staring at the ceiling, it could mean something is there that only your dog can hear or see. However, it could also be a signal that your dog has developed an illness. Let us learn more about why your dog stares at the ceiling.

Dogs stare at ceilings for various reasons. There could be something living on your roof, or perhaps the upstairs neighbors are making interesting sounds. There could be light patterns on the ceiling. Your dog could have a tick or growth on the eye or a more severe illness like epilepsy or OCD.

When we see pets staring at things we cannot see, many of us conclude that there is a visitor from another realm in our home. We are no paranormal experts, but we can let you in on a few other reasons your dog could be staring at the seemingly blank ceiling. Reasons range from unseen critters to severe illnesses, so we recommend getting your dog checked by a vet if you are concerned. In the meantime, give the sage a rest, and let’s jump into our top reasons for dogs to stare at the ceiling.

Why Does Your Dog Stare At The Ceiling?

dog staring

We have collected our top reasons for dogs to stare at the ceiling. Some are interesting, some are funny, and some are a little more serious. We recommend finding out as much as possible about this topic. If you are concerned about your puppy, consider taking him to visit your vet to be sure all is well.  

Now, let’s look at our top reasons for your dog to stare at the ceiling.

Critters In The Roof

Most dogs have keen senses of smell and hearing. If your dog is staring at the ceiling and you have a roof, there may well be critters living or exploring up there. Consider taking a look and removing any unwanted house guests to give your dog some peace and quiet.

Noisy Neighbours

If you stay in an apartment, your dog could be staring at the ceiling because of the upstairs neighbors. Sure, we hear really loud noises, but it is possible that your dog can listen to quieter ones and even smell things. 

Perhaps they are scratching at something, have a new pet themselves, or are cooking something tasty. Your dog could be listening and smelling in on all of that.

A Tick Or Growth On The Eye

dog tick

Dogs often get ticks. Their propensity for running and rolling on grass and sand makes them easy targets. Ticks prefer skin with easy access to veins, and, unfortunately, the area around the eye is prime property. If your dog is looking up a lot, look around the eye and even inside it.

If there are no ticks around the eye, you might find growth. Many dogs get growths on or around their eyes, and most are not cancerous, but they are, no doubt, irritating. You might find that your dog is looking up to relieve some of the pressure, itching, or irritation of growth or tick on or near his eye.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Just like humans, dogs can develop obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). For some, it is hereditary. For others, it develops because of anxiety or a lack of stimulation. You might find that a dog tends to look up when frightened, and that action becomes a habit, resulting in OCD. 

Other habits you could see a dog performing with OCD include incessant licking, lip-smacking, nibbling on items or their limbs, or even biting at imaginary insects. OCD can be cured if it is identified early. If you are concerned your dog could have OCD, have him checked out by the vet to begin treatment.

Light And Shadows

accent lighting

Dogs see differently from the way we do. That means that the play of light and shadow on a ceiling can be of great interest to your dog. If you can’t see what your dog is looking at, move some items around and see if it makes a difference. Shake the drapes, move the lamp, and see if moving anything that could be casting light and shadows makes a difference.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is for dogs, much like Alzheimer’s is for humans. 

Unfortunately, our furry best friends are not immune to becoming senile. CDS tends to start at around eleven years old, and the older a dog gets, the more likely it is to develop this illness.

A vet can diagnose CDS after eliminating many other causes for your dog’s symptoms. The most common way to detect it is if your dog has changed his behavior and how he interacts with his environment. Staring at walls or ceilings is one way to determine that your dog could be suffering from CDS.

If it is determined that your dog has CDS, your vet will prescribe medications to help with symptoms like anxiety and sleeping through the night. A diet rich in antioxidants and stimulating exercises will likely be advised, too.


dog seizure

Suppose your dog is repeatedly staring at the wall or ceiling. In that case, he could be having partial seizures, also known as focal seizures. These could be caused by several things, including epilepsy, or poison. When dogs have seizures, they need medication to help the cause and manage the effects.  

It is a good idea to have your dog seen by a professional if you think he is having seizures of any kind.

Enjoying The Breeze

Your dog may be looking up because he enjoys the breeze coming from a window or air vent. Just like dogs like to put their heads out of car windows to enjoy the air in their faces, they also want to feel the breeze at home. An excellent way to assess if this is the cause of your dog’s ceiling staring is to check if he sits in precisely the same spot every time he looks up.

If you think your dog may be enjoying the breeze in summer, consider that the same draft could make them cold in winter. Be mindful of keeping your favorite pup warm if needed.

Something In The Eye

Another reason your dog could be looking up is if there is a foreign object in his eye. Tiny hairs or dust particles sometimes get stuck on dogs’ eyeballs, and that causes them to see things that we cannot see. If this is the case, the behavior should resolve when the foreign object moves away or out of the eye.


There are many possible reasons your dog could be staring at the ceiling. Perhaps he is enjoying the breeze or the dance of the shadows on the ceiling. Maybe your upstairs neighbors are cooking something tasty or have just brought home a new hamster. Your dog could be listening to critters inside your roof, or there could be a tick or growth on his eye.

Staring into space or at the ceiling could be a symptom of a severe illness, like dementia, epilepsy, or OCD. If you realize that your dog is staring at the ceiling and it is becoming worrisome, consider taking him to the vet to be checked by a professional. It could be mice, but by having him seen to, you could be saving your furry best friend from unnecessary discomfort.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.