Coping, News & Research

Dogs Could Alert Owners to Migraine Attacks Before People Notice Symptoms

Medical alert dogs are service dogs trained to warn a diabetic if their blood sugar drops or an epileptic if they have an oncoming seizure. Migraine is possibly another condition dogs can alert their owners to, according to a survey conducted on

Over 1000 of you completed this survey and 54 percent of you reported that you recognized a change in your dog’s behavior before or during the initial phases of your migraine. Most people reported their dog became excessively attentive before or at the beginning of a migraine. People often described their dog as becoming “clingy,” “glued to my side,” and “Velcro dog.” Intense staring, frantic licking, pawing, and whining were also frequently described. Interestingly, over half of those recognizing a migraine alerting behavior reported that this typically occurred before any migraine symptoms, usually within 2 hours of an impending migraine. And this link between a change in your dog’s behavior and a migraine occurred consistently for about 60 percent of people.

I frequently referred to my last dog as Velcro. I thought she damaged from being in a puppy mill, but maybe she was just warning me of impending migraine attacks. Since they were nearly constant, I wouldn’t be able to tell between her normal behavior and pre-migraine behavior.

Seriously, though, this could be significant for people with episodic migraine. Migraine abortives work best if they are taken as early as possible in the migraine attack. If you are able to correlate a change in your dog’s behavior and your migraines, your abortives could be more effective.

Does your dog behave differently before you have a migraine attack?