From Alex Griswold, 2.3K RTs, 3.2K Likes:

Brooklyn hipsters aren't vaccinating their dogs because they think it'll give them dog autism, which does not exist

[Link to https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/892455062621966336 , which in turn links to Not a shot! Anti-vax movement prompts Brooklynites to withhold inoculations from their pets, vets say]

The article itself quotes a vet who also is doubtful:

“I had a client concerned about an autistic child who didn’t want to vaccinate the dog for the same reason,” said Dr. Stephanie Liff of Clinton Hill’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care. “We’ve never diagnosed autism in a dog. I don’t think you could.”

I'm not interested in whether vaccines can cause autism (there's lots of questions on this site already about that), but in Alex's claim that autism doesn't exist in dogs.

Can dogs have autism?

  • Perhaps the actual question is more suitable for the Pets or Biology sites?
    – jamesqf
    Aug 5, 2017 at 17:25
  • 1
    As a dubious claim with notoriety that can be handled with application of reason and evidence, I think it's fine on Skeptics. Pets and Biology might well close it for being obviously (to them) nonsense.
    – Nij
    Aug 5, 2017 at 23:27
  • 7
    Of course, one should note that all cats are autistic. Aug 6, 2017 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


Dogs definitely can be diagnosed with behavioral issues or have abnormal dog-to-human and/or dog-to-dog interactions. Behavioral issues like these in dogs have been suggested to have some similarities to autism spectrum disorder in humans by some researchers. The conclusion comes from this 2014 paper that finds a correlation between levels of certain hormones between children with autism and tail-chasing Bull terriers.

That said, autism isn't a condition that is well-established by the veterinary community or frequently diagnosed by most veterinarians. Part of this is due to many of the symptoms used to diagnose humans with autism are directly related to language development and human-to-human socialization, so do not apply directly to dogs. Most dog owners wouldn't be particularly concerned if their pet was uninterested in socializing with other dogs or engaged in repetitive OCD-like behaviors (that weren't destructive); unlike parents who would feel the need to intervene if their child is uninterested in socialization or isn't developing language.

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