As a doggy owner, you never want to know that your fluffy companion is experiencing any pain or discomfort! So, if you’ve noticed a sudden change in the way that your dog is walking, there could be something serious going on that needs to be addressed.
There are lots of reasons your dog’s stride might be different - some serious, and others that can be treated at home through a simple change in diet or lifestyle.
Here at Petlab Co., we have looked into the different causes and reasons your pooch may be walking in a strange way. From ear infections and arthritis to neurological conditions and weight gain, it’s extremely important to take your dog to the vet if they’re doing any of these strange walking behaviours…
Weakness in the hind legs can cause your dog to become very uncomfortable and experience difficulty when walking – obviously. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may find your dog completely unable to use their back legs, causing a lot of difficulties doing day to day activities. This type of weakness is extremely common in older dogs, but can also affect younger dogs if there is a genetic trait.
Lameness, difficulty standing, stiffness, weight gain, incontinence and loss of balance are a few signs that your dog may show when losing strength in their hind legs . However, depending on the cause of this weakness, the symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly over time.
If you've noticed any of these signs, it is best to get them to a vet as soon as possible. The sooner you’re able to get a diagnosis, the sooner you will be able to support your pooch in the right way. Your vet will then tell you what is best, depending on the age and severity of the condition. This may result in using braces on the weak hind legs so that your pet can move independently.
When the condition isn’t too developed, lots of owners use physio and stretches to keep their dog's legs active. In doing so, it will also stimulate the blood flow around your dog’s body, helping to reduce other illnesses, too.
If your dog is showing signs of an abnormal gait, it could be down to a multitude of reasons. Symptoms tend to be struggling to walk, having a slight dip in their hip as they take a step or favouring a particular side when walking. Unfortunately, one of the main causes of an abnormal gait is canine arthritis, normally affecting older dogs or those with a genetic illness.
The changes in your dog’s physical movement may begin extremely minor, without much noticeable difference to what they're normally like. This can be incredibly concerning due to the way that their condition could develop – resulting in more avoidable health issues.
Reap up on the 5 Ways To Keep Your Dog's Joints In Good Condition here.
When your pooch is suffering from pain and discomfort in their joints, it can really affect their movement and general happiness.
An overlooked corrective and preventative solution for dog joint pain is supplements. Many owners aren’t aware how much science has advanced in the realm of dog joint care – and they really should be.
Over the last 2 decades, there have been a number of fantastic joint boosting supplements crop up on the pet supplement market backed up by sound scientific research which could be life-changing for your pup.
One ingredient to look out for is fish oil. The Omega-3 found in fish oil is proven to be an anti-inflammatory ingredient, with studies showing that it has the same effect as a painkiller on arthritic pain.
Have you ever sat and watched your dog walk in a circle before they lie down? Or turn a couple of times before they empty their bowels? Well, this is actually very normal behaviour! But, if they are circling regularly throughout the day, then you may be dealing with a poorly pup!
Circling could be a sign of an inner ear infection, injury or even an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) . An inner ear infection is the most common reason for your dog to walk around in circles… Normally accompanied by redness in the ear, head shaking and an odour from the ear itself. Check in with your vet for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Whether it is an infection or something a bit more serious, take your dog to the vet to get checked out. As said before, it could just be an ear infection, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Also, it is very easy to avoid infection in your pup’s ears. Make sure you have annual check-ups on their ears and eyes, as this will help prevent an infection in the future.
When you take your pup for a walk, have you noticed them taking a skip with every step? This isn’t a quirk that your dog has just started to do…it could be due to Patellar Luxation . This is a condition that occurs when a dog’s kneecap is dislocated from the normal position in the dip of the thigh bone. This type of problem is incredibly common in smaller dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Pekingese, so if you have a smaller pooch, be mindful of this as a potential problem. Get your canine companion to the vet as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms as your dog may need surgery if the case is severe.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that can be done to prevent this from happening, as it is a medical condition that could be in your dog’s genetics. However, there are things that you can do to support your dog if they're suffering from this condition. Lower furniture in your home so that your dog doesn’t have to jump or reach for things. This should help keep them from overextending their knees. You may also need to avoid taking them for long walks, as this may become difficult and cause pain.
Unlike leg weakness and abnormal gait, pacing is something that your dog will actively do, rather than something that is causing stress to their joints. Pacing can be an indication of a dog suffering from anxiety, restlessness or a struggle to relax. If you know your dog is prone to pace up and down when waiting for someone to come home, that is very normal! It is when your pooch is pacing daily...that is when it could be a serious health issue.
As one of the most common causes of pacing is stress and anxiety, it would be a good idea to try to find ways of supporting your dog during times of discomfort. You could consider natural, dog specific calming aids... Make sure you source from a reputable brand that make their aids with ethically and naturally sourced ingredients. Chamomile is a good ingredient to look for when assessing product formulas – a proven natural sedative that will help reduce anxiety and stress. Natural doggy calming aids can help to improve their pacing and anxiety.
If your dog is rearing up on their hind legs of their own accord, this is considered a sign of affection! Some dogs even do this together when they're playing with one of their furry pals. If it's a brief behaviour, this is usually fine!
You should only be concerned if you see a dog walking on their hind legs for a reasonable period of time. Dog's are not meant to walk on their hind legs. If you see a dog walking on hind legs on a video online or on the street, this is usually because the dog has been trained (very often in an abusive way via fear and intimidation) to do so. It is not natural for a dog to walk in this way, and can cause long term damage, so try not encourage this abuse by sharing/forwarding those videos and never try to get your dog to do the same.
When things are wrong, your dog can't always tell you there is an issue. So, when there is a change in the way your dog is walking, it becomes a visible cause for concern! Although there are many reasons and causes for these changes, it is wise to get them checked out by a vet! As said before, the sooner you find the source of the problem, the quicker you can help support your much-loved pet. Once you know what is going on, you can get your dog back to living a normal life, as much as possible. Your dog’s health and wellbeing are very important, so making sure they’re comfortable and healthy is your key responsibility!