Dog Can't Stand Up or Walk [Common Causes & How to Improve Mobility]

Dog Can't Stand Up or Walk [Common Causes & How to Improve Mobility]
Shop our solutions →

Being the lively (occasionally mischievous) lovebugs they are, mobility is key to a dog's well-being. Loss of mobility, either partially or entirely, threatens to limit your dog's daily activities. But it doesn't need to be so! We're here to talk about what you can do if your dog can't stand up or walk.


Your first priority should be diagnosing the injury. From there, you can work with a veterinarian to form a treatment plan. Depending on the severity, it could be as simple as a few days' rest at home. Mobility issues can be worrisome for any pet parent, but with proper treatment and at-home care, your dog can make great strides ⁠— literally!



Why is My Dog Having Trouble Standing Up?

To provide your dog with the best possible care, you need to get to the root of their problem. Various conditions may lead to leg weakness in dogs, including the following:


Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a condition in which the hip joints grow out of sync. As a result, the ball and socket of the joint do not fit together properly. This can lead to mobility problems in the hind legs. Hip dysplasia develops gradually as dogs age, so it cannot explain a sudden loss of mobility.


Vets can easily diagnose hip dysplasia using physical examinations and x-rays. You can manage most cases with natural or medicinal pain relief, but severe cases may require surgery. Hip dysplasia is a fairly common condition (especially for large breeds like the German Shepherd), so your vet will probably have lots of experience treating it.


Intervertebral Disc Disease

There are two types of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). Type I occurs when one or more intervertebral discs (the cartilage rings between each vertebra) break. It is common in dogs with long backs and short legs, like Dachshunds and Basset Hounds.


Type II IVDD occurs when one of the intervertebral discs protrudes out of place. It is more common in large dog breeds. Both types of IVDD can compress the spinal cord, leading to your dog's inability to stand or walk properly.


Treatment for IVDD depends on the severity of the condition. You may be able to manage mild cases with rest and strict limits on movement. Serious cases may require surgery. Anti-inflammatory medications or supplements can keep your dog comfortable during treatment and recovery.



yellow lab lying on couch



Vestibular Disease

The vestibular system is part of your dog's brain and inner ear. It regulates their sense of balance. Vestibular disease can damage this system, leading to issues with balance and mobility. Other symptoms include nausea and a change in appetite.


Causes of vestibular disease include ear infections, injuries, hypothyroidism, and allergic reactions to certain medications. Vestibular disease typically resolves on its own or with the help of antibiotics. The recovery time is typically 2-3 weeks, during which you can help your dog with nausea and pain remedies.


Joint Disorders

Many senior dogs experience joint problems. They are a common, age-related condition that you can typically manage with a combination of physical therapy and pain relief aids. You can provide them best joint mobility treats.


Depending on your personal preferences, the severity of your dog's condition, and the vet's advice, you may opt for veterinary medicine like NSAIDs or corticosteroids, natural remedies like fish oil or CBD, or a combination.



If your dog suddenly loses the ability to stand or walk without showing any previous signs of trouble, an injury is the most likely culprit. Damage to the spinal cord or limbs can cause sudden loss of mobility and may require veterinary treatment.


If your dog suddenly stops moving, examine them for signs of an injury. Don't handle them, as this could make an injury worse. Just look, check with your eyes.


Can your dog stand at all? Are they limping? Do they have an obvious external injury like a cut or a broken bone? If your dog has a minor injury, you can administer simple first-aid measures, but you should take them to an emergency clinic for treatment if they have a serious injury like a broken bone.


Is It Common For Dogs to Have Issues Standing Or Walking?

Mobility issues are very common among older dogs. If your senior pet struggles with joint discomfort, they are probably experiencing natural, albeit frustrating, signs of aging. Mobility issues are a common sight for vets, so they should be well-equipped to offer help.


On the other hand, the complete inability to stand or walk is a rare and serious situation. If your dog loses all mobility, you should consult a veterinarian immediately to determine the underlying cause and start treatment.



What Should I Do If My Dog Can't Stand Up or Walk?

If your dog has an apparent injury or appears to be in serious pain, you should immediately bring them to a vet for urgent care. Otherwise, you can offer a home remedy for their discomfort and observe their condition for a few days. If it fails to improve, call a vet.


Treatment for mobility issues depends on their cause. Injuries may require surgery or a splint. Vets typically address long-term conditions with a combination of symptom relief and therapeutic exercise routines. There are many treatment options at your disposal.



dachshund getting physical therapy treatment



How Can I Help a Dog with Weak Back Legs?

Some physical conditions weaken a dog's hind limbs. In the most severe instances, this could leave the dog unable to stand or walk properly. A hip brace is a common, non-invasive approach to managing these problems.


Braces are a very common treatment option for dogs with mild to moderate hip dysplasia. The brace fits around the rear legs and above the tail. It places gentle pressure on the hips to help the joint stay in place. A brace can provide better mobility immediately without resorting to invasive options like surgery.



What Are Natural Ways to Help a Dog That Can't Stand Up Or Walk?

If your dog has a serious injury or urgent medical condition, you should take them to a vet. In other cases, you may be able to offer them natural support at home or as an addition to veterinary care. With that in mind, here are some natural remedies you can keep in mind for dogs with mobility issues:


Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is a great way to improve your dog's overall health in addition to treating specific issues. Canine physical therapy is similar to human P.T. Your vet can refer you to a professional canine physical therapist.


The physical therapist will assess your dog's condition and devise an exercise routine tailored to their needs. They can also teach you at-home exercises to do with your dog every day so that you can be part of their recovery. Many vets recommend physical therapy because it tends to your dog's entire body and provides support for the long term (as long as you stick with the regimen!)


Omega Fatty Acids

Omega fatty acids, most notably Omega 3, have anti-inflammatory properties. This has contributed to them becoming immensely popular dietary supplements for pets and people alike. Popular sources of omega fatty acids include fish, fish oil supplements, and hemp seed oil.



happy dog taking cbd oil




Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound extracted from hemp plants. It has numerous wellness benefits, including:


  • Relief from physical discomfort
  • Reduced nervousness and distress
  • Improved mood
  • Better sleep
  • Enhanced appetite and digestive function
  • Nourished skin and fur coat


Research shows that CBD can reduce swelling associated with joint disorders. It can also reduce the physical discomfort and mental distress associated with mobility issues, surgical treatment, and recovery.


CBD oil tinctures made with hemp seed oil are a great choice for dogs with mobility issues and discomfort. Hemp seeds contain omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, which, as we previously discussed, help reduce inflammation associated with injuries and joint conditions.



When to Go to the Vet If a Dog Can't Stand Up or Walk

If your dog has an obvious injury, like an open wound or broken limb, you should immediately take them to an emergency clinic. If they have a negative reaction to treatment or their condition worsens, you should contact the vet for an update.


We always recommend playing it safe. If you aren't sure what's limiting your dog's mobility or what you can do about it, call a vet and ask their advice. An early diagnosis improves your dog's chances for a full recovery, so it pays to be vigilant.



Final Thoughts - Dog Can't Stand Up or Walk

There could be many reasons why your dog cannot walk or stand as sturdily as they once did. From aging to injury, most mobility issues are common sights for vets. A complete inability to stand up or walk is rare, though, and may be the sign of a serious underlying cause. Consult a vet in such serious situations.


Most dogs can manage their mobility issues with at-home treatment. Give your pet a helping hand by participating in physical therapy and offering therapeutic remedies like CBD oil for dogs. Emotional support goes a long way during these difficult times. Try giving their recovery process a positive boost with yummy CBD treats from HolistaPet!

Reading next

Hemp for Dogs - Everything You Need to Know
Why Does My Dog Lick Everything? [Normal vs. Problematic Behavior]

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Looking for something in particular?

Stay connected & get updates on the latest pet news