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Sudden Mobility Loss: Helping a Dog Who Can’t Walk

A sudden change in your dog’s mobility is alarming. Nothing is worse than watching your dog struggle to stand and unable to support themselves on their back legs. As a pet parent you feel helpless, what can you do? Whether from injury, illness, or a debilitating mobility condition there are several reasons why a dog may become suddenly paralyzed. If your dog is struggling to walk on their own, appears weak, and their legs are unable to support themselves, you need to see a Veterinarian immediately. 

Hind Leg Weakness: When Your Dog’s Back Legs Give Out

Helping a dog with hind leg weakness

A dog’s sudden paralysis and mobility loss is scary. There are many reasons why a dog’s back legs give out, understanding the cause will help you to understand what needs to be done. Your pet needs to see a pet professional as soon as possible. 

A few canine mobility conditions that affect a dog’s back legs include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Knee injury or ACL tear
  • Traumatic injury
  • Arthritis
  • FCE or spinal stroke
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • IVDD or slipped disc
  • Vestibular Syndrome

Depending on the underlying cause, a dog’s paralysis may be temporary or permanent. Canine rehabilitation can help your dog to maintain muscle, regain leg strength, and learn how to walk again through structured exercise. Rehabilitation helps dogs restore balance, strength, and leg function. Although, not every dog will be able to walk again – every dog dealing with sudden mobility loss can benefit from conditioning exercises. 

What to Do When Your Dog Can’t Stand Up

Sudden mobility loss, doesn’t always mean paralysis. A dog being unable to stand up is a noticeable change in pet’s mobility. Struggling to lift themselves off the ground is often the first sign of mobility problems.

Most senior dogs will show signs of losing strength in their legs as they get older. A dog struggling to stand up is likely suffering from arthritis or leg joint pain. Aid your dog to stand with the help of a rear support harness. The leash allows you to give the boost older dogs need to get up on all four legs and steady themselves. Pets having difficulty standing or walking or seem to be in pain need to be seen by a veterinarian. 

Continued exercise is always recommended for arthritic pets. The very best thing you can do for a joint with arthritis is to use it. Consistent movement and putting weight on the joint encourages more joint fluid to be produced, which actually makes it easier for a dog to move their aching joints in the long run. Hydrotherapy or swim therapy is ideal for dogs with aching joints. They get the benefit of exercise without putting too much stress on their joints. For longer walks, a dog wheelchair will reduce the weight being placed on the joints but allow the dog to continue to move and strengthen the muscles around the joint. With time and proper treatment your dog may get strong enough to stand on their own. 

Dog Wheelchairs for Rear Leg Weakness

Dog wheelchair for sudden mobility loss

Keeping your dog active is vital to their quality of life. A dog who can’t stand or walk on their own can become immobile and depressed.

A dog wheelchair is designed to support their weak hind legs, providing them the rear leg support they need to exercise. Whether your dog’s rear legs are paralyzed or just weakened, a dog wheelchair will help. Even dogs who are still able to move their hind legs will see improved leg function with the help of a rear support cart. Dog wheelchairs help dogs to stand, maintain balance, and stay healthier longer. 

Regardless of the injury or mobility condition impacting your pet, a dog wheelchair helps them to get back to a normal life, maintain a positive outlook on life and continue to exercise daily. In the long run, a dog wheelchair will extend their life and improve their overall quality of life.

Husky dog wheelchair buy now

Did we answer all your questions on "Mobility Loss"?


  1. I have a 8 or 9 year old chihuahua that has recently lost the ability to use his back 2 legs. I want to take him to the vet but, I DO NOT HAVE ANY MONEY in order to take him in though.




    PHONE – 856-883-5998

  2. Good day! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hi. Our 4 year old Great Dane, Samson, just suffered an FCE last Thursday that left him with no mobility or sensation in his two hind legs. We’re absolutely devastated. He’s seen a neuro vet, as well as his regular vet, and they said his prognosis for recovery was slim since he doesn’t have any pain sensation. Any advice? We’re perfectly welcome to the idea of a wheelchair but we’re worried he may never be able to control his bowels/urine. Ever see those come back despite lack of sensation

    • Hi Brittany,

      We have seen great success with Great Danes using our wheelchairs, just check out this before and after video of Olive the Great Dane using her Walkin’ Wheels. Using a wheelchair for regular exercise actually encourages dogs to relieve themselves naturally. Only your veterinarian can help determine if your dog will every regain full bladder and bowel control, but we have seen many paralyzed dogs who have been able to relieve themselves with ease by relying on a wheelchair during their walk – especially when its a dog the size of a Great Dane. Please give us a call at 888-253-0777, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Wishing you and Samson all the best as he recovers!

  4. Sudden mobility loss in dogs can be distressing for both the pet and the owner. It is crucial to approach the situation with empathy and seek veterinary attention promptly to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate care.

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