What Are The Signs Of Loss Of Mobility In Dogs?

loss of mobility in dogs

Loss of mobility in dogs can have several signs . Your dog may only have a few but can progress over time. 

Difficulty standing and walking 

Aging dogs lose muscle mass and can also develop arthritis which can be hard for your dog to stand. Standing may be a hard slow process and so can walking. Your dog may start to limp. 

Swaying hind end

This is most likely due to the loss of hind leg strength which is common in elderly dogs. 

Trouble jumping 

loss of mobility in dogs

Your dog won’t jump on furniture or in your car anymore. They probably don’t feel confident because of arthritis or loss of rear leg strength. Offer them assistance getting up and down.  

Trouble climbing

loss of mobility in dogs

Your dog won’t go up or down stairs. This is usually the first sign of loss of mobility in dogs.  They probably don’t feel confident because of arthritis or loss of rear leg strength. Another sign is that they don’t have control of their speed going down stairs. 

Hesitation engaging in normal activities

Due to pain, discomfort or trouble walking your dog who once loved to go on walks for example, may become less excited.  

Tucked paws dragging

Listen for your dog scraping their paws while they walk. This is usually in the hind legs and may only occur at times. Also, check for uneven nails, bruises and skin lesions. This can be caused by uneven paw placement when walking or dragging their legs. 

Skin ulcers

This can be caused by lack of blood flow due to the loss of mobility in your dog.

Shifting weight between legs

loss of mobility in dogs

You may see your dog lift certain legs to relieve the pressure off of their legs because of pain or discomfort. 

Showing other signs of pain and stiffness 

Your dog may whine if you touch their legs or it may be difficult for you to bend their legs due to stiffness. 


This can be caused by lack of movement. Exercise helps to keep the bowels moving and can be a problem with loss of mobility in dogs.

Inability to control bodily functions

This can cause urine and fecal scald if your dog has trouble controlling themself from going to the bathroom. If this happens they may need dog diapers and for sure need to be cleaned with wet wipes. Both urine and feces can be caustic to the skin (cause burns).

Loss of appetite

Your dog may eat less if they are less active or experiencing discomfort.

Speak with your veterinarian if you see any of these signs. Be aware of when you may be able to help your dog or make changes to their life to be more comfortable and enjoyable. With your help they should continue to be active and healthy. 

About The Author

Performance Dog Wheelchairs wants you to know that physical limitations are not the end to mobility. Our purpose is to give others and their dogs the ability to seek new adventures and overcome physical challenges with our wheels for handicapped dogs

A dog wheelchair is also referred to as a handicap dog cart. One of the common needs is for hip dysplasia. We offer three different models and have small dog wheelchairs and large dog wheelchairs. 

We offer a full support dog wheelchair which is also referred to as a dog quad wheelchair or four wheel dog wheelchair, a dog wheelchair for back legs and the patented SitGo Dog Wheelchair. This is the only one that allows your dog to go from standing to sitting without having to remove it. 

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