My Dog Can't Get Up After Lying Down

You're probably used to seeing your dog leap from a deep slumber to wide awake at the sound of the doorbell, a new person entering the house, or you picking up his leash to head out for a walk. But if your dog can't stand up or walk easily after lying down, you may be dealing with an injury or a physical issue. Don't panic because there are many potential causes for this issue, and most of them are highly treatable.

Dog at home
My Dog Can't Get Up After Lying Down
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Dog hind leg weakness causes

If you notice that your dog can't stand up or walk after lying down, there are a number of common causes that you'll want to consider first. According to Preventive Vet, arthritis is one of the most common causes for this type of issue. This painful joint inflammation can make it difficult for your dog to get up after sleeping and may cause limping. It may even cause your dog to adopt a painful stance once she is able to stand up.

Canine hip dysplasia is another issue that can cause dog hind leg weakness and difficulty rising. According to the American Kennel Club, canine hip dysplasia refers to an issue in which the dog's hip joint doesn't develop properly and eventually deteriorates and loses the ability to function. This condition is hereditary and common in large breeds, though it can also occur in small breeds. You may notice that a dog with hip dysplasia has trouble rising after lying down, develops a narrow stance in his hind legs, loses muscle mass in his hind end, and experiences a reduced range of motion that causes difficulty in activities like going up stairs or jumping.

Other potential medical causes

Though arthritis and hip dysplasia are common causes of a dog limping after lying down on the floor, they aren't the only medical conditions that can cause this problem.

Preventive vet mentions that nerve degeneration, muscle weakness, or muscle mass loss can all make it difficult for a dog to rise from a sleeping position. Inflammation or a mass in a dog's spleen or liver can create pain that makes it difficult for a dog to get up, while heart or respiratory diseases can also make it difficult for a dog to walk. In some cases, overgrown nails can even make it difficult for a dog to rise, especially on a slick floor.

If you see a puppy limping after rest, you may be dealing with a case of growing pains. Growing pains most commonly occur in large breeds, according to Dogster. When a puppy's bones grow too fast, you may notice the puppy limping when he gets up after sleeping, or he may yip or cry out if you touch the painful leg.

Determining the cause

If you notice that your dog is limping after lying down, or is having a hard time getting up, then it's time for a trip to the vet. Your vet will likely take a history of your dog, ask about the potential for any recent injuries, and perform a physical evaluation. In some cases, your vet may take x-rays or do an ultrasound to determine what's going on with your dog. Factors such as your dog's age, breed, size, and overall health will also be important in ruling out potential issues.

Helping your dog

The good news is that there are many ways to treat some of these common issues that can make it difficult for your dog to rise. For arthritis or other pain-related conditions, your vet will likely prescribe a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory.

There are many more rehabilitative techniques that can be used to address arthritis, joint issues, soft tissue injuries, and more. These include laser therapy, massage, hydrotherapy, and others. Your vets can address and recommend any therapies that they feel your dog will benefit from.

Additionally, you can do a lot at home to make your dog more comfortable. Preventive Vet suggests that you invest in a high-quality dog bed to keep your dog comfortable. Placing your dog's dishes up on a pedestal or platform so your dog doesn't have to bend down can make her more comfortable. You may also need to add carpeting to hardwood floors to give your dog additional grip when getting up, or invest in dog booties that can help give your dog the traction she needs.

Other strategies, such as keeping your dog at an optimal weight, performing regular nail trims, and supporting her with physical therapy exercises and stretches can help to keep her comfortable and moving.