Why Is My Dog Swaying Back And Forth?

There could be a few reasons why your dog is swaying back and forth.

It could be a sign of a neurological disorder, inner ear infection, or vestibular disease.

If your dog is displaying other symptoms, such as vomiting or loss of balance, it’s best to take them to the vet for a check-up.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior, consider these tips for finding out if there is an underlying cause:

  • Examine your dog for signs of pain or discomfort in different areas of their body.
  • Observe their posture. Is their head lowered, or are they standing up straight? Do they look like they’re trying to hide behind you when you walk past?
  • Does your dog appear confused or disoriented? Are they unable to focus on one thing at a time?
  • Are they losing interest in activities that used to give them pleasure?
  • Is your dog showing any aggression towards other animals or people?
  • Your vet should be able to perform a physical examination to determine what’s causing your dog’s behavior.
Why Is My Dog Swaying Back And Forth

Swaying: A Normal Part Of Dog Behavior

Like humans, dogs can become dizzy when they look up too high or down too low.

This is called vertigo and is an imbalance in their inner ear that causes nausea and dizziness.

Dogs are prone to this condition since they have no neck muscles to support their head, so any movement of their heads can cause dizziness.

The good news is that most dogs recover from this quickly with proper rest.

However, if your dog has been experiencing dizziness for more than a day, you should bring him to the veterinarian for a complete examination.

Swaying behavior is also a normal part of dog behavior.

Some breeds tend to sway more than others, but all dogs will sway when they hear a loud noise.

It’s one way they protect themselves against danger.

When your dog hears a loud noise, he may start shaking his head back and forth to clear out any debris that may have gotten into his ears.

He’ll also try to get away by moving his head around, which is another reason swaying is considered a normal part of dog behavior.

One common misconception about swaying is that it’s always a bad thing.

In fact, many people think that if their dog is swaying, then something must be wrong with him.

They assume that there must be some medical problem because the dog isn’t acting normally.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Swaying is actually a very healthy sign.

Here are several reasons why your dog might be swaying:

Reasons For Excessive Swaying

The most common reason for excessive swaying is a vestibular problem.

This is a condition where the inner ear is not functioning properly.

The inner ear detects motion in space and sends messages to the brain about changes in head position.

When these signals are faulty, the dog will move back and forth.

Some dogs have a genetic predisposition towards this type of behavior.

They may also exhibit it due to an inner ear infection or damage from another medical condition.

Dogs with a vestibular disorder often sway excessively when they are awake but can fall asleep and stop moving completely.

Other causes include a neurological disorder that affects the cerebellum and/or the vestibular system, including the nerves that transmit information from the inner ear to the brain.

These disorders can cause the dog to display abnormal movement patterns, including swaying.

In some cases, the dog may appear to be drunk or even falling asleep while walking.

If you observe your dog swaying back and forth, there are certain behaviors that should raise concern.

Your dog should not be able to stand without support.

He or she should also not fall over or fail to respond to commands.

If your dog displays any other signs of illness, such as vomiting, lethargy, or loss of coordination, seek veterinary care immediately.

When To Worry About Your Dog’s Swaying

If you notice your dog is swaying excessively when they stand up, or if they’re just constantly moving their body from side to side, then this could indicate that there is something wrong with their spine, which can cause problems with their legs and hips.

This can lead to a condition called hip dysplasia, which means that the leg bones are out of alignment.

This is usually caused by overfeeding, but it can also be caused by genetics.

It is important to note that dogs who have hip dysplasia may not always display excessive swaying, so don’t get worried about it.

However, if you do see some sort of movement in your dog’s legs, or if they seem like they’re constantly moving their body from side to side, it’s time to bring them to the vet.

How To Help A Dog Who Is Swaying

The most common source of the problem is an inner ear infection.

This can cause the dog to tilt their head from side to side, while they are standing still.

The condition can also cause the dog to fall over when walking on firm ground.

If the dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should take them to the vet immediately.

They will perform a thorough examination to determine the exact reason behind the swaying.

In some cases, a CT scan may be required.

Another possible explanation for a dog who is swaying is a neurological issue.

Dogs with this condition have difficulty maintaining their balance, even when they’re not moving around.

Some dogs have a hard time keeping their heads up straight, which can lead to problems with their eyesight.

In rare cases, dogs experience dizziness when they stand up after lying down.

This can happen if there is something wrong with the nerves in their neck.

However, it is important to note that a dog who has experienced this symptom is likely to continue to do so.

A third possibility is a vestibular disease.

These problems affect the function of the vestibulocochlear nerve, which communicates between the ears and the brain.

Sometimes, the vestibulocochlear nerve becomes damaged through injury or disease.

When this happens, the dog will start to sway continuously.

Dogs suffering from vestibular damage will often display symptoms similar to those of an inner ear infection.

As a result, it is very important to rule out any vestibular diseases before performing tests on a dog who is swaying.

If the dog displays symptoms of an inner ear infection, such as vomiting or loss of balance, you should take them to the vet right away.

They will perform a full physical exam, during which they will examine the dog’s ears, nose, throat, and gums.

They will also conduct blood tests to detect any infections.

Once they have ruled out the presence of any infectious agents, they will proceed to treat the dog’s inner ear infection.


If you see your dog swaying back and forth, it’s important to get them checked out at once.

The first thing you should do is get them into the yard and get them comfortable.

Once they’re outside, you can start observing their behavior.

You’ll want to watch for signs of pain, such as whining or licking their ears.

If they’re crying, then that’s most likely an indicator of pain.

“Swaying” back and forth is one of many symptoms that dogs will display when they have an inner ear problem.

This condition causes the fluid in your pet’s inner ear to become displaced.

It usually occurs when there are problems with the bones in your pet’s inner ear, which can affect their sense of balance.

A dog who’s experiencing this may also seem disoriented, lethargic, or confused.

They may also show other symptoms, like vomiting or diarrhea.

When these things happen, it’s best to bring your dog to the veterinarian right away.

The next time you notice your dog swaying, don’t ignore it.

Instead, try to figure out what the cause might be.

There are several different types of disorders that can cause this symptom, so it’s important to find out what yours is before it becomes more serious.

Here are some possible causes:

  • Vestibular Disease – Vestibular disease affects the balance system in your pet’s brain. Your dog may not know where he is or how to move around properly because his inner ear isn’t working correctly. He may appear unsteady on his feet but still walk normally. However, he may fall over if he bumps into something.
  • Neurological Disorder – Sometimes, dogs develop neurological diseases, like epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. These conditions can lead to your dog becoming dizzy or falling over. Signs of this include excessive drooling and frequent urination. If these behaviors continue, it’s best to contact your vet immediately.
  • Inner Ear Infection – Sometimes, your dog will experience an inner ear infection that manifests itself as swaying back and forth. This is caused by bacteria or viruses entering the ear canal and causing swelling or inflammation. Often, this happens after your dog has had surgery or been exposed to certain chemicals. Signs of this include extreme sensitivity to light, noise, and touch. Your dog may also exhibit vomiting or diarrhea.
Megan Turner
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