Why is My Dog Walking Sideways?

If your pup has suddenly started walking sideways, you may be concerned. Don’t worry though – it’s likely caused by an injury or medical condition. While it can be concerning, with the right diagnosis and treatment plan, your pup should be back to their normal self in no time. It’s important to pay attention to any sudden changes in your pup’s walking, but with a little help and patience, you can get them back in step!

Causes of Sideways Walking

Sideways walking in dogs can be caused by an injury or a medical condition. Injury or trauma to the back, spine, or muscular-skeletal system can damage nerves and cause pain when the dog walks. Common medical conditions such as hip dysplasia and arthritis can cause the dog to walk sideways too, as the pain from these conditions can be worsened by walking.

If you suspect that your dog’s sideways walking is caused by an injury, check for any cuts, swelling, or bruises. If it is most likely a medical condition, look out for any limpness or unevenness in their gait.

If you think that your dog’s sideways walking is caused by an injury, it is best to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

The vet will be able to assess the problem and provide your dog with the proper treatment such as painkillers and physical therapy. For medical conditions, the vet may prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and help your dog with their mobility. In some cases, more serious treatment options may also be necessary. Whatever the cause of your dog’s sideways walking is, it is best to seek professional advice so that your beloved pet can be back to their normal, happy self in no time!


If your dog is walking sideways due to an injury, the most important thing is to identify the source of the injury so that it can be treated properly. You should first observe their walking pattern to see if there is any noticeable limping, or if your dog is favouring one leg.

If there is limping, swelling, or any other pain indicators, it is important to consult your vet for a proper diagnosis. If your dog’s sideways walking is the result of an injury, it is important to take measures to reduce the pain and inflammation. Start by providing your dog with a comfortable resting place and reduce their physical activity, as this will reduce the chance of further injury. You can also provide your dog with joint supplements, anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture and/or physical therapy to help reduce the pain and improve their mobility.

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Medical Conditions

Medical conditions can cause your dog to walk sideways. The most common conditions are hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the ball of the hip joint doesn’t fit properly into the joint socket, which causes pain and can lead to your dog favoring one side while walking. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints which can also lead to your dog favoring one side while walking. If you suspect any of these conditions in your dog, the best thing to do is to take them to the vet.

Your vet will be able to diagnose the cause of the sideways walking and provide treatment options. Pain management and physical therapy are common treatments for these conditions, which can help alleviate the pain and help your dog walk normally again.

Diagnosing the Cause of Sideways Walking

If your dog is walking sideways, it’s important to figure out the cause of the behavior. Have a look at your pup and see if they are limping or favoring one side. Check their fur for signs of a wound or tender spot, as well as any unusual scents or discharge that could be indicative of infection.

If your dog is in pain, they might be wincing or whimpering when touched or agitated.

Note if your dog is reluctant to move or walk. All these signs could mean a physical injury or illness.

If there is no sign of injury or medical condition, it could be due to normal behavior such as play, stress, or anxiety. In this case, you can observe your pup for a few days to see if the behavior resolves itself. If it doesn’t and your dog is still showing signs of pain or lameness, it’s best to take them to the vet for an examination.

The vet will be able to give you a more concrete diagnosis and offer treatment options. They can also provide you with tips and advice on how to manage your pup’s condition and help them return to their normal walking pattern. If your pup is walking sideways, don’t delay in seeking professional help.

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What to Look For

When looking for signs that something may be wrong with your pup’s gait, pay attention to how your pup looks and behaves when walking. If your pup is limping, favoring one leg, or walking with a more labored gait than usual, it’s time to pay close attention.

It might also be helpful to observe your pup from the side to see if it appears to be walking in an unnatural sideways manner. If you notice your pup struggling with coordination, balance, or stiffness, then it’s likely time to schedule an appointment with your vet. Other symptoms to look out for include your pup’s gait becoming increasingly abnormal with time, or if it appears to have difficulty getting up and lying down.

If your pup is walking less than usual, or if its back legs seem weak, that’s also a sign to look into. It’s also important to keep an eye out for any pain or discomfort your pup may be in when walking, such as whimpering, yelping, or whining.

If you see any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your vet. The sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment is started, the better the outcome for your pup.

This is especially true for older dogs who may be more prone to age-related medical issues that can cause sideways walking. Don’t wait until you notice a drastic change in your pup’s behavior, as catching the issue early can make all the difference.

Pain Management

Pain management is essential to help your pup get back on track. Start by giving your pup some gentle massage and warm compresses on the affected area.

Use an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Other forms of pain relief, like acupuncture, hydrotherapy, or laser therapy may be recommended by your vet depending on the severity of the condition. Make sure you discuss any medications with your vet and monitor your pup for any adverse reactions. Your vet may suggest a diet tailored to help with pain relief, such as a high-protein diet or one that is low in sugar and fat.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be a beneficial way to help manage the pain that is causing your dog to walk sideways. A physical therapist can help your pet build strength and increase their range of motion, which can improve their mobility and reduce pain.

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Depending on your pet’s diagnosis, the physical therapist may use a variety of treatments, such as massage, stretching, and range of motion exercises. It is important to talk to the physical therapist about your pet’s particular needs and goals, so that they can tailor a physical therapy plan that is right for them.

Your vet can refer you to a physical therapist or you can search for one on your own. Be sure to ask potential physical therapists about their qualifications and experience in treating pets.

It is also important to make sure that their facility is clean and that they have the necessary equipment to provide your pet with the best care. A physical therapist can provide your pet with the therapy and care they need to help manage their pain and improve their mobility. With a combination of appropriate treatment and your support, your pet can be on their way to feeling better and walking normally again.

Megan Turner

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