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What is Moving Slowly?

Pain, exhaustion, or lack of energy can cause a dog to move slowly. If you notice that your pet is sleeping more often, displaying slowed response to stimulation, and no longer shows interest in foods or treats he may be experiencing slow movement due to any number of underlying issues. 

  • Infection 
  • Pain
  • Parasites (Anemia)
  • Kidney Cancer

A dog’s moving slowly can be a side effect of illness or injury. While the issue may be resolved on its own, it is best to take your dog to a vet for a checkup if prolonged symptoms occur.

Why Moving Slowly Occurs in Dogs

While there are many reasons why a need to move slowly can occur in dogs, the three most common are infection, pain, and parasites. Additionally, illnesses such as kidney cancer can contribute to this symptom. It is important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and note any symptoms that may arise. Some minor issues can be resolved on their own within a day, however, any loss of energy or change in ability to move that is accompanied by more serious symptoms such as diarrhea or difficulty breathing will need to be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. 

Infection

 

Any kind of infection, such as distemper, kennel cough, or parvovirus can cause your dog to become lethargic or slow to move. It is of the utmost importance to get your dog to the vet in order to get the infection under control before secondary complications develop. 

Pain

If your pet is experiencing a need to move slowly due to some kind of injury it is best to monitor his behavior in order to determine the severity. Whether the injury is minor or major, if the symptoms continue for longer than 24 hours it would be best to visit your veterinarian for further diagnosis of the issue. Fractures, spinal injuries, and damaged ligaments may cause your pet to have hindered movements.

Parasites

Fleas and ticks can cause serious issues for your dog. A severe infestation can lead to anemia, which is the loss or destruction of a large amount of red blood cells. When anemia occurs your dog will experience loss of energy, decreased appetite, and energy intolerance. In some cases, an animal may show no signs of anemia at all. While this situation can be life threatening, the more minor cases can be treated without much difficulty at all. It is extremely important to get your dog to the vet as soon as you suspect anemia may be the underlying issue to your dog’s lethargy. Quick examination can result in a quick recovery. 

Kidney Cancer

When renal tumors occur, they can start out inside the kidney or spread from somewhere else in the body. This is not a common occurrence, yet all ages of dogs have the potential to grow such a tumor. It is extremely important to get your pet to the vet as soon as possible if any of these symptoms are seen in addition to slow movement:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Depression

While lethargy or lack of willingness to move are not necessarily deadly symptoms, kidney failure can result in death, so early detection of this issue is vital.

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What to do if your Dog is Moving Slowly

If you notice that your dog is moving slowly and exhibits additional symptoms, the first thing you will want to do is to monitor his behavior for 24 hours. If the problem does not resolve itself within that time, you will need to visit your veterinarian in order to seek further testing. While this symptom cannot be treated directly, treatment can be determined based on the specific underlying issue causing the slow movement.

Your veterinarian may want to order blood tests, urinalysis and a fecal evaluation in order to get an idea of your pet’s general health situation. Further diagnostic tools may be utilized, like x-rays or ultrasounds for a detailed view of muscle or bone injury.

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Prevention of Moving Slowly

Because there are so many reasons why a dog moving slowly can occur, it is difficult to determine any prevention. The best thing to do is pay careful attention to your dog’s behavior in order to catch any issues in the early stages.

As well, at all times provide a nutritional food source for healthy bones and exercise for cardiac health. An annual wellness check is a good way for your veterinarian to get to know your pet’s typical behavior and demeanor; deworming and flea prevention can be kept up to date with regular clinical visits, too.

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Cost of Moving Slowly

Treatment cost will vary depending on the cause of your dog’s need to move slowly. For instance, if your dog is diagnosed with kidney cancer the cost of treatment can range from $3000 to $16000. If your dog is diagnosed with parasites, treatment will vary depending on the severity; for example the elimination of ticks and the treatment of accompanying complications may range up to $1500.

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Moving Slowly Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Blue Heeler

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Has Symptoms

Slow Moving

She didn't want her treat this morning and instead went and laid down. Very slow moving

Nov. 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is not wanting to eat and seems very lethargic, then it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. If she ate something that upset her stomach a little bit, and she seems to be feeling better over the next hour or so, then she may be okay, and you may be able to fast her for 12 hours and see if that helps.

Nov. 15, 2020

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Schnoodle

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Nine Years

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

My dog has been lethargic for weeks; very slow on walks, slow to react and non-excitable to walks, playing, etc. She now is barely eating for the Past 3 days and seems slightly shaken and easily winded on the short walks she will do. She has a history of UTIs, went through an period of incontinence and had a stone that apparently a prescribed food has alleviated. Though these things have been treated, our local vet says she seems to be healthy. Our dog has seems to have declined so quickly in energy that I find it difficult to believe she is okay and that she is diagnosed as healthy.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would probably be a good idea to have some lab work done to assess her general organ function, and to have a good physical examination that includes listening to her heart and lungs, and possible x-rays. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 15, 2020

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Husky/Great Pyrenees mix

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About 4

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Moving Slow, Sleeping A Lot, Lost Of Interest

We recently moved to a new state and ever since my dog has been depressed. I know moving can do that to a dog so my new vet recommend he take Solliquin (a behavior supplement). He seemed to be improving at first but now he is slower than ever. Every time I take him outside he walks so slow that other people comment and ask how old he is. I know he loves to play with dogs but he has been a little aggressive with dogs lately so I’ve avoided going to the dog pack because of that. The few times I have gone is the only time I’ve seen him move somewhat faster. Wondering what else I can do.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. I don't think that the problems that you describe sound like they are due to the move, and I think having some lab work and a good examination would be a good idea.

Oct. 21, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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9-10

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Taking Longer Steps And Her Neck Positions Herself In A Way Like If She’S Going To Throw Up

please i’m desperate it was a hot and she was slightly sick before this she had minimal water today as well

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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German Shepherd/ huskey mix

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Seventeen Years

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Unknown severity

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Leg Swelling

Hi, I have a 17 year old dog. Who has been having trouble getting up once or twice a day. She has also been walking slow. She still eats, drinks and goes to the bathroom good. Is there anything I can do to help her

Sept. 11, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. If she isn’t already I would recommend getting her on a glucosamine supplement for her joints. I would also recommend scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian so they can evaluate her limbs and mobility and assess for pain. Usually at this age pets develop arthritis just as elderly humans do. There are safe anti-inflammatories that can be prescribed to dogs to help with pain and stiffness from arthritis. I hope she feels better soon.

Sept. 11, 2020

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Faith

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Great Dane

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Tired
Sluggish

We were getting out of the car and Faith wouldn't get out of the car. Then an hour later she threw up. we tried to take her outside and she wouldn't go down the steps. I took her back in and she just threw up again a few minutes ago

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Buster

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Beagle

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6 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Walking Tenderly
Head Tilt
Not Eating
Sleeping
Drinking Water More

Buster is walking very slowly and he is not eating anything. He is limping and also drinking a lot of water. He was fine yesterday happy and energetic as possible but I'm worried about him please help I don't want to lose my best friend. We can't go to the vet because we have a special needs brother and it is a problem. Can you give me some things I can do here at home to help our little beagle. Thank you have a good day.😀

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Pugsy

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Yorkshire Terrier cross Westie

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13 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Moving Slowly And Eating Little

A couple of weeks ago Pugsy lost all interest in moving or playing and when he did,it was very slow. I got him some yumove and within 24 hours he was starting to look like his old self, each day he was full of more energy and back to his normal self. Then a couple of days ago he refused to take the tablets even hidden inside Ham etc since then he had become slower and slower, has no interest in anything and now he's only eating very, very little. He is still drinking normally, he's not being sick or has diarrhoea just doesn't want to move or eat really. I'm hoping it's just because he's stopped having these tablets and nothing more sinister but if I can't get him to take the tablets he's only going to get worse. I don't know what to do

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Bella-Marie

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Bullmastiff mixed

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4 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Sluggish
Hasn'T Had Shots

Bella is my bull mastiff mixed dog that is very energetic, she is always running around but today she was vomiting and moving sluggish. She hasn't had any of her shots and she sleeps in her dog house in the backyard, what's wrong?

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Bean

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Goldendoodle

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Moving Slowly

Bean is being really weird today. he woke up and wouldn’t jump from the bed like he usually does, and I had to lead him down the stairs (he usually barrels down them). He is just moving very slow and it’s worrying me because he is usually a high energy dog. He went outside this morning to potty and everything seemed normal. He ate some food. nothing is out of the ordinary except that we just moved into a new house. He hasn’t shown these symptoms before though. He hasn’t eaten anything strange or hurt himself. I checked his ears and his bones and his breathing and all seems normal. I don’t know what’s wrong with my boy?? please help

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