Moving Slowly in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Why is my dog moving slowly?

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Why is my dog moving slowly?

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)
  • 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 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 might 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, 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. 

Cancer

When tumors occur, they can start out inside the body or spread from somewhere else in the body. All 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, tumors can spread, 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 closely. If the problem does not resolve itself within a short 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. 

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Worried about the cost of Why Is My Dog Moving Slowly treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Moving Slowly Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Blue Heeler

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Three Years

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

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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3 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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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

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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3 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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