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Dogs | Iconic Paw

Dog Walking Sideways

Dog walking sideways is a common behavior that many pet owners may observe in their furry friends. It is a seemingly strange behavior, but one that is important for the health and comfort of your dog. Understanding why a dog is walking sideways is vital in order to determine the best course of action to take. In this article, we will find out the reasons for this behavior and how to help your pup get back to normal. 

Why is my dog walking sideways?

If your dog is walking sideways, it could be due to several potential causes. These can range from minor injuries or illnesses to neurological disorders.

The most common causes of a dog walking sideways are vestibular disease, a middle ear infection, or an inner ear infection. Vestibular disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause a dog to have difficulty with balance and coordination. It can also cause the dog to have a head tilt and to walk with a sideways gait. In addition, middle and inner ear infections can cause vertigo and can also cause a dog to walk sideways.  

Other causes of a dog walking sideways can include trauma, such as a head injury. It can also be a neurological disorder, such as a stroke or seizure. If your dog has been walking sideways, it is vital to have your veterinarian examine them to determine the cause and to recommend the appropriate treatment. 

Why is my dog’s body twisting when walking?

dog walking on the grass

Your dog’s body may twist while walking because of pain or an underlying condition. If your dog is limping, twisting, or having difficulty when walking, it may be suffering from arthritis, hip dysplasia, a slipped disc, or some other condition. 

If you notice that your dog is constantly twisting their body while walking, it is important to have them examined by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the pain. Pain in the legs, back or spine can cause your dog to shift their weight in order to minimize discomfort, leading to a twisting motion in the body. 

In addition, if your dog has an injury or infection in one of their legs, it may be shifting its weight in order to accommodate the affected limb, which may lead to a twisting motion in the body.

Are they suddenly walking sideways? 

Dogs may suddenly start walking sideways for a variety of reasons. It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out medical issues such as ear infections, neurological problems, or vestibular disease. If a medical issue is ruled out, it is important to take note of any environmental changes or stressors that may be causing the behavior.

Dogs may also start walking sideways due to fear or anxiety. If your dog is feeling uncertain or threatened, it may start to move in a sideways motion as a way to monitor their environment. This can be seen when a dog is in a new or overly stimulating environment.

In addition, some dogs may start walking sideways as a form of attention-seeking behavior. If your dog is not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, it may start to act out in an attempt to get your attention.

Finally, your dog may start walking sideways out of habit. If your dog is frequently walking sideways, it could be a learned behavior that has now become a habit.

If you are concerned about your dog’s sudden sideways walking, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues and to discuss possible environmental or behavioral causes.

Walking sideways when your dog is elderly

When your dog gets older, their mobility can begin to decline. This can make it difficult for them to walk in a straight line, and they may start to walk in circles or even sideways. 

front view photo of a dog on a blurry background

If your dog is walking sideways, it is important to pay attention to its gait and make sure they are not in any pain or discomfort. If they seem to be in pain, take your dog to the vet to have them checked out.

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend medications, such as muscle relaxants, to help your dog move more easily. Exercise can also help, but it is important to make sure your dog doesn’t overexert itself.

If your dog is elderly and having difficulty walking, it can be helpful to provide them with a comfortable environment. Make sure your home is free of obstacles that could cause them to trip. Provide them with a ramp or steps to help them get up and down from furniture.

Finally, it is important to remain patient and understanding with your elderly dog. Even if they are having difficulty getting around, be sure to provide them with plenty of love and affection.

Are they walking or running sideways when they are excited?

When dogs are excited, they may display a behavior commonly referred to as “sideways running“. This behavior typically involves the dog running or walking sideways, usually with its head held high, tail wagging, and body language that conveys enthusiasm. This behavior is often seen when greeting people or other animals, when playing, or when they are otherwise excited.

It is important to remember that while this behavior may appear to be running, it is actually more like a sideways walk, as the dog is not actually running. This behavior is a way for dogs to express their happiness and excitement which is seen in many different breeds.


All images are courtesy of Flickr.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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