Dog Can No Longer Get Up: 4 Causes And When To See The Doctor

If your dog can’t or doesn’t want to stand up, or is struggling to sit up on its own, that’s a big cause for concern. In most cases, the fact that your dog no longer gets up is due to pain.

His pain can be due to an injury, an illness, but also a chronic or age-related condition.

If you can assess the cause, there are appropriate options to support your dog.

In a nutshell: Why can’t my dog get up?

If your dog cannot stand up, it may or may not have a serious medical condition.

The most common causes are orthopedic in nature, such as B. Osteoarthritis. But infections and internal diseases can also be the reason why your dog can no longer get up.

Here are the most common reasons your dog won’t get up:

  • injuries
  • Infections and internal diseases
  • Chronic joint diseases
  • signs of aging
  • possible stroke

Dog can no longer get up: 4 causes

Problems getting up are usually a gradual process. Your dog needs more and more time to get up until the discomfort is so great that he lies down completely.

If you notice that your dog tries to sit up in vain or is finding it increasingly difficult, it is time for you to act.

Possible causes for this can be:

1. Injuries

Like humans, dogs can injure themselves during everyday exercise and sports. The consequences can only become noticeable with a delay. Often torn ligaments, joint injuries or broken bones do not occur immediately, but only after a longer period of rest. Your dog can’t get up.

If your dog is still young and fit and you haven’t noticed any problems yet, or ideally you’ve observed a fall or something similar, an injury is most likely.

Your dog can heal bruises and sprains on its own if you rest it for a while. However, to rule out a fracture or torn ligament, you should consult a veterinarian.

2. Infections and internal diseases

If your dog can no longer get up and also seems lethargic in other ways, the cause may be an internal disease. Your dog can be so weakened by viral diseases, bacterial infections, or parasites that he no longer wants to get up.

In connection with the movement restrictions, other symptoms often occur. These can manifest themselves, for example, with fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, or sticky eyes.

If such symptoms occur, a blood count of your dog should be taken. A trip to the vet is therefore essential.

3. Chronic joint diseases

If your dog finds it increasingly difficult to get up, it will eventually reach the point where it no longer wants to get up. Chronic joint diseases are usually responsible for this.

Even young dogs can be affected by joint diseases. However, the associated pain often only becomes acute in old age.

Joint disease can result from an untreated joint injury. A congenital misalignment of the hip joint (hip dysplasia) usually gets worse with age.

Other joint diseases are arthrosis (chronic joint wear and tear) and frequent inflammation of the joints (arthritis).

All of these diseases require veterinary treatment.

4. Signs of aging

When your dog gets old, it is no longer as resilient as it used to be. He needs longer rest breaks, which of course he spends lying down.

Sometimes your dog hardly notices or not at all when you call him or encourage him to move with signs. Age-related vision and hearing problems often play a role here.

An excessive need for sleep, possibly in connection with lethargy, can also be the first sign of dog dementia.

You should take your dog’s age problems seriously and clarify them with a veterinarian in order to possibly ensure your dog’s quality of life by changing the daily routine.

When to the vet?

If your young and otherwise agile dog has just overexerted itself, simply give it a break. For all other causes and symptoms, you should see a veterinarian immediately or after a reasonable observation period.

These are summarized again:

  • Injuries: A veterinarian should examine the injured area in order to rule out or treat a broken bone or torn ligament.
  • If you suspect an infection or internal disease based on the symptoms, your dog should have a blood test done to get an accurate diagnosis and to base treatment on that.
  • Joint disorders do not have to be chronic from the start. If these are recognized and treated in good time, you can save your dog unnecessary suffering for the future or at least make it bearable.
  • If you notice signs of aging in your dog that affect its everyday life, you can develop a therapy with your veterinarian to continue giving your dog a high quality of life.
    In many cases, going to the vet is unavoidable.

How can I support my dog?

Taking care of your dog and giving it time is one way to do something good for your dog. He lies in a relieving position and has less pain.

However, exercise is important, especially in the case of chronic diseases. You should adapt your daily routine to the new needs. Movement strengthens the muscles and helps the heart and circulation.

Your dog is stressed differently than you are used to from a healthy dog. Follow your dog’s pace when walking. While still giving him the direction, just shift down a gear.

Other therapy options are swimming or simple courses such as Calvetti exercises.

A change in diet or dietary supplements often help with chronic conditions.

Dog stairs for the steps to the front door or a dog ramp in the car also give your dog useful help.

How can disease be prevented?

You should have regular check-ups by a veterinarian for any joint disorders. These can be combined with the vaccination appointments, which are always due anyway.

A lot of exercise and a healthy diet strengthen muscle building, heart and circulation as well as the immune system.


If your dog cannot stand up, this is usually the result of a gradual development, apart from an injury. If the pain is so severe that your dog can no longer move, treatment becomes more difficult.

In most cases, a visit to the vet is necessary.

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