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Tips on How To Strengthen Old Dogs Hind Legs

Tips on How To Strengthen Old Dogs Hind Legs

If your furry friend is facing hind leg weakness, we suggest checking out this article. Our team of veterinarians at Redding can offer advice on how to boost or sustain their leg power.

What Causes Sudden Hind Leg Weakness in Dogs?

There are several reasons why your pet's hind legs may become weak. Let's take a closer look at some of these contributing factors.


Dogs, like humans, can suffer from arthritis, with their hind legs being particularly vulnerable to osteoarthritis. The condition arises due to insufficient lubrication in their joints, leading to discomfort and limited mobility. If your furry companion displays any of the symptoms associated with arthritis, it's advisable to seek veterinary attention without delay.

  • Difficulty climbing stairs or walking
  • Bunny hopping while moving
  • Development of large front-leg muscles and weakening of rear-leg muscles

Hip Dysplasia

If you notice that your pet's hip joints are unusually loose, this may indicate hip dysplasia. This condition can affect balance and, in severe cases, lead to osteoarthritis. It is frequently seen in larger dog breeds such as:

  • German Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Saint Bernard
  • Great Dane

Hip dysplasia is primarily caused by genetics, but other factors such as size, weight, and overuse may also play a role in developing this condition.

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

Your pet may be experiencing degenerative myelopathy, a condition in which the protective covering of their nerves deteriorates, resulting in improper nerve function. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Quivering hind legs
  • Hind legs coming together while standing
  • Feet positioned at unusual angles
Many breeds of dogs are susceptible to developing a spinal condition, but certain breeds, such as:
  • Boxer
  • German Shepherd
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks


Have you been informed that diabetes can weaken your pet's hind leg joints? When the production of insulin is insufficient, abnormal blood sugar levels occur, which may result in this effect. Check for indications such as frequent thirst and hunger, incontinence, and weight reduction. If you observe these symptoms in your dog, it's advisable to consult with a veterinarian and conduct a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.

Fibrocartilaginous Embolism

Fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) is a condition that can affect dogs, where a small piece of cartilage blocks their bloodstream, leading to spinal swelling. The result is temporary hind leg movement restriction and pain, which is especially common in larger dog breeds. Breeds such as German Shepherds and Irish Wolfhounds often receive a diagnosis of FCE.

Limited Mobility

If your pet needs surgical intervention such as tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), it can help restore their leg movement. However, as advised by the surgeon, your pet may need to limit their physical activities during post-surgery recovery. While this restriction may cause temporary disability, it is necessary for a full and successful recovery.

What are the main signs and symptoms dog's back legs not working?

Identifying the underlying problem without medical assistance can be challenging due to the similarity of symptoms among the conditions listed below. Therefore, it is crucial to seek advice from a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you notice any of the following behaviors in your dog, taking action promptly is important:

  • Hind leg tremors
  • Swaying of the hind end
  • Trouble transitioning from lying or sitting to a standing position
  • Difficulty walking or complete inability to walk
  • Inability to climb stairs
  • Sudden reluctance to go for walks or play
  • Stumbling and lack of coordination
  • Muscle mass loss
  • Decreased walking speed in general
  • Collapsing

Tips on How to Strengthen old dog's hind legs 

Once you have pinpointed the reason for your pet's distress and have received treatment suggestions, there are non-medical actions you can take to assist in their recovery and assist them in regaining their vitality.

  • It is recommended to take your furry companion for brief yet consistent walks on a daily basis. This will aid in gradually restoring their hind-leg muscles.
  • Let your dog swim in a safe place. Swimming provides a low-friction way to work their muscles and benefits their overall strength.
  • As dogs age, their metabolism slows down, and excess weight can strain, weakening legs. To prevent this, ensure your pet enjoys a healthy diet with lean, protein-rich foods. 
  • One way to support your pet's joint health and mobility is by giving them supplements that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements can help reduce inflammation and provide extra nutritional support for aging joints.
  • Inflammation-reducing treatments such as acupuncture and regenerative therapy can greatly address limited mobility and reduce pain.

Alternative ways to alleviate discomfort

If your furry friend can no longer benefit from strengthening exercises, it may be worth exploring other options to improve their comfort and overall well-being.

Mobility aids such as a wheelchair, rear lifting harness, or hip brace could be considered. These aids will grant your dog a level of freedom, allowing them to enjoy an active lifestyle during the longer, warmer summer months.

As pets age, they require regular preventive veterinary care and early detection of any health issues to ensure a high quality of life.

Our veterinarians at Redding specialize in helping older pets maintain optimal health. They identify and treat emerging health problems at an early stage and provide proactive treatment while it is still manageable and convenient.

Learn more about Geratric Care

Are you concerned that your dog may be experiencing weakness in their hind legs? Schedule an appointment with the veterinarians at Dana Park Veterinary Hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

Dana Park Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Redding companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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