Why can’t my Chihuahua stand up or walk? (7+ reasons and solutions)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Why can’t my Chihuahua stand up? We will discuss the most common issues why this happens and what to do in each case.

My Chihuahua can’t stand up or walk

There are several factors why a Chihuahua may have trouble standing up or walking. When assessing a pathology, we must take into account, among other things, the age of the animal, since on some occasions, as in elderly dogs, the main reason may be its own age. But what other causes can there be?

Depending on the rhythm of life our dog leads, it is possible that it may experience localized pain for some days. Just like people, too much exercise can cause tiredness and weakness. This will cause us to have trouble walking.

However, when the pain lasts for a long time and the duration exceeds a couple of days, we should go to the vet. There they will make an assessment and proceed with the diagnosis. Some of the most common causes of walking problems are as follows.

Injuries: In addition to an invisible fracture or tear in the tendons, walking problems can also be caused by a back or spinal cord injury. This usually appears due to trauma, a stroke, or damage to the discs.

When a dog’s spinal cord or spine is inflamed or injured, the hind legs may show signs of weakness or instability. This will inevitably cause walking problems. If our dog has not suffered an accident but is in this situation, we must go to the vet as soon as possible.

Degenerative myelopathy: This disease is another reason why a dog may have trouble walking. Especially in adult dogs, the fibers that send signals to the brain for leg mobility are gradually destroyed. The cause is the deterioration of the spinal cord itself.

Dogs with myelopathy do not experience pain, but the disease directly affects mobility. The legs lose strength and the animal is not able to walk normally or stand for long. There is currently no cure for this disease, but physical therapy and holistic medicine can alleviate the symptoms.

Diabetes: Females are more prone to diabetes, which can also cause walking problems. Although some breeds such as Golden, German Shepherds, or Schnauzers are more prone, it can affect anyone.

To avoid diabetes it is advisable not to give dog foods rich in sugars. Since they are capable of eating anything, it is very common for many owners to share their food. But do not forget that some seemingly harmless foods that they also like are toxic to them. To determine if diabetes is the cause of walking problems, an analysis is enough.

Osteoarthritis: Arthritis and osteoarthritis are other reasons why dogs can have trouble walking. Adult and large breed dogs tend to suffer the most from this disease. It usually affects the hip and knee joints, impairing shock absorption, and causing pain.

Some medications in addition to physical therapy can relieve symptoms. Thus, our friend will be able to maintain an optimal quality of life and reduce his walking problems.

The causes of walking problems are wide and varied. In any case, if we observe that our dog spends more than two days without being able to move normally, it is best to go to the vet. The sooner we detect the problem, the sooner we can fix it.

My chihuahua ​​does not have strength in the back legs, what should I do?

A visit to the vet will help you diagnose weakness in your dog’s rear leg. It is normal for a young puppy to run and play without missing a beat. If your puppy plays too much and feels a little sore for a day or two, that’s normal, but if he shows signs of frequent weakness or pain in his hind legs, the condition can be much more serious. There are also factors that predispose to hind leg problems, such as obesity, diabetes, or excessive feeding in puppies.

It is also important to inform the veterinarian if it is an acute (sudden and intense onset) or chronic (slow and progressive onset) disorder as this can help a lot in the diagnosis. Other causes can be:

Degenerative myelopathy. Degenerative myelopathy is a disease that affects dogs, especially older ones, and is a possible cause of hind leg weakness. In degenerative myelopathy, the spinal cord begins to deteriorate and the fibers that carry signals from the brain to the legs disintegrate. 

Dogs with degenerative myelopathy begin to have hind leg weakness and, over time, lose control of their hind legs. It is not a painful disease, but affected dogs lose mobility. There is currently no definitive test to determine degenerative myelopathy until after the dog has died. 

There is also no effective conventional treatment, although holistic medicine provides herbal substances that appear to relieve symptoms. If your adult dog begins to show weakness in his hind legs, talk to your vet to find out if there is any possibility that he has degenerative myelopathy.

Injuries: A second common reason for hind leg weakness is a spinal cord or back injury. Spinal cord injuries, often the result of trauma, ruptured disc, or stroke, account for 2 percent of all canine visits to the vet.

 If your pet’s spinal cord or back is damaged, bruised, or inflamed, the hind legs may be weak or unstable. If your dog has not had any trauma and has hind leg weakness, visit the vet as soon as possible.

Cushing’s disease. The weakness in your dog’s legs may be related to Cushing’s disease, this is caused by the overproduction of cortisol in the adrenal glands. Cushing’s disease generally develops in dogs older than 6 years, but it can develop in younger dogs. 

If your pet has hind leg weakness accompanied by hair loss, a pot-bellied appearance, as well as increased appetite and thirst, you may suspect that he has Cushing’s disease. If this is the case, you should go immediately to the veterinarian to perform the relevant tests.

Diabetes. Dogs with diabetes may show signs of hind leg weakness, although this symptom is more common in diabetic cats. Diabetes is more common in females than males and tends to be more prevalent in the Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Miniature Schnauzer, Keeshond, and Poodle, even though all breeds can be affected. 

Dogs that are overweight or eat diets high in sugars and grains are at greater risk than those with healthy weights and high protein diets. If your dog is experiencing hind leg weakness and other common symptoms of diabetes, a simple blood test can determine if diabetes is the cause.

Arthritis. The cause of weakness in your dog’s hind legs can be caused by arthritis. As dog’s age, especially large dogs, the hip and knee joints begin to deteriorate and the cushioning of the joints is affected. 

An X-ray can confirm the general presence of arthritis in your pet. Luckily, several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Rimadyl and Metacam are available to help control canine arthritis, helping to improve the quality of life for a dog that has joint pain and weakness.

How to help a Chihuahua that can’t stand up or walk?

As you can see, the causes can be diverse and some of them serious, so it is very important to go to the vet when any symptoms are detected.

Treatment, obviously, depends largely on the cause of this claudication and the first thing to try is to correct, as far as possible, the cause. 

For example: if the weakness is caused by a herniated disc, first an attempt should be made to stabilize it, either through surgery or bandaging and rest (it depends on the case), but, even if we provide anti-inflammatory and a comfortable bed and the animal feels much better, We will not solve the problem (rather the opposite).

Once the main cause has been treated, we have a wide range of aids that can increase the quality of life of the animal: the use of orthopedic beds is indicated above all in those cases where there is a joint disease (hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, hernias …) since It allows the animal to distribute its weight over the entire body surface and not just on the joints.

Chondro Protectors are also indicated in any joint pathology as they help slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Anti-inflammatories have a fundamental role in the treatment of pain. In very old dogs they may be contraindicated, although there are natural anti-inflammatories with fewer side effects.

Hip support is the latest aid to reduce the discomfort of localized dysplasia or osteoarthritis:

  • Apply light pressure and keep the hip joint warm
  • Significantly reduces pain in the area.
  • Stimulates muscle activity by strengthening it.

It is highly recommended in case of mild or moderate dysplasia as it exerts light pressure and keeps the hip warm. 

This encourages the use of the muscle groups and stabilizes the hip, causing the head of the femur to find more problems when moving out of the acetabulum, slowing down the progression and reducing the pain that this output causes the dog. The use of hip support also considerably reduces the necessary doses of anti-inflammatories.

In cases where the weakness is caused by a decrease in muscle mass, it is very important to provide rehabilitation so that, little by little, the animal can recover its normal rhythm. The use of wheelchairs, by allowing the animal to walk by itself and be autonomous, is very interesting, from the physical and mental point of view.

There are harnesses for the back legs with which to help the animal with posterior weakness. The owner supports part of the weight of the animal to make it easier for him to move. Also, most animals will benefit from non-slip boots that will reduce the effort required to get up by allowing less demanding support and help them not to destabilize.


As you can see, the causes and possible treatments for dogs with hind leg weakness are numerous. The veterinarian should always be consulted at the appearance of the first symptoms. Early diagnosis and knowledge of all therapeutic alternatives can greatly improve the prognosis of the animal.

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FAQ on Why my Chihuahua can’t stand up?

What does it mean when a dog can’t stand up?

When a dog can’t stand up it may be a sign of an injury to the back, neck, or head. It is best to consult a vet as soon as possible. 

Why is my dog shaking and can’t stand up?

If your dog is shaking and can’t stand up it is a sign of serious injury, poisoning, or kidney disease. It is important to notice what other symptoms your dog presents (eg.diarrhea or vomiting) and consult a vet as soon as possible. 

What causes a dog to suddenly not be able to walk?

The causes why a dog suddenly is not able to walk are injuries to the back, neck, or head; poisoning, a stroke, or an infection. 

What are the final stages of degenerative myelopathy in dogs?

The final stages of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) are complete paralysis and death.





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