How Can I Help My Dog With Weak Back Legs

A dog sitting on grass

Dogs with weak hind legs may face challenges in moving and could require assistance. You can utilize techniques to help your dog retain its mobility and improve the quality of its life.

What Causes a Dog’s Hind End Weakness

A dog’s hind legs can weaken for several reasons, including age, injury, or disease. Arthritis is a common ailment that can cause a dog’s back legs to weaken, as can hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy.

Dogs who are obese are also more likely to experience hind leg weakness, as are those who have suffered a spinal cord injury. If your dog’s back legs seem weak, it’s important to take it to the veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Let’s explore further what causes hind leg weakness in dogs.


Like us humans, age is a major factor that causes the dog’s legs to collapse. Older dogs can experience a dog’s back legs weakness and become unsteady. This can make it difficult for the dog to walk, run, or jump.

As dogs age, they may also experience a loss of muscle mass and bone density, which can add to the problem. You can do several things to help your older dogs stay mobile. One is to increase the amount of exercise it gets.

You can also provide the old dog with ramps or steps so he can get up on furniture more easily and put down nonslip surfaces in key areas around the house. If your dog’s back legs have weakened significantly, you may need to consider having him fitted with a wheelchair.


Dogs that are obese can suffer from a weakening in their back legs, making it difficult for them to walk. The extra weight puts pressure on the dog’s spine and hips, which can cause the muscles and bones in the back legs to weaken. In severe cases, the dog may even need surgery to help them lose and maintain a healthy weight and improve its mobility.


Dog's hind leg paw

When a dog has weak hind legs, getting around can be difficult. There are many reasons why this may happen, some of which are injury-related. Injuries such as fractures, spinal cord compression, and ruptured disks can lead to a dog’s back legs weakening over time.

Other causes of back leg weakness include obesity, arthritis, and nerve damage. If your dog has trouble getting around due to leg weakness, you should take them to the veterinarian for an evaluation.

Neurological Disease

The neurological disease affecting a dog’s back legs can result from various factors, such as trauma, infection, tumour, or canine degenerative myelopathy. Whatever the cause, the disease will lead to the weakening of the muscles in the back legs and eventual paralysis.

Treatment for the disease depends on the underlying cause but may include medications, surgery, or physical therapy.


Dogs with cancer often have back legs that weaken as the disease progresses. The cause of this weakening is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to the abnormal growth of cancer cells in the dogs’ bodies.

This can lead to a loss of muscle mass and strength and make it difficult for the dogs to walk or stand. In some cases, dogs may even lose the ability to move their back legs.


Arthritis is a condition that affects a dog’s joints, causing them to weaken and degenerate over time. The most common place for arthritis is in a dog’s hind legs, as these joints are constantly used for movement.

Arthritis can include limping, difficulty getting up or down, and reluctance to move. While there is no cure for arthritis, treatments can help alleviate the symptoms and improve the dog’s quality of life.

What Are the Signs of Weak Back Legs in Dogs?

Dogs with back leg weakness may have several causes, including age-related conditions, injury, or disease. Symptoms of weak back legs in dogs can include legs collapsing, wobbling when walking, and difficulty getting up. If your dog shows any of these signs, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for an evaluation.

Treatment of Hind Leg Weakness in Dogs

There are several treatments available for dogs suffering from weak back legs.


Surgery Dogs that have suffered from a spinal cord injury or fracture may benefit from surgery to strengthen their back legs.

The surgery involves inserting rods into the spine’s vertebrae to help stabilize the bones and muscles. Dogs that have suffered from a spinal cord injury or fracture may benefit from surgery to strengthen their back legs.

The surgery involves inserting rods into the spine’s vertebrae to help stabilize the bones and muscles.

Patellar Luxation Surgery

Patellar luxation surgery involves cutting the tendons on the back of the knee and attaching a metal clip to the patella (knee cap).


Dogs with weak hind legs need regular exercise to keep their muscles strong. Short, easy walks are best at first, and you can gradually increase the length and difficulty of the walks as the dog gets stronger.

Dogs with hind leg weakness need regular exercise to keep their muscles strong. A lack of regular exercise can cause the muscles in a dog’s hind legs to weaken, leading to difficulty walking and even paralysis. Owners of dogs with weak back legs should take their pets for a brisk walk or jog every day.

A border collie playing fetch

Physical Therapy

Therapy can help dogs with weak back legs regain strength and improve their mobility. There are a variety of therapies available, so ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

According to a study published in the journal Veterinary Surgery, dogs with back leg weakness can often regain strength and improve their quality of life with physical therapy.

Researchers looked at physical therapy outcomes in 28 dogs with back leg weakness. They found that, overall, the dogs showed significant muscle strength and function improvement after completing a 12-week program.

Physical therapy may include exercises that help improve range of motion, muscle strength, and coordination. Some dogs may also require assistance standing or walking during the early stages of rehabilitation, but most will eventually be able to complete these activities independently.

Physical therapy can be an important part of helping your dog recover from a back leg injury or weakness.

Assistive Devises

Dogs with weak back legs may benefit from using assistive devices such as ramps, stairs, or a harness to elevate the back legs, allowing them to walk. These devices can help dogs to move more easily and can also reduce the amount of wear and tear on their back legs.

Several types of ramps are available, so it is important to choose one that is appropriate for your dog’s needs.

In conclusion, there are ways that you can help your dog with weak back legs. You can provide support and assistance and keep a close eye on your pet’s health. If you have any concerns, be sure to speak with your veterinarian.