Old dog

The most common symptoms of back pain in dogs

There can be several reasons why a dog gets back or neck pain. For example, the dog may have injured or stretched its back muscles or suffered a herniated disc. Neck and back pain can affect dogs of all ages.

Symtoms of back pain

  • The dog has difficulty changing position between lying, sitting or standing 

  • The dog no longer shakes or interrupts a shake in mid-movement

  • The dog moves in a cowering, rigid and tense manner or more cautiously and slowly than usual

  • The dog may be perceived as depressed due to pain

Perhaps your dog stops jumping up in bed or to his favourite spot on the sofa. A dog with a limp may sometimes have back pain.

Muscle strain

It's not uncommon for a dog to stretch a muscle during play or other activities. A muscle stretch is often temporary, but sometimes the dog may need painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication in the meantime. If you suspect that your dog has stretched a muscle, you should only walk the dog on a lead for a while to allow the inflammation to heal properly. However, exercise is good so controlled, longer leash walks are usually only positive.


Some neck and back disorders are hereditary and cannot be avoided. However, a lot of injuries can be prevented by exercising your dog regularly and varying the type of surface the dog walks on. Moving naturally in the woods and fields strengthens your dog's muscles and reduces the risk of injury. Always make sure to warm up your dog before major efforts such as hunting, agility or obedience training. Keeping your dog at a normal weight is also important to avoid putting unnecessary strain on muscles and joints.

If you are unsure whether your dog needs to see a physical vet for an examination, we recommend contacting a digital vet who can make an initial assessment via video. If you have dog insurance through us at Lassie, unlimited calls to a digital vet can be a good first step if the symptoms are not too severe.

Our app for Android and iOS

Level Up Your Pet Care Game: Get Our FREE App Now!

Packed with 300+ articles by certified vets and pet experts, our app it's your go-to resource for personalised advice on caring for your cat or dog. The more you learn, the happier and healthier your furry friend becomes and the more points you'll earn for exclusive discounts on Lassie products. Your pet's well-being is just a tap away! 📲🐾
Google Play

More articles