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.
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.