My Dog Is Walking Sideways And Falling Over; Why? Explained With Tips

My Dog Is Walking Sideways And Falling Over; Why? Explained With Tips

A dog is not someone that acts clumsy or loses balance. That’s why they could run much faster. And aren’t we proud of our babies for that? But what does it mean if our wooly friend suddenly starts staggering, walking sideways, and falling over? And are you a pet parent who always wonders why my dog is walking sideways and falling over? Then this article is just for you.

So, why do dogs start walking sideways and fall over suddenly? Dogs acting drunk, side walking, and stumbling over are common indications of vestibular diseases. It’s a non-progressive, sudden balance disturbance in animals. So, if you ever get suspicious that your dog is presenting the above symptoms, we urge you to get your pet examined by a specialist as soon as possible.

Even though your pet needs medical attention, these disorders are temporary most of the time. Your pet will recover within a few weeks.

But, you should let a doctor check your pet to make sure nothing is fatal. Your friend will be back to normal with proper medicine and care in record time.

Why Is My Dog Walking Sideways All Of A Sudden? 

Although side walking in dogs might surprise people who haven’t seen it before, this is so common among dogs. So common that it got nicknamed “crabbing.”

But now you’re seeing on the internet, searching why my dog is walking sideways and falling over. So give us your time to explain this. 

There can be many natural reasons behind a dog crabbing, while there are many medical reasons as well. It could be just how they know how to move, or one of their dominant traits might be taking over.

Medical reasons such as structural imbalance, hip dysplasia, vestibular diseases, infections, and orthopedic issues might cause this behavior. 

Either way, it’s wise to get your fluffy examined by a vet before you decide whether it’s natural or something to worry about. 

Suppose you notice any symptoms such as tilting your head, uncoordinated movements, side walking, falling over or rolling onto a side, vomiting, etc., which are typical symptoms of underlying health concerns. In that case, you should definitely book an appointment with the animal clinic. 

What Does It Mean When A Dog Is Walking Sideways? 

Let’s set aside the natural causes of side walking. Since you’re interested in why my dog is walking sideways and falling over, let me explain the medical conditions now.

  • Structural Imbalance 

Our body structure is the main reason behind our postures and movements. It’s the same with doggos as well.

But sometimes, unfortunately, in this structure, the pet’s skeletal system will grow abnormally. It happens mainly due to nutritional deficiencies. 

Hip dysplasia is the best example of this. Due to insufficient nutrition, while growing up, the puppy’s hip ball and the socket get disturbed from developing correctly.

When these two don’t fit right, your dog will sometimes experience pains from time to time. So to relieve them or to help him walk more efficiently, he’ll start walking sideways, letting the good limbs take over the others.

  • Ear Infections

The ears are the main body parts that balance our bodies. When there’s an ear infection, the process of balancing the body gets disturbed.

Your pet will shake his head unusually, scratch the ear with his paw, and even whimper and refuse to eat in severe cases.

When the ear is infected, your doggo may lose his balance altogether and fall over.

  • Orthopedic Issues

There are many orthopedic issues, such as patellar luxation and intervertebral disc disease. It will cause dogs to walk like crabs and finally lose balance and fall over.

These issues can sometimes be recovered with simple medication, while severe conditions may need surgery. 

  • Vestibular Disease

These are the most common diseases that cause a dog to lose balance. It’s a non-progressive yet sudden imbalance in the brain and the middle and inner ear.

Tumors, trauma or injury, hypothyroidism, and even ear infections can cause these sudden onset imbalances.

These imbalances are much more common in senior dogs than in the younger generation. 

What To Do If Your Dog Is Walking Sideways Or Leaning To One Side When Walking? 

I explained before that side walking or leaning to one side while walking has two leading causes. It might be happening naturally, such as his dominating side coming up, or secondly, there’s an underlying medical condition: such as vestibular disorder.

If this behavior came up suddenly now that you’re searching why my dog is walking sideways and falling over, let us tell you or you what you should do next. 

Before running in panic to the animal clinic, thoroughly check your fluffy’s body. It might answer your question about why my dog is walking sideways and falling over?

Run your hand along his ribcage and limbs while examining him for bruises or injuries. An injury might have caused this sudden behavior. 

Don’t forget to check his paws. If your doggo loves walking outside, his feet might have got pricked by a thorn or a glass shard.

And now, due to the pain, he’s trying to use only his good legs, but it’s not walking. That’s a possibility. 

After checking if you can’t find any reason for this sudden behavior, take him for an examination by a doctor.

Why Is My Dog Falling Over When Walking?

The sudden loss of balance might be caused by ear infections, vestibular syndrome, orthopedic issues, etc. Still, other than these, brain tumors, encephalitis(inflammation of the brain), strokes, and injury can cause a dog to lose its balance. 

Even though there can be natural causes as well, it’s better always to get professional advice from a veterinarian to be on the safe side.

Because if you just ignored this as a hurtless nothing, your pet might miss some necessary treatments for an underlying health concern that could one day cost him his life.

So, we hope now that you have answers to your problem; why my dog is walking sideways and falling over.

If you have any more health questions about your canine, forward them to us. We’ll do our best to answer them timely.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed. Have a wonderful day!


  • Sofia Williams

    Sofia W. is a professional dog trainer who completed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA) certifications. Also, she has completed the Pet Nutrition Coach Certification. Sofia is interested in creating nutritious food formulas for dogs to give them a longer and healthier life. She believes food and training are a collective combination of a healthy dog. So, she is with us to share her expertise and knowledge with other dog parents.

    [email protected]

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