Why Is My Dog Not Putting Weight On His Back Leg? Explained

Why Is My Dog Not Putting Weight On His Back Leg? Explained

Sickness is inevitable for everybody. When we catch an illness, we can express it to get help. But can our dogs do the same? It all depends on how attentive we’ve towards our pets.

A dog not putting weight on the back leg is another concerning fact that you need to pay close attention to. Because it essentially means that that leg gives him trouble.

Some reasons for that are much more severe than the rest, but if you act accordingly, we assure you, your doggie will get well very soon.

Reasons why your dog is not putting weight on his back leg

As we mentioned earlier, if a dog isn’t putting weight on any of his limbs, it means that his leg has pain. Sometimes if the pain is much more severe, you will notice that he refuses to use his affected leg.

Some methods that a dog uses to relieve the pain or the discomfort caused by the leg are limping, bunny hopping, or keeping both legs together.

But as the saying goes, everything has a reason. So, there’s a reason for a dog not putting weight on its back leg, too.

Let’s see why a dog reduces weight by putting weight on his limbs.

Reason one – A wound, insect sting, or a damaged claw

Have you ever had an injury on your leg or sole? If your answer is ‘yes,’ you know well how hard it is to walk around with a wounded leg. It’s the same with a dog too. This limping you noticed in your puppy might be because of a wound or an insect sting.

Moreover, it’s easier for a dog’s claw or a toenail to get damaged. Please look at his nails to check for any broken or chipped nails.

Reason two – Leg trauma, damaged bones, or dislocation

Dogs are active animals. They love exploring, running, playing and jumping, etc. There’s a big possibility that they will damage their bones.

Leg trauma, tissue damage, or knee dislocation are only some of the injuries. If you suspect that, bring it to a vet’s attention; so that your pet will get the maximum treatment for the above damages.

Reason three – Arthritis 

If your doggie has reached old age, it’s not a surprise that his legs will gradually weaken. Therefore, sudden movement will be strenuous for your little friend, and often he will limp, reject putting weight on his legs, or stop his activities altogether.

But if this illness is diagnosed correctly in the early stages and treated appropriately, you can maintain its growth at a minimal level.

So if you ever suspect that your pet is with arthritis, never postpone the trip to see the vet.

Reason four – Infections, bone cancer, hip/elbow dysplasia, nerve damage, or genetic disorder

Other than the reasons we mentioned earlier, these diseases are some of the others that could result in a dog not putting weight on back leg.

But take note, these illnesses are much more severe than the rest. So if you do not want your dog to lose his mobility altogether, you need to notice these slight changes in your pet right away, such as the dog not putting weight on back leg, refusing to move up and down the stairs, etc.

Why is my dog holding up his back leg?

If a dog is not putting weight on back leg or is holding up a paw, we need to understand that the dog is in pain.

Even though he’s not whimpering or crying when doing either of them, the pain or the discomfort is making him reduce the usage of the affected leg.

We explained a few of the causes that become the reasons behind this pain. There are many less-serious reasons and highly lethal reasons, such as Patellar Luxation, hip dysplasia, and bone cancer.

Some of these are caused genetically, while others are caused by malpractice, lack of daily nutrition, and inadequate exercise.

With proper medical guidance and a few lifestyle changes, your pet could quickly recover most of the time. But, you need to identify the illness during the early stages before it becomes critical for doctors to handle. 

Also, make sure that you never ignore whenever you notice your doggy holding up his leg.

Because if your dog is not putting weight on his back leg, holding up his leg, limping, or bunny hopping, you need to bring him to the veterinarian right away. It will be a massive advantage in your puppy’s recovery journey.

What to do when your dog doesn’t put weight on the back leg? 

Sometimes when your dog is not putting weight on back leg, limping, or holding up a paw, you could save the situation with a bit of first aid.

If it’s just a cut, insect sting, or a broken nail, as we discussed earlier, with a few home remedies, a wound cream, and bands from your first aid kit, you can bring your puppy’s leg back to normal within a few days.

But don’t forget that there are difficult situations where you should run to the vet with the doggo.

Let us tell you how to identify those situations with no trouble.

  • Limb set in an odd angle – This shows a broken leg. Hence, hurry to the vet or the nearest emergency clinic before your doggo moves and makes it worse.
  • A dangling limb – This could also indicate a broken limb, but most of the time, a dangling limb is the indicator of a dislocated leg.
  • Mild to severe swelling – Any internal damage, such as muscle or tissue damage and nerve damage, is identified by the swelling in the paw. if you ever notice a swollen foot in your puppy, it’s a red flag to take to your veterinary.
  • A warm-to-touch-limb and a combination of the above symptoms with fever – If your dog has a fever, he can’t handle the pain of the illness, but the body is still fighting. Do not waste even a single second. Hurry to a doctor as soon as you can.

Other things you need to do when your dog doesn’t put weight on back leg are;

Limiting his movements – if you have to, you could also use a house leash. Unnecessary movements will only worsen the situation and can cause strain on the affected limb.

Postpone exercises and have a thorough look at the limb causing pain – look for swellings, cuts, broken nails, injury or bleedings. If the situation is not yet challenging, you can monitor his progress for a day or two.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts. Have a nice 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.

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