If your dog is having trouble getting up after lying down, it may be an indication of a serious problem.

This is not normal for most dogs, so you’ll need to learn about some of the possible causes. The more you learn about this issue, the easier it will be to care for your pet.

Possible Reasons

There are a number of possible explanations for a dog having problems standing up after lying down, including:

  • Arthritis: This is one of the most common explanations for this problem with dogs. The continual wear on your pet’s joints can make it hard for them to get back up.
  • Cancer: If your dog is in a lot of pain because it has cancer, it may have problems standing up.
  • Low blood sugar: Dogs that are diabetic might have difficulty getting up due to being lightheaded when their blood sugar is low.
  • Hip dysplasia: Certain dogs like golden retrievers that are very active can develop hip dysplasia. This takes on a serious toll on their hip joint, which can affect their ability to get up from a lying position.
  • Paralysis: If your dog has contracted Lyme disease, it could eventually develop paralysis. It is crucial that you seek treatment from a veterinarian right away, as this disease can be fatal.
dog laying down on street


Many dogs eventually develop arthritis to some degree over time. This consists of joint swelling, which can be painful for these animals and limit their mobility. There are different types of arthritis canines can get, including spinal stenosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and spondylosis.

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The more active your dog is on a daily basis, the more likely they are to develop some variety of this condition. It is also a common problem with dogs that are significantly overweight. The more excess fat they have, the more pressure is put on their joints.

Since arthritis is the most likely explanation for a dog having trouble getting up after lying down, you should know the signs. This condition does not manifest the same way in all dogs, but there are some common things to look out for.

Changes in Behavior

If your dog is suffering from arthritis, you might notice a sudden change in its behavior. These dogs sometimes lash out easily when touched due to pain. Even gentle petting can trigger this response from an arthritic dog.

Whining or Crying

Dogs that have severe arthritis often whine because they are in path. This is especially common when their owner touches a certain part of their body that is particularly sensitive. If you notice your dog crying out for no apparent reason, this could be the cause.

Struggling with Movement

Arthritis dogs often have difficulty moving around like they used to. This could mean problems jumping up into the car, or just getting up after they have lied down. You might also notice your dog limping or walking with a strange gait. All of these things are signs of a serious problem that must be addressed immediately.

Licking Themselves

When your dog starts licking itself more than usual, you should take notice. This can be a sign that it is in pain, which could be due to arthritis of some kind. Some dogs with this condition even begin chewing on themselves, which can cause injury and infection.

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If you notice your dog having problems getting up after lying down, you’ll need to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Whether it is arthritis or something else causing this, there is a good chance that they will improve with treatment.

Even severe arthritis can be treated to a point with certain medications. Your vet might run some tests before recommending a certain treatment for your dog. The sooner you make an appointment to see the veterinarian, the better off they will be.

Arthritic dogs can benefit from physical therapy (yes, it is a thing). There are certain specialists you can take your pet to for these services. While they are usually not cheap, it could be worth it based on the nature of their condition.

dog laying down

Tips for Getting Your Dog Up

Be Patient

If your dog refuses to get up after lying down, be patient and wait a little bit. There is a good chance that they will eventually stand up on their own. This might take a while, especially if arthritis is the cause of this issue. It can be a slow process that they need to work up to.

Helping Your Dog Up

You also have the option of helping your dog up, but you need to be careful. The last thing you want to do is injure them further. If they bark, cry out or snap at you, just pull back and try again in a little bit. You might need to experiment with some different ways of doing this before you find one that is effective.

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Accommodating your Dog’s Condition

If you have a dog with severe mobility problems due to arthritis, you should make every accommodation for them. This means putting down rugs on any hard flooring, as well as getting them a bed with an orthopedic design.


  • Problems with getting up after lying down can be due to anything from paralysis from Lyme disease to severe arthritis.
  • Arthritis is the most common reason that dogs develop this particular issue.
  • Look for signs of arthritis in your dog.
  • If your dog is having this problem, you should take them to the veterinarian right away.
  • Arthritis is a particular common problem with active breeds.
  • Just be patient with your dog while it tries to get up, as it might take a while.
  • If you do try to help your dog up, you must be very gentle and look out for signs of aggression or pain.
  • Make sure that you do everything you can to change your home so that it is easier for your pet to get up and around.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".