my 16 year old dog is starting to lose her balance and tends to stagger when she walks. What can cause this and canI do

She just started doing this a few days ago. Up till then she has always been active and alert.She is a large dog and I thoughtmaybe it's her hipds but she doesn't whine or cry out at all as though she is in any pain. I think maybe old age is catching up with her.

Asked by Member 846604 on Jun 16th 2009 in Health & Wellness
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Our dog Molly, black lab mix (large) did the same thing. I took her to the vet and she had an ear infection that was making her lean toward one side when she walked, After some antibiotics the infection cleared and she was fine, She too was older and we lost her 2 years later but I was suprised that an ear infection caused her to lose her balance. Good luck

Member 814040 answered on 6/16/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Hi there,

You need to take her to the vet, to find out what's wrong. It might be neurological, or as you mentioned, something with her hips or other parts of her body. Remember, dogs have a strong survival instinct and are less likely to whine or cry in pain (this keeps predators from noticing them). Even domesticated dogs will often "tough it out" when something is wrong, so please take her to the vet for a checkup.

Good luck!

Katie answered on 6/16/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Sassy has kidney disease. When she isn't feeling well she staggers and drags her toes more. Good hydration and good muscle strength from enough protein seem to help her. Dehydration can happen very quickly and cause a lot of trouble. A 40 pound dog needs at least a quart of water a day for a reference point.

Go to the vet to see if there is something simple like more protein and enough water or more complicated like vestibular syndrome or HD.

Sassy answered on 6/17/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It could be old age or as Guest suggested, an ear infection. Yes some causes of such problems are highly treatable. The smaller the dog, the more likely she still has some good years if examined and treated.

Aster answered on 6/18/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer