article by uday kadali

Is Your Dog Walking Sideways? Here Are Some Probable Reasons

Why is My Dog Walking Sideways? Medical & Non-Medical Reasons 

Why is My Dog Walking Sideways? Medical & Non-Medical Reasons

Dog walking sideways is a common yet strange behavior that dog parents might have noticed. This seemingly strange behavior may be associated with your pet’s health and comfort. However, this can be concerning for pet parents if left undiagnosed. 

Usually, if your dog is walking sideways, it doesn’t indicate any serious underlying issues. However, there can also be some medical conditions related to this behavior. Hence, it is important to consult your vet and get him diagnosed. This blog will discuss typical medical and non-medical reasons for your dog walking sideways. 

What are the Non-Medical Reasons for Dogs Walking Sideways?

What are the Non-Medical Reasons for Dogs Walking Sideways?

Here are some reasons for your dog walking sideways which has nothing to do with medical conditions: 

The normal way of moving 

Some puppies grow up learning to walk on two legs. They may learn that from an older dog. Additionally, some dog breeds are just prone to it, specifically, those who have shorter body lengths than other dogs. This may cause their front and hind legs to interfere with each other while walking. Some such breeds are: 

  1. Border Collies 
  2. German Shepherds
  3. Cocker Spaniels 
  4. Vizlars
  5. Pointers 
  6. Boxers 

The dominant side is taking over 

You should know that your beloved pet has a dominant leg or arm. This means that your dog's one side is stronger and more flexible than the other. This is similar to humans. 

While your dog is running, walking, or trotting, they push off its dominant side harder than the other side. This might make them look like their body is moving sideways. However, it is normal behavior, and your pup is fine. Once they slow down, their walking will return to normal. 

Your pup is still growing 

If your dog is young, like maybe a one or two years old pup, then it could still be in the growing stage. Just like humans, your pup’s body parts can be temporarily uncoordinated as they grow. 

Dog breeds who have long legs and short bodies, their legs can get tangled up while they are in their growing stage. They will move their back legs to one side to avoid tripping and falling over their little paws. 

The collar or harness needs readjusting 

Most dogs have really sensitive skin beneath all that fur and fluffiness. If your dog’s collar or harness irritates his skin, he might move sideways while walking to avoid it. If the problem has persisted for quite some time, there might have been some skin issues or rash. 

Thus, be sure to check their harness or collar and readjust from time to time to ensure your fur baby is comfortable. If he has developed rashes or skin issues, make sure to consult a vet and get new gear. 

What are the Medical Reasons for Dogs Walking Sideways?

What are the Medical Reasons for Dogs Walking Sideways?

Now that you know all the usual reasons for your puppy walking sideways, you should check out the medical reasons if none match. Here are the medical conditions that can make your dog walk sideways: 

Idiopathic Vestibular Disorder

The idiopathic system is your dog's balance system. Any problem with that system is known as a vestibular disorder. 

If your dog is suffering from vestibular disorder, he will be exhibiting symptoms such as head tilt, drifting or leaning to one side while walking, rolling while lifted in a standing position, and walking in circles. 

Other than these symptoms, your dog might also feel dizzy or exhibit abnormal eye movement. You should consult your vet immediately if you notice either of these symptoms. 

Issue in Ear

A dog's hearing ability and its senses are closely connected. Hence, if your dog has a problem with his ear, that might display in his walking. 

Balance is of utmost importance in animals. Their ears, eyes, and other sensory organs send signals to their brains so that they can balance properly while they are walking or running. 

A dog's inner ear contains sensors for controlling the rotational movement of their heads. Their middle or inner-middle ear infections can make dogs lose their balance as well as make them feel dizzy and nauseous. 

Low Blood Sugar in Small Breed Dogs

Sometimes low blood sugar in small-breed puppies can make them walk sideways. This can be accompanied by nausea, lethargy, and vomiting. 

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur in puppies if they haven’t eaten for quite a while. 

Undiagnosed Pain 

You, and your pet, do not understand each other’s languages. Hence, it is important to know that they don’t exhibit their pain as usual. Your dog walking crooked can be one of the ways he is displaying some pain. 

For instance, if your dog has a strain, bruise, or sprain, it can walk sideways. If this is the reason, however, there will be other symptoms, too, such as panting or breathing fast. You should consult your vet immediately as this can stem from some serious underlying condition.  

Liver Shunt 

Your dog twisting body when walking can also indicate problems like liver issues. Specifically, small breed dogs are prone to conditions such as liver shunt. Blood tests and other sample tests help in confirming the condition. 

Brain Tumor 

A serious condition such as a brain tumor can also make your dog walk sideways. You should be most concerned about this if your old dog walks sideways. If there is mass present in their brain, it tends to slow their growth. 


If your dog walking sideways lasts for more than a minute, then most probably, he is having an episode of seizure. Dog seizures are subtler than humans'. Partial seizures in dogs can cause abnormality in the brain affecting its motion temporarily. 

Seizures are common in younger dogs. However, in older dogs, it can indicate a more serious condition, such as a tumor. Hence, it is better to get it investigated at the earliest. 

Structural Issue

If your dog has been walking sideways a lot and doesn't seem to be suffering pain or discomfort, it might be a structural issue. This issue is also known as crabbing in the pet language. Due to this issue, dogs walk sideways to prevent their legs from touching. Some examples could be sway backs, under or over angulation, short backs, etc. 

Toxin Indigestion 

Another probable reason for your dog walking sideways can be your pet eating some harmful toxins such as plants, drugs, herbicides, or pesticides and indigestion due to that. 



There are multiple causes for your dog walking sideways. Some can be harmless while others can be a symptom of a serious underlying issue. Hence, it is better to get your pet to the vet and get the cause investigated. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I give my dog if she has low blood sugar? 

You can try putting a teaspoon of honey, pancake, or Karo syrup in her mouth as first aid. If it doesn't work, you should immediately consult a vet. Also, ensure that none of these include xylitol which is toxic to dogs. 

What is “sideways running” in dogs? 

When dogs are excited and happy, they can exhibit a behavior that is known as "sideways running." A wagging tail accompanies this behavior, head held high, and other similar enthusiastic activities.


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