Skip to Content

My Dog Acts Like It Hurts To Sit: 7 Alarming Reasons + 3 Tips

My Dog Acts Like It Hurts To Sit

Does your pooch suddenly whine and sit in a weird way?

And does it seem like they also have trouble doing it?

If so, I’m sure you’d want to know…

“What’s happening with my dog?

And how can I help them?”

Keep reading to discover:

  • Why is it painful for your dog to sit.
  • 3 useful tips on what to do when they act this way.
  • 7 real reasons that make your dog uncomfortable while sitting.
  • The common signs of pain in canines that you should be aware of.
  • And many more…

Why does my dog act like it hurts to sit?

Your dog acts like it hurts to sit because they’re in pain. Either around their tail, hips, knees, or rear end. This could be due to injuries or overuse of the muscles. Bone and joint problems are possible too. But, if it also comes with scooting, it could be due to a problem with their anal sacs.

7 reasons why your dog acts like it hurts to sit

#1: Limber tail syndrome

There are many possible reasons why dogs have trouble sitting.

So aside from that issue, let’s talk about how your pooch acts nowadays.

First off, did your dog stop wagging their tail all of a sudden?

If so, they might have a condition called the ‘limber tail syndrome.’

“What is it?”

According to VCA Hospitals, it’s when dogs hurt their tails due to these reasons:

  • Overexertion: Either from long hours of play or exercise.
  • Low temperature: A study found that canines living in the north are more prone to this problem.
  • Extended swimming: Dogs use their tails for steering during a swim. So, it’s possible for them to overuse these if they stay in the water for so long.

Plus, being submerged in cold water may have also caused this condition.

“What are its other signs?”

Some canines might lose their appetite too as this is a painful condition. And they’ll also have difficulty when pooping. Since they have to squat to do this. 

This could be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. And it’s usually resolved as early as 4 to 7 days. But, other dogs can take up to 2 weeks to recover.

Warning: Watch out for any discoloration on the end of your dog’s tail. If you notice this, quickly get an appointment at the clinic. 

#2: Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)

Next, your dog may also have a hard time sitting due to a hip problem.

The most common example of this is canine hip dysplasia. Or the loosening of hip joints. 

And in the US and Canada, research shows that its prevalence rate in dogs is 15.6%.

“How do canines get this?”

PetMD says that hip dysplasia is hereditary. Because it usually affects large dogs like Retrievers and German Shepherds. 

But, smaller breeds can also be affected by this.

Based on the report of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 71.8% out of 942 Pugs have this condition. And it’s the highest score among 198 breeds. 

Other factors to consider are:

  • Rapid growth.
  • Improper nutrition.
  • High calcium intake.

“How can I tell if my dog has this?”

Apart from acting like it hurts to sit, you may also notice:

  • Limping.
  • Occasional lameness.
  • Unusual sitting positions.
  • Reluctance to jump or climb.
  • ‘Clicking’ sounds produced by joints.

Note: This condition can lead to osteoarthritis. As the bones of their hip joints will rub against each other and deteriorate. So, monthly checkups before dogs turn 1 year old are advised. Especially those who have large or giant breeds.

You might also like: Why does my dog kick his back legs randomly?

#3: Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease

Legg Calve Perthes Disease Is One Of The Reasons Why Your Dog Acts Like It Hurts To Sit

This is another hip issue in dogs. But instead of loose joints…

It’s caused by the deterioration of the head of the femur. Or the ‘ball’ joint that makes up the hip – together with the ‘socket’ joint.

Because of this, dogs will experience pain when moving their hips. And lameness is the first sign that they’ll usually exhibit.

“What may have caused this?”

It’s still unclear.

But, vets say it’s in the genes. Since it’s mostly seen in small or toy breeds.

One study found that it’s common in dogs weighing 2.87 to 16 lb (1.3 to 7.1 kg). And it normally appears up to 10 months old.

“How is this treated?”

Surgery is often recommended. But, management is still needed for dogs to live comfortably.

I’ll discuss this later, so stay tuned. 🙂

Interesting fact: This was first discovered as a rare disease in children. And its name came from the 3 doctors who brought it to light at the same period. Legg (Boston), Calvé (France), and Perthes (Germany). 

#4: Luxating patella

Other than hip pain, dogs might also find it hard to sit because of knee problems.

Luxating patella is the most common one in dogs, specialists say. And it occurs when their kneecap a.k.a patella is dislocated.

This can be caused by trauma. As well as bone abnormalities were present at birth.

“Are there breeds who are more prone to this?”

Sadly, yes. And they’re also small and toy breeds, such as:

  • Chihuahuas.
  • Pomeranians.
  • Maltese dogs.
  • Pekingese dogs.
  • Yorkshire Terriers.
  • Miniature Poodles.

Other signs to watch out for are:

  • Rear leg lameness.
  • Occasional skipping.
  • Not using their other hindlimb.
  • ‘Popping’ sounds when walking.
  • Reluctance to jump or walk down.
  • Stopping and looking back during walks.

Note: The symptoms may start to appear within 2 to 5 years old.

Reading tip: Should You Walk A Dog With Luxating Patella? 7 Reasons

#5: Osteoarthritis

Joint pains could also be the reason for this sitting issue. Especially if you have a senior dog.

Osteoarthritis causes their cartilage to wear down.

It’s a soft tissue that connects the bones. And it also reduces friction in the joints.

This is why if it’s damaged, it’ll cause swelling and pain.

“Where does this usually develop?”

Researchers found that it’s the same for humans and dogs. And they’re as follows:

  • Hip.
  • Knees.
  • Elbows.
  • Shoulders. 

“What are its causes?”

This is often caused by aging. But, AKC says that there are other factors as well.

Like obesity, poor nutrition, and genetics. As well as bone problems, such as hip dysplasia.

And aside from stiffness, dogs with osteoarthritis may also:

Interesting fact: It was discovered that dogs’ knees resemble ours. So, they’re typically used as a reference in understanding osteoarthritis in humans.

#6: ‘Pinched nerve’

In other cases, dogs might also have trouble sitting down if their nerves are pressed.

But, I’m hoping that this isn’t your case.

So, “How does this happen?”

This could be due to intervertebral disc disease or IVDD.

Let me explain this briefly.

A dog’s spine has discs between the bones. And these serve as padding for protection.

But, these can wear down in the long run. Which causes the spine to compress or bulge.

If this happens, the nerves around will be pinched by the bones. And this results in great discomfort.

“What are its other symptoms?”

Based on doctors, dogs who are affected by this will also:

  • Walk differently.
  • Cry excessively.
  • Hunch their backs.
  • Be reluctant to jump.
  • Experience lameness in back limbs.

Note: If your dog exhibits some of these signs, it’s best to consult your vet right away. This can be cured by medications, diet, and strict rest. And surgery is only needed for severe cases.

You might also be interested in: Why do dogs arch their back?

#7: Injuries

If your dog suddenly whines while sitting, they may also be hurt somewhere.

This could be due to:

And dogs who are in extreme pain can also display:

#BONUS: Anal sac disease

Lastly, does your dog also scoot their bum on the floor?

Because if this isn’t due to bone or joint issues…

It could also be that your pooch has a problem with their anal sacs.

These are 2 pouches inside a dog’s anus that are as small as a grape. And they discharge a brown fluid with a strong fishy smell. (Oh my!)

But for canines, sniffing these lets them know some info about a certain dog.

Say, their age, gender, and even if they’re ready to mate or not. (All thanks to pheromones.)

The awful-smelling liquid is released whenever they poop. However, if they have some problems defecating, it will not be completely drained. 

This will then result in blockage. And if neglected, it can turn into an infection. Or worse, a painful abscess.

Read next: 5 Reasons Why Dogs Sniff Their Own Bums + 7 Dangers

3 tips on what to do when your dog acts like it hurts to sit

#1: Combat potential bone problems

Does your pooch show other symptoms of a bone or joint issue?

If so, and they’re also at high risk, it’s best to consult your vet about this. For you to know the right treatment plan for their condition.

Plus, the earlier it’s diagnosed the better.

But, in addition to the medications, you also need to consider 5 things:

First is…

Weight management

No matter what your dog’s bone condition is. Whether it’s arthritis, hip dysplasia, or luxating patella…

Vets will strongly recommend watching your Fido’s weight.


This is because the extra weight will add more pressure on your dog’s bones and joints.

“So, what’s the ideal weight for dogs?”

There’s no one-size-fits-all standard for this. Since it’ll differ based on their breed, gender, and age.

But, don’t worry.

To help you know the right weight for your pooch, you can take a look at this chart.

Or try this online tool. Then input all the info asked.

Restricted but complete diet

Next, what and how much your dog eats also plays a big factor in this.

Giving them high-quality dog food that’s specially made for their kind and age is advised. As it’ll supply the nutrients they need while growing.

But, to lessen or maintain their weight, take note of these:

  • Avoid overfeeding: Stick to the recommended meal portions. And don’t offer them more snacks.
  • Feed them nutritious treats: Opt for healthier ones instead of commercial treats. Like bite-sizes of carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, or broccoli.
  • Have a consistent schedule: Establish mealtimes. This is to help your dog know that there are certain hours for eating. If done properly, this will lessen the chances of overeating.

Joint supplements

According to vets, the right supplements may keep the bone issues at bay.

But, how will you know if a product is a suitable one?

They say to look for these scientifically-proven ingredients:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These are said to lessen pain and inflammation.
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride: Research shows that this helps protect the joints. And stimulates cartilage growth.
  • Chondroitin sulfate: With glucosamine, a study found that this also secures a dog’s joints. 

Note: You can also get a recommendation from your vet. And ask about the correct dose for your dog.

Controlled daily exercise

Although a dog has a bone or joint problem…

This doesn’t mean that they have to skip exercise.

What are its benefits?

Moving their legs regularly will help:

  • Keep them fit.
  • Prevent lameness.
  • Lubricate their joints.
  • Strengthen their muscles.

But, remember that it should be short and not vigorous. Meaning, avoid activities like running or jumping.

And for dogs with hip dysplasia, don’t do this on hard surfaces. Since it’ll be tougher for their joints.

Instead, have short 5 minute walks. Do this twice or thrice a day with breaks in between. Then, always check if your dog is able to keep up or not.

Note: This will depend on your Fido’s age and condition. Puppies, old, and small dogs may need less exercise. Compared to medium-sized working dogs.

Warm and comfy environment

Lastly, cold weather and joint pains don’t go well together.

This is because low temperature and air pressure cause the joints to expand. Which makes them more painful.

What to do?

  • Put a sweater on your dog.
  • Be conscious of the temperature inside your house. Adjust it when it starts to get colder.
  • Avoid putting your dog’s bed near areas with cold drafts. Say, doors and windows.

Canines with mobility issues also need a comfy orthopedic bed to sleep on.

Plus, ramps to safely go up chairs, beds, or cars. And carpets for slippery areas.

#2: Detect any injuries and perform proper first aid

Inspect your dog’s body for any wounds or tenderness.

Then, do the things below as first aid:

For fracture

Experts advise not to put back a broken leg. And avoid applying any ointments over the area.

  • Put a muzzle on your dog. Since they might bite due to pain. Except if they have trouble breathing.
  • For back fractures, place them on a level board. Then, carefully tie them using a sheet. Not too tight, but only enough to restrict their movement.
  • For leg fractures, put a folded towel under it. If there’s an open wound, cover it with clean gauze.
  • For rib fractures, wrap their chest with a clean large cloth. Do this tightly enough without hindering their breathing. If there’s an exposed area, put gauze around it.

For sprains or strains

PetsWebMD advises to:

  • Apply an ice pack over the injured part.
  • Place a solid board or brace to support the affected area.
  • Restrain your dog from running or jumping around. Put them in a crate if needed.

To learn more about muscle pull, check out this video:

#3: Relieve pain in their anal sacs

Lastly, if you notice a fishy smell on your dog, they might have an anal sacs issue.

For this, you should bring them to the vet. And check if it’s the problem.

If it’s blocked, he or she can manually express it. But if it’s infected, it’ll be drained by a medical procedure. Along with antibiotics.

However, if you’re looking for a way to soothe their pain at home…

Check out this article: 17 Best Home Remedies For Dog Scooting (Itchy Bum)