Why Are My Dog’s Back Legs Shaking?

If your dog’s back legs are shaking, it could be due to weakness or old age. Your pup may not be exercising as much, or they may not want to jump up in the car anymore. There are many potential reasons why your pup could be having these issues.

Weakness and shaking in a dog’s legs could be due to a serious problem, so it is essential for you to be aware of any other symptoms that may be present. Your pup could have pain in their legs, or it could be due to an electrolyte imbalance.

If you want to know why your dog’s back legs are shaking, peruse this article.

Dog back legs shaking

What Are the Causes of My Dog’s Back Legs Shaking?

There are many feasible causes of your dog’s back legs shaking. It could be as innocent as a chill to having a serious health issue. If your best friend exhibits any of the following indicators and is not acting like themselves, you should take them to the vet.


Pain Tremors

Pain tremors in older dogs may result from age-related health conditions like osteoarthritis, which is inflammation of the joints caused by cartilage degeneration. Hip dysplasia is another possible reason for back leg shaking. In dogs, hip dysplasia results in an atypical development of the hip socket, which can cause lameness and arthritis of the joints.

Dogs with hip dysplasia will depend on their front legs for strength, which means that the back legs lose muscle. It can make it difficult for them to stand. You can get them a special harness to help prevent the joints from disconnecting. It pulls up and strengthens the hip muscles.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

Intervertebral disc disease is more common in older dogs than in young dogs. This disease occurs when the gel-like vertebral discs break down and spill out, which triggers pain due to a lack of cushioning. The spinal discs dehydrate. When the disease affects the lumbar spine, it causes back-end weakness and leg shaking. It can affect the back or neck. There are some signs of this disease you should watch out for:

  • Pain or weakness in the back legs
  • Unwillingness to jump
  • Lack of appetite
  • No interest in exercise or play

Treatment will typically involve an anti-inflammatory, prescribed by a veterinarian, and activity restriction. If your dog cannot walk, surgery may be an option.

Injury or Accident

If your pup has suffered an injury or if they have been in an accident, it can trigger back leg shaking. Like humans, dogs can sprain or strain their muscles. They could have also overexerted themselves and are now feeling weak. Your dog may have been involved in an accident that caused fractures or trauma, which can make their back legs shake.

Your pup could have injured their spine, which is painful for them. Your pup could have been in a car accident, or they may have suffered a direct injury. There are sure signs that this was the case:

  • Not being able to move, play, or exercise
  • Pain when being picked up
  • Arched back
  • Inability to bend down and eat or drink
  • Limping around
  • Loss of control of the back end
  • Dragging of the rear legs


The fallout of an injury or accident can be painful for dogs, and they may require surgical intervention. If you spot any of these indicators, get your pup to the vet as soon as possible.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is an illness that develops when the adrenal glands stop making cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted from the adrenal glands, and it helps the body handle stress and controls blood sugar.

Another steroid hormone released by the adrenal glands is aldosterone, which stimulates sodium absorption by the kidneys. It controls the balance between water and salt in the body.

Without these two hormones working correctly, the body starts to break down. In most cases, Addison’s disease appears when the body’s immune system attacks the adrenal glands and keeps them from functioning correctly. There are some significant signs of Addison’s disease in dogs:

  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Drinking and peeing more than normal
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Back leg shaking


The symptoms may come and go as the disease becomes worse. Addison’s disease is a challenging condition to diagnose in dogs, as it shares symptoms with many other types of illnesses. However, if you see any of the above symptoms in your dog, get them to the vet.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a neurological disorder that triggers hind leg instability. The white matter around the spinal cord breaks down. It leads to disability in dogs. It slowly worsens, and your dog will not be able to walk. Exercise, walking, and swimming is essential to prolong the life span of a dog suffering from this illness.

Hydrotherapy is one avenue that is a great resource. It is impressive to see how it will help your dog with mobility issues. Intense physical rehabilitation and selective assistive equipment can increase a dog’s survival time by up to three years instead of six months to a year if the dog does not have physical therapy. You can do extra things to help increase your dog’s quality of life.

  • Purchase a pair of dog boots
  • Invest in a harness
  • Wheelchair


Some of the symptoms you will need to watch out for include difficulty using steps, loss of coordination, and uneven gait. They will also have a deficit in nerve signals. There is no cure for degenerative myelopathy. However, your pup will experience very little pain.


Diabetes in dogs occurs when the pancreas is damaged or not working correctly. It is a disease state in which the body does not correctly respond to insulin, or there is a shortage of insulin. It can cause trembling and weak hind legs in dogs because it puts strain on the kidneys. There are many other signs of diabetes in dogs:

  • Increased water intake
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Weight loss despite normal appetite
  • Elevated blood glucose levels
  • Glucose in the urine

Diabetes in dogs is serious, as it negatively affects the kidneys. When has diabetes and their back legs are shaking, or if their hind legs are weak, it usually indicates a poor diet. If your canine demonstrates any of the above warning signs, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Electrolyte Imbalance  

Electrolyte imbalance can cause phosphate deficiency. It can result in lameness and bone fractures. There are many possible causes of electrolyte imbalance:

  • Addison’s disease
  • Gastrointestinal imbalance
  • Parathyroid
  • Kidney injuries
  • Poor absorption of nutrients


In cases of an electrolyte imbalance, your dog may have an irregular heartbeat or even difficulty breathing. It may also cause back leg shaking.



Many possible scenarios could be causing your dog’s back legs to shake. If you see that your dog’s rear legs are shaking and any of the above symptoms, do not hesitate to get your pup to the vet right away.



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