Dog Hanging Head Down – What Should I Do?

Seeing your dog keeping his head down and not lifting it is not a pleasant scenario at all. You have every bit and piece of right to be worried about your dog in this situation.

Although there are various reasons for a dog hanging head down, the main reason behind this situation is the slipped disks in the neck. Experts often mention a dog having this problem as a ‘neck dog.’

Don’t worry. In almost every case, your dog will survive this situation if you follow the right steps. In this article, we will guide you through what to do and what not to do in this particular situation to make the situation even worse.

Possible Reasons Why Your Dog May Keep Hanging His Head Down

Dog Hanging Head down

The following are the main reasons why your dog may keep his head hanging down and not lift it for hours and, in some cases, even days.

1. Displaced Disks

It is probably the main reason for this particular problem. The disks in the neck of your dog may slip from their position due to various reasons.

If they take more stress and pressure than they are supposed to, the disks in their neck may slip and cause severe pain.

2. Severe Arthritis

Your dog may also keep his head down due to severe arthritis. If that is the case, the dog will feel extreme pain and not lift his head. It will happen because if he tries to lift his head, he will feel unbearable pain.

3. Cardiac Disease

If anything like cardiac disease or congestive heart failure happens to your dog, he will keep his head down most of the time. Due to this problem, he will need frequent breaks to regain his breathing energy.

As cardiac diseases drastically decrease the oxygen, the dog won’t have much energy to breathe like a normal one.

4. Genital Infection

You may not consider this option in this specific circumstance. But sometimes, it happens. Especially if the dog is female, there may be a problem in her genital organ.

Try to convince your vet to consider this option if the vet doesn’t find any other reason for this problem.

5. Snakebite

Your dog may also keep hanging his head down if he gets bitten by a snake. Sometimes, snake bites can be very painful.

For this reason, the dogs may keep their head down. If you see your dog is not lifting his head, check for bite marks in the face and neck of the dog.

6. Aging

We are placing this as a reason at last for a reason. It is very common among dogs if they are older ones. They won’t have sharp memories, they will often lose their way, and they will always feel tired.

Even we humans also feel tired during our last stages of life. Why will the dogs be different? Show me a single species that don’t show symptoms of aging.

What To Do In Case Your Dog Keeps Hanging His Head Down?

What To Do In Case Your Dog Keeps Hanging His Head Down

In the previous section, we have tried to tell you the possible reasons why a dog may keep hanging his head down. Now we will let you through the ‘Do’s if your dog faces this particular problem.

1. Give Some Initial Treatment

It may not be possible for you to always get your dog to a vet the moment he starts to keep hanging down his head. Sometimes it may take hours to get to a vet. What will you do if that is the case?

Even though the vet is nearby, you need to give your dog some breathing space when you find your dog is facing this problem.

First, you have to remove the collar of your dog. As the pain will most probably be in the neck, the dog will feel relieved if you do so.

Second, if you are sure of a snake bite, carry your dog instead of letting him walk. Any possible movement of the dog will increase the blood flow. If the bite carries venom, it will be very dangerous for the dog to let him walk.

Third, apply a cold pack to the neck of your dog. You can apply it during the drive. You can even do it if going to the vet is not possible on that day. It will relieve the pain of the dog for the moment.

Emergency Tip

Remember, this is only to provide relief from arthritis. If you can’t afford a vet or in emergencies, you can buy some pain relief medicines to relieve your dog’s pain. It will save the dog from extreme pain for some time.

2. Go To A Vet

Don’t try to make any excuse if visiting a vet is possible by any means. Dogs feel extreme pain if something like disks displacing happens to them. But they can’t utter words and make you feel their pain.

Go see a vet by carrying your dog as soon as possible. In most cases, the pain will go away by following the vet’s instructions. Why let the poor dog suffer then?

3. Suggest Your Vet Consider Acupuncture

Remember one thing. Your vet understands the problems of your pets better than you. But sometimes, they may not find any reason why your dog keeps hanging his head down.

In that particular case, try to convince the vet whether seeing an acupuncturist is okay. Don’t forget this thing. It is not even a plan C.

4. Go To A Chiropractor

Just like seeing an acupuncturist, you may consider seeing a chiropractor as well. Sometimes, chiropractic care is the best possible solution for your problematic dog.

But never go to a chiropractor or an acupuncturist before visiting a vet. It may bring dangerous outcomes for your dog.

What Not To Do If Your Dog Keeps His Head Down?

What Not To Do If Your Dog Keeps His Head Down

1. Do Not Buy Medicines Without A Prescription

 There is a trend nowadays. If we face any kind of health issues, instead of going to a doctor, we just Google the symptoms and try to buy the recommended medicines.

You should not do that by any means, not even for your dog. First, go to a vet. Get a prescription. Then buy medicines for your dog.

2. Do Not Try To Fix The Neck On Your Own

Similarly to the previous section, we often try to fix the displaced joint of our bodies by ourselves.

Don’t do it. Not to your dog and not to yourself. If you do so, severing the pain is the least among your worries.

3. Do Not Delay Visiting A Vet

As you are not a vet (if you were, you wouldn’t search this topic on the Web), you do not know the degree of the problem your dog is facing. That is why you must not delay a second to visit a vet.

Go to an experienced vet as soon as possible. The sooner you can reach a vet; the lesser will be the pain your dog will have to face.

Behavior Changes And Pain In Aging Dogs

Behavior Changes And Pain In Aging Dogs

You may have noticed the changes in your dog as they get older, but you might not know that your dog’s behavior and pain are two of the most significant issues during aging. This post will guide you on things to watch for to help recognize any changes in difficulty, mobility, or pain.

Know The Signs Of Aging

Know The Signs Of Aging

You can watch for specific signs to determine whether or not your dog is aging too rapidly.

Change in dietary intake: If a sudden change in your dog’s diet happens, it may be due to difficulty chewing.

Change in activity level: If you see your dog seems to have less energy than when they were younger, it may be due to the pain of arthritis or disease.

Change in attitude: If your dog seems more fearful, it could lead to a prolonged illness.

Recognizing Neck and Back Pain in Dogs

Recognizing Neck and Back Pain in Dogs

You know your dog has neck pain or back pain if he is unable to sit up on his own, cannot walk without using his front or hind legs, or cannot turn around. Unfortunately, some dogs do not recover from neck or back pain which can result in lifelong problems.

There are many causes of neck and back pain, including:

Transverse Process Fracture

This occurs when the long bones (vertebrae) are broken at the midline of the spine resulting in an abnormal position (hyperextension) of the vertebrae.


To fully understand this topic, we first need to explain pyrexia. Pyrexia is an abnormally high body temperature in response to infection, disease, or blood poisoning.

Neck Muscle Tension Syndrome

This condition occurs when the neck muscles are stretched and pulled, removing flexibility and range of motion. This makes it difficult for the dog to turn his head and lift his head occasionally.

My Dog Has Been Hanging Her Head Low And Walking

My Dog Has Been Hanging Her Head Low And Walking

Abnormal behavior in dogs is often the first indicator of disease. This may be an early warning indication that anything is wrong before any other symptoms emerge. Animals that “push their heads” against a wall or corner while remaining still engage in an aberrant activity known as “head pressing.”

Mammals have powerful limbic (emotional) systems. These systems control some behaviors and feelings, including the “fight or flight response,” which can be experienced as anxiety. These dynamic systems are part of what makes us mammals so aware, intelligent, and socially complex.

However, these same emotional systems can drive aberrant behaviors such as head pressing if the animal’s nervous system is compromised.

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in a Dog’s Neck

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in a Dog's Neck

If your dog suddenly has a case of stumbles, drooling, and lip-smacking, you may have noticed that she is not only unsteady on her feet but also has a hard time breathing. This is often the first sign of a pinched nerve in a dog’s neck.

It is called a “pinched nerve” because one of the spinal bones or vertebrae has shifted, causing a pinch on the nerves in your dog’s neck. This causes pain and weakness in the neck muscles and additional weakness that travels down your dog’s back.

These are the three most common signs of a pinched nerve in dogs:

  • Loss of coordination
  • and balance
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Reduced strength in the back legs
  • Drooling, unusual licking or chewing motions
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing

Final Thoughts

Dogs can’t speak. They do communicate with their species, though. But we don’t understand a single thing about their communication in most cases.

They do to let us know if they are in trouble by creating gestures and showing symptoms that they are not okay.

If you see your dog is keeping his head down, visit a vet without wasting a second. Even though they are old, you should do the same. As in almost every case, they get the proper remedy from an experienced vet, why let them suffer?

I hope now you know why your dog hanging head down. Keep your dog healthy. There are only a few things in the world as beautiful as a healthy and lively dog.


1. When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Head Shaking?

After a few shakes of the head, there’s no need to be worried about your dog’s health. If, on the other hand, your dog is shaking his head incessantly, you should take him to the vet.

2. How To Recognize Pain In Aging Dogs?

Dogs may show increased anxiety while they age and other unusual behaviors such as sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

3. Why Is My Dog Shaking His Head And Scratching At His Ears?

There are many reasons your dog might be shaking their head back and forth. Head shaking can indicate anxiety, stress, an ear infection, or neurological disorder.

4. How To Treat A Dog With Pinched Nerves?

Treating a dog with pinched nerves may involve some medications and physical therapy, but your vet needs to diagnose the condition before beginning treatment.

5. Which Dogs Are More Prone To Cervical Disk Herniations?

A herniated or slipped disc is the medical term for this condition. These discs subsequently strain the spinal cord’s nerves, resulting in discomfort, spinal cord compression, and even

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