Dog Hanging Head Down – [What Should I Do?]

Seeing your dog keep his head down and not lift it is not pleasant. 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 to hang its 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. Your dog will always survive this situation if you follow the right steps. Here we will guide you through possible reasons why your dog hanging head down and what to do and what not to do in this particular situation to avoid making the situation even worse.

Dog Hanging Head Down

Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Hanging Head Down

Possible Reasons Why Your Dog May Keep Hanging His Head Down

The following are the main reasons why your dog may keep his head hanging down and not lift it for hours and sometimes even days. If you’ve noticed that your dog has been keeping his head down more often than usual, there could be a few possible reasons for this behavior. One reason may be that your dog is feeling sad or anxious. Dogs can experience emotions like humans; hanging their heads down can signify depression or stress.

Another possibility is that your dog may have an underlying medical issue, such as neck pain or an ear infection, which causes discomfort when they hold its head up. Lastly, it could simply be a habit your dog has developed. Suppose you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior. In that case, it’s best to consult your veterinarian to rule out any potential health issues and develop a plan to help your furry friend feel better.  Here are some reasons why dog hanging head down:

1. Displaced Disks

Your dog may keep hanging his head down due to displaced disks in the neck. This can cause discomfort and pain, which may lead to your dog keeping his head down to relieve the pressure. It is probably the main reason for this particular problem.

The disks in your dog’s neck may slip from their position for various reasons. If they take more stress and pressure than they are supposed to, the disks in their neck may fall 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 he will feel unbearable pain if he tries to lift his head.

One possible reason why your dog may keep hanging his head down is due to severe arthritis. Arthritis can cause joint pain and stiffness, making it difficult for dogs to hold their heads up. This can be especially noticeable in older dogs or those with pre-existing joint issues.

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 power to breathe like a normal one. Your vet may recommend additional tests to diagnose the condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Dogs with cardiac Disease can still enjoy a happy and healthy life with proper care and management.

4. Genital Infection

While there can be many reasons why a dog may keep hanging his head down, one possible cause is a genital infection. Dogs with genital infections may exhibit symptoms such as lethargy, decreased appetite, and a general lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed. 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 with her genital organ. Try to convince your vet to consider this option if the vet finds no 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 on the face and neck of the dog.

If you notice that your dog is persistently hanging his head down, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. Early intervention can help prevent potential complications and ensure your furry friend receives the care he needs.

6. Aging

We are placing this as a reason at last for a reason. It is widespread among dogs if they are older. They won’t have sharp memories, will often lose their way, and will always feel tired. Even we humans also feel tired during our last stages of life. Why will the dogs be different? Please 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 explained why a dog may keep his head down. Now we will let you through the ‘Do’s if your dog faces this problem. If your dog keeps hanging his head down, it may indicate an underlying health issue or emotional distress. Observing your dog’s behavior and noting any other symptoms or changes in its routine is essential.

Possible reasons for this behavior include neck pain, ear infections, dental problems, sadness,, or anxiety. To address the issue, it is recommended to seek advice from a veterinarian who can determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment. In the meantime, keep your dog comfortable and offer plenty of love and attention to help them feel better.

1. Give Some Initial Treatment

It may not be possible for you always to 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 taste has venom, it will be hazardous for the dog to let walk.

Third, apply a cold pack to the neck of your dog. You can use it during the drive. You can even do it if going to the vet is impossible 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 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. Dogs feel extreme pain if something like disk displacement happens to them. But they can’t utter words and make you feel their pain.

See a vet by carrying your dog as soon as possible. The pain will mostly disappear by following the vet’s instructions. Why let the poor dog suffer, then?

3. Suggest Your Vet Consider Acupuncture

If your dog keeps his head down, it can indicate various health issues. One possible solution to consider is acupuncture. This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate healing and improve overall well-being.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating a range of conditions in dogs, including chronic pain, arthritis, and anxiety. If your dog’s head-hanging behaviour persists despite other treatments, it may be worth discussing acupuncture with your vet as a potential option for improving their health and quality of life.

4. Go To A Chiropractor

Just like seeing an acupuncturist, you may also consider seeing a chiropractor. Sometimes, chiropractic care is the best possible solution for your problematic dog. If your dog keeps his head down, it could indicate underlying health issues.

One probable cause of this behavior is neck pain or discomfort. In such cases, visiting a chiropractor may help relieve the pain and improve your dog’s quality of life. 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 health issues, we just Google the symptoms and try to buy the recommended medicines instead of going to a doctor. It would be best if you did not do that, not even for your dog. First, go to a vet. Get a prescription.

Then buy medicines for your dog. In fact, giving the wrong medication or dosage could make your dog’s condition worse. Instead, scheduling an appointment with your vet as soon as possible is best. They will be able to properly diagnose the underlying issue and prescribe any necessary medications or treatments to help your furry friend feel better.

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. If your dog keeps their head down, it can signify a severe neck injury or another medical issue. While trying and fixing the problem on your own may be tempting, resisting the urge to do so is essential. Manipulating your dog’s neck without proper training and knowledge can cause further harm and worsen the situation.

Instead, seek veterinary care for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will have the necessary skills and equipment to safely address issues with your dog’s neck or spine. Remember, when it comes to your furry friend’s health, it is always better to err on the side of caution and seek professional help rather than risk further injury.

Please don’t do it, not to your dog or yourself. If you do so, severing the pain is the least of your worries.

3. Do Not Delay Visiting A Vet

If your dog is keeping their head down, it can be a sign of a serious health issue. While there are many things that you can do to help your dog feel better, one thing that you should never do is delay visiting a vet. A qualified veterinarian can determine the underlying cause of your dog’s symptoms and provide appropriate treatment.

Diagnosing and treating your dog’s condition alone can be dangerous and may further harm your furry friend. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health. So, if you notice any concerning symptoms in your dog, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a trusted veterinarian.

Behaviour Changes And Pain In Aging Dogs

Behavior Changes And Pain In Aging Dogs

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

Avoid giving your dog any medication without consulting a vet first, as this can worsen the issue. Additionally, be patient and understanding with your furry friend during this potential discomfort and seek professional advice on how to best care for them.

Know The Signs Of Aging

Know The Signs Of Aging

As our furry friends age, they may exhibit sure signs that indicate their advancing years. One common symptom of aging in dogs is keeping their head down. This can be a sign of pain or discomfort in the neck or back and make an indication of vision or hearing loss. Other symptoms of aging may include changes in appetite, weight loss, decreased mobility, and an increased need for rest.

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, you must schedule a visit with your veterinarian to ensure they receive proper care and treatment as they age gracefully. Remember, like humans, our dogs deserve love and attention as they enter their golden years. 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 or back pain if he cannot 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 occasionally turn and lift his head.

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 unsteady on her feet and has difficulty 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 anything about their communication in most cases. They 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? We hope now you understand why dog hanging head down. Keep your dog healthy. Only a few things are 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 behaviours such as sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

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

Your dog might be shaking their head back and forth for many reasons. Head bobbing can indicate anxiety, stress, an ear infection, or a 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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