Posted by Pet Honesty on

Why Is My Dog Walking Really Slow All of the Sudden?

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Noticing a sudden change in your dog’s walking speed can be alarming. One day, your furry friend is zooming around with endless energy, and the next, they’re moving at a snail's pace. It's a concern many dog owners face and often signifies that something may be amiss. Understanding the potential reasons behind this shift is crucial in ensuring your pet's health and happiness.

Understanding Normal Dog Walking Speeds

Like humans, dogs have varying levels of fitness and energy. Age, breed, and health play significant roles in determining a dog's normal walking speed. Puppies and young dogs often have bursts of energy, while older dogs may naturally slow down. However, a sudden change in pace warrants a closer look.

Often, lethargic dogs can be mistaken for having a slow pace, when lethargy in dogs is a whole other concern and worth investigating. A lethargic dog may have other symptoms that point to illnesses ranging from minor cases (such as kennel cough) to life-threatening conditions (such as heart disease or diabetes mellitus).

Common Reasons for Sudden Slow Walking

Health Issues

The most crucial factor to consider when your dog starts walking slowly is their health. Several medical conditions can make your dog lethargic. Some of the common health issues that may result in slow walking include low blood sugar, any conditions affecting red blood cells, injury, and neurological disorders like degenerative myelopathy. Early detection of these conditions is key.


Dogs are sensitive to temperature changes, much like humans. Extreme heat or cold can make it uncomfortable for them to walk at their normal pace, resulting in a slower gait. If you notice your dog walking slowly on particularly hot or cold days, take measures to keep them comfortable and hydrated.

muscle weakness, cause for your dog walking slower

Muscle Weakness

As dogs age, their muscles may become weaker, affecting their overall mobility. This is especially true if your senior dog is a larger breed that is more prone to muscle atrophy. Keeping senior dogs active and engaging in regular exercise can help maintain their muscle strength.

Pain or Discomfort

If your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort, it's natural for it to avoid putting pressure on the affected area. This can result in a slower walking pace as it tries to minimize discomfort. Common symptoms of discomfort also include limping or whining when walking. If you witness these and other symptoms in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Just like humans, dogs can also experience anxiety. Certain situations or changes in the environment can make them feel uneasy and cause them to walk slower than usual. If you suspect your dog is feeling anxious, try to identify the trigger and find ways to alleviate their stress.

Products like Pet Honesty’s Calming Max Strength supplements can help manage anxiety and stress, promoting a sense of calm in your pet.


Fear can also cause dogs to walk at a slower pace. Loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or previous negative experiences can make your furry friend hesitant and cautious while walking. It's essential to provide a safe and secure environment for your dog and work on building their confidence through positive reinforcement training.


As mentioned earlier, older dogs may naturally slow down as they age. This is a normal part of the aging process and nothing to be too concerned about, as long as your dog's overall health is good. However, it's important to keep an eye out for any other signs of age-related conditions that may be causing your dog's slow walking, such as joint stiffness or muscle weakness.

How to Identify the Cause in Your Dog

Careful observation of your dog's lethargy and monitoring are key in identifying why your dog’s pace has changed. Note any other symptoms like limping, lethargy, or changes in appetite. Consult with a veterinarian or behaviorist to get to the root of the issue. They can offer guidance and treatment options tailored to your dog's needs.

help your dog walk healthier

Help Your Dog Walk Faster and Healthier

Exercise and Diet Adjustments

Ensure your dog is getting appropriate exercise for their age and condition. A balanced diet, possibly supplemented with vitamins and nutrients, can also support their energy levels (a tired dog tends to walk at a slower pace). Pet Honesty offers a range of supplements to support your dog's health, including formulas specifically designed for aging dogs.

Environmental and Routine Changes

Consider any recent changes to your dog’s environment or routine that may be affecting their behavior. Providing a stable, safe, and supportive home can help alleviate anxiety or stress. Stick to a consistent walking schedule and avoid extreme weather conditions when possible.

Treat Underlying Medical Conditions

If your dog is experiencing health issues that are negatively impacting their mobility, consult with your veterinarian for the necessary treatment. Physical therapy or medication may be recommended to help improve their muscle strength and reduce pain or discomfort.


How fast should a dog walk?

There is no specific speed that all dogs should walk at, as it varies depending on factors like age and breed. However, a healthy adult dog can typically walk at a pace of 3-4 miles per hour.

Is it normal for my older dog to walk slowly?

Yes, as dogs age, they may naturally slow down. However, if you notice a significant decrease in your dog's walking speed or any other concerning symptoms, it's best to consult with a veterinarian.

Should I be concerned if my dog walks slowly all the time?

Yes, a consistently slow walking pace can indicate an underlying health issue that requires attention. If your dog is always walking slowly, consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause.

What should I do if my dog suddenly starts walking slowly?

If your dog's sudden decrease in walking speed is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, seek medical attention from a veterinarian. Otherwise, monitor their behavior and consult with a professional if the issue persists.

Can a dog's diet affect their walking speed?

Yes, a balanced and nutritious diet can contribute to a dog's overall energy levels and affect their walking speed. Consult with a veterinarian for guidance on the best diet for your specific dog.

joint health bundle

Are there any supplements that can help improve my dog's walking speed?

Certain supplements, such as glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids, can support joint health and muscle strength in dogs, potentially improving their walking speed. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best supplements for your dog.

Is it safe to give my dog pain medication if they are walking slowly due to discomfort?

No, it is not safe to give your dog any medication without consulting with a veterinarian first. Some human pain medications can be toxic to dogs and may cause more harm than good.

Can anxiety or fear cause my dog to walk slowly even if they are not in pain?

Yes, anxiety and fear can affect a dog's behavior and cause them to walk at a slower pace. Consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for guidance on managing these issues.

How long does it take for an older dog to adjust to a joint supplement?

The time it takes for an older dog to adjust to a joint supplement can vary. Some may see improvement within a few weeks, while others may take longer. Consult with a veterinarian for guidance on the appropriate dosage and duration of use.

Can changing my walking routine help improve my dog's walking speed?

Yes, sticking to a consistent walking routine and avoiding extreme weather conditions can help improve your dog's walking speed. Consult with a veterinarian for additional tips on promoting an active lifestyle for your dog.

Are certain breeds more prone to walking slowly?

Some breeds may be naturally more laid-back and take their time while walking, but in general, all dogs should have a relatively consistent pace. If you notice a significant decrease in your dog's walking speed, consult with a veterinarian for possible underlying health issues.

Can physical therapy help improve my dog's walking speed?

Yes, physical therapy can be beneficial for dogs who have mobility issues. A professional can create a customized exercise plan to help strengthen muscles and joints, potentially improving their walking speed. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations on reputable physical therapists in your area.

All in All...

For pet owners who find themselves asking, "My dog is walking really slow. Should I be concerned"?...while it's never productive to panic, a sudden slowdown in your dog's walking speed may be more than just a quirky new behavior. Whether it's due to a health issue such as liver disease, aging, or behavioral changes, early intervention and ongoing care are essential.

For comprehensive support, consider incorporating supplements from Pet Honesty into your dog's routine. From calming aids to senior multivitamins, we offer solutions to help support your dog’s health at every stage of life.

Remember, your dog depends on you to notice when things aren't quite right. Trust your instincts—if your dog is acting lethargic, it's always best to consult with a professional. Together, you can ensure your furry friend lives a happy, healthy, and active life.