Why Doesn’t My Dog... Want to Go for a Walk?

Orthopedic Problems

Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, panosteitis, intervertebral disc disease and osteoarthritis are just a few of the conditions that can cause dogs to limp or be reluctant to walk. Some of these conditions are congenital, meaning dogs are born with them. Others develop over time.

Another possible deterrent to walking is obesity. Yes, it’s a disease. Excess weight can put uncomfortable pressure on your dog’s joints and can make him unwilling to walk.


Senior dogs may be suffering the onset of osteoarthritis. Observe whether your senior dog has gradually become slower to rise from his bed and more cautious about negotiating stairs.

Heart Disease or Cancer

A dog who is reluctant to walk sometimes has a more dangerous condition lurking in his body. If you notice that your dog is stopping frequently, sometimes insistently, don’t necessarily write it off to creeping old age. Exercise intolerance can be a subtle sign of congestive heart failure or other serious conditions.

A dog with bone cancer can also be slower or more reluctant to walk for no apparent reason. That’s because a tumor may be interfering with his ability to walk.


Sometimes all a dog needs is a little R&R before he’s back on his daily walk with you. Any time you notice a continuing reluctance to walk, though, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian and schedule an exam. Your dog may need medication or surgery to bring him back to his status as best walking buddy.

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