Dog Back Leg Twitching: What Does It Mean?

If you have ever noticed your dog back leg twitching involuntarily, you might have wondered what is causing it and whether it is a sign of a serious problem.

This problem can have various causes, ranging from harmless to potentially life-threatening.

We will explain how to identify the cause of your dog’s back leg twitching and how to treat it effectively below.

From that, you will better understand your dog’s health and behavior and how to help them live a happy and comfortable life without any muscle weakness.

Why Is A Dog Back Leg Twitching?

dog back leg twitching

The answer to “Why does my dogs leg twitch?” covers five common reasons: aging, neurological disorders, degenerative myelopathy, genetic problems, and the Shaker syndrome (phenomenon).

You can also catch these signs in other illnesses in your dogs, like licking everything and throwing up. In particular: 

Neurological Disorders

If you see your dogs back legs spasming and are hard to stand, you should take them to an experienced veterinary neurologist.

Twitching legs can indicate different neurological problems in dogs and cats.

This can mean that the spinal cord is not properly sending messages to the brain, leading to muscle damage.

They can also happen because of severe pain from a disc or nerve issue.

Age Problem 

As your dog ages, they may develop tremors in their back legs. This can cause the dog’s rear leg twitching, making them unsteady or wobbly.

Tremors are involuntary muscle movements resulting from aging, stress, or illness. They are not painful but can affect your dog’s quality of life.

Degenerative Myelopathy 

DM, or degenerative myelopathy, is a serious condition that affects the spine of many senior German Shepherds.

It causes the spinal cord to deteriorate gradually, which leads to a loss of communication between the muscles and nerves in the rear legs.

This can result in muscle cramps and shaking in the legs and feet, which can cause damage to your dog’s leg muscles or even muscle injury for a long time. 

Shaker Syndrome (Phenomenon)

Shaker syndrome is a rare but treatable condition that affects the nerves in the neurological system, including the dogs’ spinal cord and brain.

It causes tremors in the whole body, making your dog look shivering or shaking. It is also known as the little white shaker phenomenon, often affecting Maltese and West Highland Terriers.

The tremors usually start when a dog is one to two years old, but they can be cured with prednisone, a type of steroid.

Your dog can be free of shaking and enjoy a normal life after a certain time.

Problems In Paralyzed Dogs

You can easily see back leg spasms in dogs with paralyzed problems since birth. They can be involuntary shaking or painful conditions in normal muscle contraction on your dogs.

In some unexpected situations, if your dog is paralyzed, you may notice twitching in their legs as they recover or start to feel pain again in their limbs. This is a good sign that their nerves are healing and their muscles are working.

Sometimes, you can see your dog’s legs shake when reaching the wheelchair; this is nothing to worry about.

These tremors can show improvement and leg strength but don’t guarantee walking without help.

What Does A Twitching Dog Leg Look Like? – 150w

my dogs leg is twitching

Dogs back leg twitching is not easy to control and even becomes more serious if they have the neurological syndrome.

These chronic conditions make the reflexes in the rear legs too strong, which causes the muscles in the back legs to get pain relievers and need proper treatments over time.

Muscle spasms in dogs hind legs normally happen in Doberman Pinschers. It is sometimes called Dancing Doberman Disease, or DDD.

It can start when your dog is anywhere from six months to seven years old and can affect both male and female dogs.

Which Are Solutions For Dogs Back Legs Spasming?

The best medical treatments for dog back leg twitching depend on the cause and the level of spasm.

Nevertheless, you should have a test for the underlying condition or an additional treatment before applying them to your dogs to restrict serious allergies.

Below are how to diagnose a twitching dog leg and treat muscle spasms effectively.

How To Diagnose Dogs Back Leg Twitching

It would help to consider your pet’s breed and how they feel to find the right reason for signs of pain in your dog’s back, legs, or muscles.

You should take your dog to your vet for a complete diagnosis of intervertebral disc diseases, including twitching or shaking problems.

Your veterinarian may want to do some blood and urine tests to see if there are other reasons for your dog’s spasms.

If your dog has Dancing Doberman Disease, those samples should be normal.

This requires your vet to perform electromyography, a test that checks the electrical activity in your dog’s muscles and nerves for an extended period.

It is highly recommended for detecting back-end weakness in adult dogs and puppies.

How To Treat Muscle Spasms In Dogs Hind Legs 

To relieve muscle spasms in dogs, you can also try home remedies such as massage, heat or cold therapy, muscle relaxants, or nutritional supplements.

Below are our tips for you to conduct them, including:

  • Massage therapy: Massaging the tendon of the spastic muscle stretches the nerves is a good solution that you can apply on your dog’s leg. The nerves tell the brain to relax the motor nerve that causes the spasm, which can make the cramps go away fast or take hours after a treatment.
  • Stretching: Stretching the spastic muscle gently makes the muscle spindle contract and relaxes the opposite muscle – like massaging the tendons. Remember to stretch injured muscles softly when the dog is calm and willing.
  • Cold treatment: Cooling the spastic area lowers the activity of the tendon and muscle receptors and relaxes the spasm. You should first excite the nerves but then slow the spasm as it gets harder.

When Should You Call Your Vet About Back Leg Spasms In Dogs?

It may seize if your dog’s whole body shakes for more than a brief spasm or stiffens up. In these cases, it can indicate serious leg weakness in your dog.

You can detect common symptoms such as foaming at the mouth, urinating, and vomiting.

Your dog may act nervous or uneasy. During this period, your dog may stare with their eyes wide open, whether asleep or awake, and look scared or startled.

They may also seem lost or bewildered after experiencing serious twitching in their back legs.

When you catch all these problems, please take your dog to the vet immediately to check for his medical condition.

How Long Can Your Dogs Recover From Getting Twitching Back Legs?

back leg spasms in dogs

The recovery time for twitching back legs in dogs depends on different factors.

If your dog has an injury, such as a slipped disc or a pinched nerve, it may need surgery or physical therapy to heal.

This can take longer than normal pain in your dog’s legs. For tiny damage, your dogs only need a shorter time to recover.

However, when your dog has a neurological disorder like Wobbler syndrome, it may have progressive or chronic twitching that cannot be cured.

They may need lifelong medication or management to improve their quality of life.


Why Is Your Dog Leg Twitching But Still Acting Normal?

If your dog’s leg is twitching but still acting normally, it could be a sign of a benign condition called myoclonus.

Myoclonus is a sudden, involuntary muscle contraction that can affect any body part. It is usually harmless and does not affect the dog’s quality of life.

However, if the twitching is frequent, severe, or accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, weakness, or seizures, it could indicate a more serious problem, and you should consult your veterinarian.

Are Dog Back Legs Twitching In Sleep?

Dog back legs twitching in sleep is a common phenomenon many owners observe. It is usually caused by the dog dreaming and acting out its movements in its sleep.

This is normal and harmless, showing the dog has a deep and restful sleep.

Do Dogs Usually Twitch While They’re Awake?

Dogs usually do not twitch while awake unless cold, excited, or nervous. Twitching is more common during sleep when the dog’s brain is active and processing information.

Some dogs may have involuntary muscle spasms due to medical conditions like epilepsy, allergies, or infections.


This blog has provided useful information about dog back leg twitching. You can note all to follow while taking care of your dogs, which ensures to help you a lot if you want to treat any bad condition in dogs.

Remember to call your vet for their advice to select the right solution for your dog’s leg!


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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