After spending some time sleeping her head off, or just lying down, your dog will wake up. As she walks off, you notice her limp for a few steps even dragging her hind legs occasionally. After limping for around 20 minutes or less, she shakes her legs out and whoah! She is fine again.
Could her legs have been asleep during that time? Can dogs legs fall asleep !? You may ask. Stay on and find out what is up with your dog.
So, can dogs legs fall asleep !?
Any slight deviation from normal behavior by your best friend (the furry canine of course) always sends chills down your spine. Could she be hurt? Your worries never end, and rightly so. Who doesn’t worry when their best friend is in some kind of trouble?
The confusion in you increases when she shakes out the leg she had raised or was dragging and walks alright immediately.
Yes! Dogs’ legs can fall asleep, just like in humans. This occurs when ‘Brenda’ (or whatever her name is) lies in the same position for quite some time. This restricts blood flow to some parts of the body especially the hind legs. Lack of blood supply causes the limb to ‘fall asleep.’
This leg shows no signs of any injury or even pain. As the dog gets up, the dog hops on one of her legs. After a couple of minutes, she would look fine, even running around after about 20 minutes or so. To provide a quick relief, a stretch out and a rigorous shake works the trick.
I know you almost called your vet there, but do not worry. It was just some bad sleeping position and lots of biological mishaps. The lack of blood flow puts more pressure on blood vessels and certain nerves responsible for the feel of sensation.
The more time the dog spends lying on her hind legs, communication is lost or distorted between the legs and the brain. This causes a sensation called [paresthesia]. It is the feeling of sharp piercing pins and needles on your legs. This is why you see the dog is in some kind of discomfort initially.
Getting up and moving about rectifies the slight problem. Blood is able to flow again to the legs, hence reviving the numb nerves and blood vessels. The communication between the dog’s brain and the nerves is restored, and your doggy will walk in the normal manner again.
The tingling sensation may make sensitive dogs to yelp or lick the leg that is experiencing the paresthesia. Here is a video of a dog experiencing leg-sleep
Should you be concerned?
Your dog experiencing leg sleep and limping it off thereafter should only be a one-off thing. When it occurs regularly or several times in a day, then there should be room for concern. If your dog limps every time she wakes up from a nap, then this could be caused by other issues and not leg-sleep. It could sometimes happen even if the dog was not sleeping at all.
A common cause could be arthritis. If you notice a frequent limping tendency in your dog, consult your vet immediately and get the right diagnosis. Your dog might even start to walk normally after a couple of steps when experiencing arthritis.
There are several medicinal supplements that you can give your dog to make her feel better in case the vet confirms the arthritis diagnosis.
What should you do then?
Now that you have the answer to the ‘ can dogs legs fall asleep ’ question, what do you do then?
Mind the time of recovery: How long your dog takes to recover is very essential. It could be the difference between a leg sleep, arthritis or any other condition. 20 minutes or so should be enough for a leg sleep condition.
Closely monitor the dog: Not every time she limps after her nap will be because her legs fell asleep. It could be due to other reasons.
Take good care of your pooch
Can dogs legs fall asleep !? Yes, they can. Lots of pet owners have experienced this before, so there is no need to worry. She will be able to walk and shake it off from slumberland as soon as blood starts to flow back to the legs. So, no cause for alarm.