My dog won't walk up stairs

I woke up yesterday morning after a bad dream. I was in the vet’s office with one of my pugs, who couldn’t walk, trying to get an appointment with the vet, but the ladies behind the desk wouldn’t do it, they just kept saying I had to come back next week.

Woke up, checked dogs, doggies both walking just fine. Let them out. On the way back to the house, the girlie dog tripped a little bit coming up the two steps before the door. I remember that, because of my bad dream.

Later in the day, I was lying on the couch reading, and she came over and tried to jump up on the couch but couldn’t quite make it. This isn’t all that weird of an occurrence; she gets weirded out if there’s not a lot of landing space for her jump. But usually with a bit of encouragement, she makes it. Today, no go, I assumed she was just being weird, and I helped her up.

Fast forward a few hours. Mr. Athena was in his office in the basement, as were the dogs. He came upstairs, dogs followed. Well, tried to follow. Girlie dog got a quarter of the way up the stair and wouldn’t come farther.

“Hmmm” we said. “Very odd.” We called to her, and tried to get her to come the rest of the way up. No go. She wiggled and cried a little bit, and we carried her the rest of the way up.

Since then, it’s been the same; she just won’t go up stairs. This morning, she came maybe 2/3 of the way up the stairs with me, then stopped and whined.

Other than that, she seems OK. She’s walking on level ground fine, she walks down the stairs fine, just anything that makes her go UP she balks at. She didn’t feel like playing with her toys last night, but that’s not all that weird; some nights she plays, other nights she doesn’t.

Hubby is convinced she pulled a muscle when she tripped coming up the stairs yesterday morning. I’m hoping that’s all it is.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on her today, and get her into the vet tomorrow if it’s still happening. In the meantime, any advice? Anyone know anything obvious that would cause this?

I’m a big worrier, so I’m trying not to assume that my dream was not some strange prescient warning about Bad Things To Come.

For the record, she’s a pug, about 5 years old, no health issues that we know of.

Sounds like it could be a back injury- I’d at least restrict her activity this week, and if it persists, then go to the vet.

Did she get scared or nervous after she tripped? If she’s getting partially up the stairs, I wonder if she isn’t just afraid to go any farther, especially since you speak of her sometimes needing encouragement to try a jump. It’s good that you’re taking her to the vet just in case, though. Hopefully it’ll be nothing.

She didn’t get at all scared or nervous when she tripped. She didn’t whine or yelp, and honestly if it hadn’t been for the dream I probably wouldn’t have even remembered it. Pugs are not the most graceful of critters, a little trip here & there is not a big deal.

She did make it up the stairs once today, but she’s balked a few times as well. I’ve been carrying her up as I go, just to avoid any strain.

And like I said, other than that, she seems fine. Runs down the stairs to get scrambled eggs when she hears them cooking, follows me around the house like she always does.

Truly weird. I wish the vet were open today. (He does have an emergency 24 hour number, but even me-the-overprotective-doggy-Mom can’t see this as an emergency.)

How’s the pup this evening?


Two thoughts from personal experience with our dogs.

Mac, our Scottie, somehow tore a tendon in his back leg–would be comparable to human tearing ACL. Slight limp on flat ground, but could not handle stairs (not like he could figure them out most of the time anyway–no trip to Stockholm in his future). Went in for surgery and some physical therapy, and is just fine, except the bad leg sticks out a little to the side when he sits.

Our collie, Toshi ( got as giveaway, had already been named, decided to keep name she already knew, but never was able to find out what it ment). Having same issues with stairs or high places, took to doggie doctor, only to find she had bone cancer that was spreading to her lungs–1 year of terrible painful treatments at best, 6 months in reality. Would have killed self in her place, but gave her final friend.
Don’t mean to scare you, or make you worry more than you already are, but it would have been easier for me to know what could have been wrong beforehand, rather than finding out for the first time in Vet’s office and having to make decision right then. Don’t know if you feel that way as well, and if not, I am sorry beyond words to have made a terrible situation worse for you.
Best wishes and all my prayers. Will be thinking of you and pup with both love and hope in my heart. Please take care.

She’s a lot better today. Perhaps not as quick as she typically is going up the stairs, but she made it on her own a few times already.

Going to continue to keep an eye on her, but so far it seems this is more in the realm of “pulled muscle” than “cancer.”