Dog Cant Lift Head

If your dog cant lift head, the reason can be anything from neck pain to a spinal tumor. Read on to understand the reasons and what you can do about it.

Dogs are beloved pets, and their owners usually cannot stand seeing their furry friends in pain. Unfortunately, just like any other living being on the planet, dogs often get sick or develop painful conditions and need medical assistance. 

The good thing is that your pup exhibits some universal symptoms for you to pick up and check whether he is dealing with some condition. If your dog can’t lift its head for several days, it is perhaps a sign to check its ears, nose, and spinal cord, since these three places are usually why your dog cannot lift their heads. 

Dog Cant Lift Head

If you can relate to this habit of your dog, then this article will be helpful for you. We would recommend you get the help your little friend requires immediately because in any case it certainly is in pain and needs medical assistance. 

Dog Can’t Lift Head

If your dog cannot lift its head up or sideways, you should worry. The reasons related to this issue can be many – neck pain, spinal trauma or other issues, nose problems, sinusitis, etc. 

Bulging Discs

Some neck problems are caused by the bulging of discs between vertebrae, which compresses the nerves and other tissues of the entire nervous system. The good thing is that the bulging of discs is entirely treatable and provides instant relief to your furry friend. 

However, if it remains untreated; there are chances of the compression of nerves getting worse, sometimes, to the point that they lose their ability to send and receive messages, thus, causing numbness and reduced motor control in the muscles. 

Meningitis and Encaphalitis

Even though bulging of discs is one of the most common causes of neck pains and one’s inability to lift their heads, as a dog owner, you must also be acquainted with problems like meningitis, encephalitis, lumbosacral stenosis, and in extreme cases, spinal tumor, that can be the reason of your dog’s problem, if it cannot lift its head for a long time. You aren’t doing anything about it. 

In most cases, however, if your dog doesn’t lift its head, the reason can be mostly nose-related or spine-related, and not a dangerous one, especially if your dog is young and active. It also depends on the breed of the dog since Pug and Maltese are pretty prone to have problems like meningitis and encephalitis at any age

Dog Cant Lift Head


Suppose you are wondering about the treatment related to your dog’s symptoms. In that case, it usually includes 2-3 weeks of a program that includes exercises, anti-inflammatory medicines, and pain medicines. 

If you do not notice any improvement in your dog’s ability to lift its head, we think you should again consult your vet, who has been treating you for the problem. 

The last stand to treat your dog would be surgery, and once that’s done, we are optimistic that your dog will be free from the pain and stiffness of the neck and will be able to lift its head and live a happy life. 

Dog Shakes Head When Barking

Again, it is normal for your dog to shake its head when barking, even if it does it frequently! The causes behind your dog shaking its head when barking can be many – from trying to remove a foreign object from its fur to ear infection to a neurological problem – it is best to consult your veterinarian to get to the root of the cause. 

If your dog shakes its head frequently, and you think that it’s not to its usual behavior, the first thing to do is to immediately make them feel that you are attentive towards them. Often, dogs bark with head-shaking if they feel threatened by their surroundings and cannot pick up their owner’s energy. 

However, the dog also shakes its head when barking when thinking of exciting emotions. So, it might also be the reason why it shakes its Head so much – because it is a happy dog! Again, if this isn’t the expected behavior of your dog, then any of the following reasons might explain the head is shaking and barking.

Dog Cant Lift Head

Presence of foreign objects 

It can be anything from mites, bug bites, ticks, grass seed, or any other tiny object usually almost invisible to the human eye. Unlike humans, dogs’ outer ear canal is vertical. 

Thus, it is pretty easy for a foreign object to slide into the ear canal and get stuck somewhere between the vertical and horizontal joints. Therefore, if you see your dog shaking its Head more than it usually does, well, the best thing to do is get them to your vet and let him do the job. 

Too much ear wax 

If your dog is shaking its head while barking, then it can also be due to the accumulation of too much ear wax. So, check its ears, and if you see a yellowish build-up, that’s probably wax, and your trip to the vet is due. 

Aural Hematoma 

Aural Hematoma is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the ear flap and is developed mainly in breeds with floppy ears, such as Dachshunds, Scottish terriers, Greyhounds, German Shepherds – you get the idea, right?

When the dog’s blood vessels get inflamed, irritated, or itched a lot, a pea-size (maybe more significant) bubble appears on its flap. The dog feels weird near the ears and thus, shakes its head more, especially during barking. 

Dog Cant Lift Head

Ear infection

Ear infections in dogs are usually caused by bacteria or yeast, but you shouldn’t just rely on these two since there can be several other infections that your vet will be able to explain better. 

However, head-shaking when barking or otherwise isn’t the only sign of an ear infection. It can be redness, itchiness, discharge, swelling, scratching, losing balance, etc., that direct that your pup might be suffering from an ear infection. It is a suggestion that instead of medicating the puppy by yourself, take it to a vet immediately and reduce its pain. 

Balance issues 

Some dogs tend to shake their heads due to balance issues that can erupt from certain neurological conditions, such as stroke, ear trauma, or vestibular disease. The inner ear is responsible for balancing and spatial orientation in dogs and humans. 

When the vestibule system of the ear is damaged, it can lead to dizziness, vertigo, trouble standing, and disorientation. Thus, your dog shakes its head while barking because it feels uncomfortable with it. 

Dog Cant Lift Head

A Few Final Word

As the article suggests, there are several reasons for your dog’s inability to lift its head, and only a good vet can tell you the real reason behind it. It could be due to a sprained muscle, a pinched nerve, or something serious. 

The bottom line is that if your dog isn’t able to lift its head, it is in pain and thus, needs quick medical assistance. At the same time, most dogs feel better after taking medicines and require treatment to feel better and can successfully lift their heads after a few days of rest. If the problem persists, continue feeding them the medication and consult your vet for their advice and guidelines. 

We thank you for reading the article and hope that we have been able to answer most of your queries. If there are others that you would like us to address, please put them down in the comments section.

We have also written about common dog peculiarities such as Why Do Dogs Lick Their Balls?, and Can Dogs Get Sexually Attracted To Humans? Do read these articles and learn more about your funny friend!