Why does my dog stick his tail under his legs, shake and in pain when you touch his back? What should be the course of action?

Original Question: Hello, just wondering what is going on with my dog. He has been acting strange with his tail under his legs. He seems to be in pain and if you touch his back, he yelps. He started shaking since last night. Not sure what is wrong with him. - Kent

Why does my dog stick his tail under his legs, shake and in pain when you touch his back? What should be the course of action? May 24, 2018

Hi Kent,

Thanks for your question.

The short answer is I don’t know what’s wrong with him either. From your description, my best guess is that this is related to either pain or anxiety. As for pain, I’ve seen this type of behaviour in dogs that have back pain, tail pain, neck pain, etc. Anxiety will manifest as these behaviours and it could be a combination, such as sliding down the last 4-5 steps on a flight of hardwood stairs. This could traumatize an area but also scare him.

The best idea is to bring him to your veterinarian and they will perform an examination to find the source of any pain. If the answer isn’t obvious, they may consider some diagnostic testing. Keep in mind that internal reactions can cause general abdomen pain and that could bring on the symptoms as well. In short, the answer may not be simple and it may be hard to confirm.

Best of luck.

Dr. Greenway

Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

Related Q&A

  • Do you recommend a stool test for my dog who is on a raw food diet?
  • Answered by: Dennis Chmiel, DVM, MBA
  • Nov 25, 2020
  • Do small or large breed dogs have more problems with their teeth?
  • Answered by: Jeanne Perrone, MS, CVT, VTS (Dentistry)
  • Sep 5, 2020
  • How do dogs contract leptospirosis and how can it be prevented?
  • Answered by: Dr. Alex Avery, BVSc
  • Jun 21, 2019
  • What is the best diet to feed a dog?
  • Answered by: Dr. Alex Avery, BVSc
  • Jun 21, 2019