Can Dogs Get Dizzy?

Dog owners are always concerned about their pet’s health, and whether or not they’re getting the right nutrition, exercise, and care.

But what about things like dizziness? Can dogs get dizzy?

And if so, how do you know if your dog is just feeling a little lightheaded, or experiencing vertigo?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the possible causes of dizziness in dogs and what you can do if your dog starts feeling woozy. Keep reading to learn more!

But first…

What is Vertigo in Dogs?

Vertigo is a type of dizziness that’s caused by an imbalance in the inner ear. When the vestibular system (which controls balance and eye movement) isn’t working properly, your dog may start to feel unsteady on its feet and experience nausea or vomiting.

You may also notice that your dog’s eyes are darting back and forth, or that its head is tilted to one side.

If your dog is experiencing vertigo, it’s important to take it to the vet right away. Vertigo can be caused by several serious health conditions, including infections, tumors, and inner ear damage.

Vestibular Disease in Dogs

Vestibular disease is the most common cause of dizziness in dogs. It is a condition that affects the dog’s vestibular system, which controls their balance and eye movement.

doctor looking inside the dog's ear


Some possible causes of vestibular disease include:

  • Inner ear infections – Bacterial or viral infections can cause inflammation in the inner ear, which can lead to vestibular disease.
  • Tumors – Tumors in the brain or ear can cause vestibular disease.
  • Autoimmune disease – Conditions like lupus and cancer can cause the body to attack healthy tissue in the inner ear, leading to vestibular disease.
  • Age – Vestibular disease is more common in older dogs.
  • Ear mites – These tiny parasites can live in the dog’s ear and cause an infection.
  • Strokes – After a stroke, some dogs may experience vestibular disease due to damage to the vestibular system.


If your dog is showing signs of vestibular disease, your vet will likely perform a physical examination and take a detailed history. They may also recommend some diagnostic tests, including:

Blood work – To check for infections or other underlying conditions.

X-rays – To look for tumors or other abnormalities in the brain or ears.

CT scan or MRI – To get a more detailed look at the brain and inner ear.

Vestibular function testing – This test measures how well the vestibular system is working.


The treatment for the vestibular disease will depend on the underlying cause. 

For example, if the condition is caused by an infection, your dog will likely be treated with antibiotics. If the vestibular disease is caused by a tumor, your vet may recommend surgery to remove it.

In some cases, the vestibular disease may resolve on its own without any treatment. However, depending on the severity of the condition, your dog may need to be hospitalized for a few days to stabilize.

After the initial treatment, your vet may recommend some at-home care, such as:

Crate rest – This will help your dog avoid injury if it is unsteady on its feet.

Physical therapy – Exercises and massage can help improve your dog’s balance and coordination.

Medication – Your vet may prescribe medication to help with nausea or vomiting.

Dietary changes – A special diet may be recommended if your dog is having trouble eating due to nausea.


The prognosis for dogs with vestibular disease is generally good. Most dogs recover fully within a few weeks with proper treatment.

However, some dogs may experience long-term effects, such as head tilt, in-coordination, or hearing loss. In rare cases, the condition can be fatal if it’s not treated quickly.

Signs Your Dog Is Dizzy

If your dog suddenly seems unsteady on his or her feet, is walking in a circle, or appears to be disoriented, he or she may be experiencing dizziness.

Other signs that your dog is feeling dizzy include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

This is one of the most common signs that something is wrong and is often seen in conjunction with other symptoms.

sick dog throwing up
  • Loss of balance and coordination

If your dog is having trouble walking or standing, it may be because they are feeling dizzy. This is because the inner ear is responsible for both balance and coordination.

  • Eye problems

If your dog’s eyes are darting back and forth or they seem to be having trouble focusing, this could be a sign of dizziness.

  • Head tilt

One way to tell if your dog is feeling dizzy is to look for a head tilt. This is when your dog’s head is tilted to one side as if they are trying to compensate for the unsteadiness.

  • Lethargy and weakness

If your dog is feeling dizzy, he or she may be less active than usual and seem weak or tired.

  • Walking in circles

Another common sign of dizziness in dogs is when they walk in circles. This is often due to the loss of balance and coordination that comes with the condition.

  • Panting

If your dog is panting excessively, it could be because he or she is feeling dizzy and anxious. Panting can also be a sign of pain, so it’s important to pay attention to other symptoms your dog is experiencing.

  • Eyes darting back and forth

This is another common sign of dizziness, as your dog’s eyes may be darting back and forth in an attempt to focus.

Dogs can get dizzy for a variety of reasons, including ear infections, vestibular disease, head trauma, or even something as simple as motion sickness. If your dog is displaying any of the above symptoms, it’s important to take them to the vet for an examination.

While most cases of dizziness in dogs are not serious, some can be life-threatening. For example, vestibular disease is a condition that affects the inner ear and can cause permanent damage if not treated promptly.

Training Your Dog To Deal With Dizziness

If your dog is prone to dizziness, there are a few things you can do to help them cope.

First, make sure they have a comfortable place to rest when they feel dizzy. A soft bed or mat in a quiet room can help them relax and feel better. You may also want to feed them smaller meals more often since large meals can sometimes make dizziness worse.

If your dog is taking medication for another condition that may be causing their dizziness, talk to your vet about adjusting the dosage or switching to a different medication.

In some cases, physical therapy can help dogs with balance problems caused by dizziness.

Dizziness can be a frightening experience for your dog, but with some help and patience, they can learn to cope with it. If you have any concerns, be sure to talk to your vet.

Our Readers Favorite Questions

How Do Dogs Act When Dizzy?

Dogs may act dizzy by walking in circles, tilting their head to one side, or appearing disoriented. They may also vomit, have trouble standing or walking, and be less active than usual.

sleepy black and tan dog resting on the couch

Can Dogs Get Dizzy by Spinning?

Yes, dogs can get dizzy by spinning, as well as by other motions such as car rides or boats. This is because the inner ear is responsible for both balance and coordination.

What Does a Dizzy Dog Look Like?

A dizzy dog may have trouble walking or standing, appear disoriented, or tilt its head to one side. It may also have nystagmus, which is when the eyes make repetitive, rapid movements. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to take them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

What Causes Sudden Vertigo in Dogs?

There are many possible causes of sudden vertigo in dogs, including Ear infections, Inner ear disease, Brain tumors, Strokes, Trauma, and High blood pressure.


If your dog is displaying any signs of dizziness, it’s best to take them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. There are many potential causes of dizziness in dogs, some of which can be serious.

Signs to look for include trouble walking or standing, appearing disoriented, tilting head to one side, and eyes making repetitive or rapid movements (nystagmus).

A veterinarian will be able to help determine the cause of your dog’s dizziness and provide treatment if necessary.

In most cases, dizziness in dogs is not a serious condition and will resolve on its own with time. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have your dog checked out by a professional to be sure.

Does your dog ever get dizzy?

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

Leave a Comment