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My Dog Can't Jump on the Bed Suddenly: Why?

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If from one day to the next, your dog suddenly can’t jump on the bed, you may have some cause for concern. A sudden reluctance to jump up is usually caused by some sort of pain, and many times, the culprit is spinal pain. In fact, jumping on and off furniture can be a cause of disc injuries in predisposed dogs, and it can certainly exacerbate disc degeneration in older dogs. 

small dog jumps off couch

Spinal Pain May Explain Why Your Dog Can’t Jump on the Bed Suddenly

Dogs can experience spinal pain for numerous reasons including orthopedic issues, infectious or inflammatory disease, tumors, and a host of neurological conditions. However, the most common spinal cord disorder seen in dogs is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).

What is IVDD?

The bones of the spine are connected by sponge-like intervertebral discs that also protect the spine by acting as shock absorbers. When these discs become injured or begin to degenerate with age, they can bulge or even rupture, compressing the spinal cord. Compression of the spinal cord causes mild to severe pain and may explain why your dog can’t jump on the bed suddenly.

You may have heard IVDD referred to as a:

  • Slipped disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Herniated disc
  • Ruptured disc


Dogs with short legs and disproportionately long backs are predisposed to disc calcification. This can lead to a sudden onset of intervertebral disc disease in a relatively young dog, resulting in spinal cord compression and pain. 

This type of acute IVDD most commonly affects:

Older dogs, on the other hand - especially larger breeds - are more prone to a gradual onset of intervertebral disc degeneration with age. 

This type of slowly progressive IVDD most commonly affects:

  • German shepherds
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Golden retrievers

It is important to note that although intervertebral disc disease is more common in certain breeds and/or at certain ages, disc problems can occur in any dog at any time. This is partly because lifestyle factors can also put dogs at risk. Any high-impact activity or trauma, whether it’s repeated jumping on and off the bed or a traffic accident, can lead to injury or further degeneration of intervertebral discs, resulting in spinal cord compression and pain. 


In order to diagnose whether or not IVDD is the reason your dog suddenly can't jump on the bed, a veterinary neurologist must first rule out other conditions with physical and neurological examinations. If a spinal problem is suspected, MRI will be recommended for an accurate diagnosis, as there are several neurological conditions that can cause spinal pain. MRI is not only the best way to confirm that a dog has IVDD, but also to understand its severity.


Depending on the severity of spinal cord compression, a intervertebral disc disease will be treated either medically or surgically. First-time sufferers with mild symptoms may be treated with crate rest and medication. Surgical intervention may be necessary if your dog does not respond to medical management, continues to have episodes of spinal pain, or is experiencing more severe symptoms.


Some things you can do at home to prevent a disc injury, slow disc degeneration, and manage IVDD are:

  • Help your dog maintain a healthy weight
  • Walk your dog with a harness instead of a collar
  • Don’t allow your dog to jump on and off furniture
  • Limit high-impact activities
  • Avoid playing tug-of-war

Nevertheless, the best thing you can do is seek professional veterinary care as soon as symptoms appear.

dog can't jump on bed suddenly so visits veterinary neurologist

Signs That Spinal Pain Is Why Your Dog Can’t Jump on the Bed Suddenly 

Dogs are pretty good at hiding pain, but if your dog can’t jump on the bed suddenly, this may be an early indicator of spinal pain. 

Other signs your dog is experiencing spinal pain may include:

  • Reluctance to lift the head or move
  • Arching the back
  • Yelping, whining, or panting
  • Weakness, lameness, or paralysis of the limbs

If you notice any combination of these signs, we suggest that you confine your dog to crate rest until you can seek professional help. If your dog loses the ability to move its legs, please don’t wait another minute to contact a veterinary neurologist, as each hour is critical to recovery. That’s why Southeast Veterinary Neurology (SEVN) is open for emergencies 365 days a year.

If Your Dog Can’t Jump on the Bed Suddenly, SEVN Can Help

If your dog suddenly can’t jump on the bed, contact a SEVN location in Miami, Boynton Beach, Jupiter, or Virginia Beach for advice today. At Southeast Veterinary Neurology, we understand the importance of timely diagnosis and treatment when it comes to spinal pain in your dog. The earlier problems such as intervertebral disc disease are diagnosed and treated, the better the chances are of your dog making a full recovery.

a neurological exam being performed because dog can't jump on bed suddenly

It is important to note that, even if your dog has made a full recovery, we do not recommend continuing to allow your dog to jump on the bed after being diagnosed with a disc problem. 


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