Why Is My Puppy Acting Drunk and Wobbly?

If your child is acting drunk and wobbly, they have probably been spinning in the yard or the office chair. But if your dog exhibits the same behavior, there is a slim chance of it being a result of spinning. If that is the case, then there is nothing to worry about.

However, this is not normal under most circumstances. You should schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible.

Loss of balance

Unless your dog has been drinking beer without your knowledge, they may be suffering from a critical clinical problem. If your dog is suddenly losing balance, they are experiencing disequilibrium, which is an indication of issues involving the nervous system.

Do not procrastinate to get help

Certain conditions can wait out a few days before getting medical help. However, if the situation involves the nervous system, you should never try to self-medicate or wait out. It will deteriorate the situation. Ask your vet for directions if you can’t go to their office immediately.

Distinguish the problem

Your dog may have a problem with locomotion, but it is imperative you establish the main reason behind it. You should be able to tell the difference between difficulty in walking and loss of balance. It may prove hard to tell the difference, especially if you do not know what you are looking for.

Walking difficulties can result from either orthopedic or neurologic problems.

It could be a muscle problem or nerve dysfunction. Difficulty in movement will associate with incomplete and slow movements. Loss of balances has accompanying signs such as uncontrollable eye movement, vomiting, head tilt, or attempts to walk in circles.

Take caution

Once you establish that your dog is experiencing balance problems, take measures to keep them safe. Ensure that your dog stays away from sharp corners of objects around the house or on top of surfaces. Also, keep them away from the stairs and the pool.

Look for tell-tales

There is a probable chance that your dog has ingested poison, so look around for signs of what they might have taken in. It could be debris, containers, wrappers, or vomit. It may prove harder if you are in a public environment, so take your dog to a temperature-control area.

Call your vet immediately and describe the dog’s symptoms with as much detail as possible. If your dog loses balance due to poisoning, your vet will rid it from the body, flush the body system with fluids and prescribe appropriate medication.

Vestibular disease

Commonly known as “old dog Syndrome,” vestibular disease is a non-life-threatening disorder. As the name suggests, it is more prevalent in older dogs.

The vestibular system is responsible for spatial orientation, balance, and motion, so basically it is vertigo. There are cases where vertigo is mistaken for more serious diseases such as strokes and brain tumors.

Peripheral vestibular diseases are more prevalent, but there are rare cases of central vestibular disease, CVD. Central vestibular disease may be life-threatening, and it could be an indication of cancer or brain hemorrhage.

Vestibular disease is not fatal, and most vets will say it disappears in a couple of weeks. If the dog is nauseous from the dizziness, your vet may prescribe anti-nausea medication.
It could be an ear infection.

Like in human beings, ear infections may be the reason for losing balance. If your dog has an ear infection, their balance will be thrown off, and they will start walking around like a drunken individual. In such cases, you will notice that your dog will paw at the ear, shake their head, and avoid chewing.

If your dog can’t feed because of the pain, you must consult with a vet to prevent dehydration issues. Most times, medication will help clear the infection, but some vets will take further tests. If an infection goes without treatment, it may lead to life-threatening conditions such as meningitis.

Ear infection treatment may involve procedures such as anti-inflammatories, professional cleaning, antibiotics, topical medications, or surgery.

A dog stroke

A stroke is a critical health condition that may be causing wobbly behavior in your dog. Symptoms of a stroke in a dog include head tilting, falling, abnormal behavior, or walking without coordination. Strokes are prevalent in older dogs with other clinical conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Stroke treatment will depend on the cause, but your best step is to see a vet immediately. Strokes are not common in dogs, and vets can easily diagnose it as a stroke or a fainting spell.


If your dog incurs injuries that cause head trauma or damage to the inner ear, they may exhibit wobbly or drunk behavior. Dogs are experts at masking their pain, and it will take a lot of keen attention to identify if your dog is in pain.

If your canine is in pain, the signs will include reluctance to lie down, heavy panting, pupil dilation, slower reflexes, and anxiety. In addition, you may notice a drastic change in appetite and feeding habits, and they will lick or try to bite the wounded area.


Such a condition is a result of a process that results in the inflammation of the brain. There are many causes for this condition, such as fungal infections, tick-borne diseases, or parasites. Signs include depression and fever.

At the vet’s

It is crucial you take in your dog to the vet as fast as possible. You will have to answer a few questions, such as the history of your dog for the past couple of weeks, and when the symptoms began.

The vet will carry out neurological and physical examinations, and they may decide on baseline diagnostics. Such analysis will include checking blood pressure, urinalysis, complete blood count, serum biochemical profile, and the thyroid level.

An examination of the ear canal may be done, or removal of substances from the canal for further analysis.


While some disorientation may wear out on its own, there are situations that will require medical attention. All treatment procedures depend on the underlying issue, and you should consider follow up treatment.

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