Dog Yelping When Getting Up? – Here’s Why

For a dog parent, there is nothing scarier than watching your dog yelp. And when a dog yelps while getting up out of nowhere, things are even more confusing. 

So, dog parents often wonder, why is my dog yelping when getting up? Yelping is always a red flag for pain in discomfort. Basically, a dog can be yelping when getting up for four main reasons – muscle and joint issues, painful infections (for example of the middle ear), cramps, and sudden scare or anxiety. Although these are all possible reasons for a dog’s yelping when getting up, the most common yelping trigger is arthritis. Arthritis is a painful inflammation of the joints. 

Suppose your dog is yelping when getting up. In that case, you need to be observant and notice as many details as possible about the situation. If the yelping was a one-time thing, cramps and anxiety are the more probable culprits. However, if getting up is frequently accompanied by yelping, your dog probably has an underlying medical issue that warrants further investigation.


dog yelping all of the sudden

As mentioned, a dog yelping all of a sudden is always a sign of pain, discomfort, or scare. Here are the most common reasons why a dog may start yelping all of a sudden. 

Joint and muscle problems

Joint and muscle problems are quite common in dogs. Arthritis is a painful inflammation of the joints that develops due to reasons that can be classified as:

  • Developmental 
  • Degenerative. 

Developmental refers to hereditary malformations of the joints. Different joint issues are prevalent among different breeds. Degenerative refers to the natural wear and tear that develop with old age and infectious diseases targeting the joints. 

A dog with arthritis will show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Trouble getting up or lying down
  • Inability to climb stairs and jump on beds
  • Limping or lameness 
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight gain. 

Just like people, dogs can get sore muscles if they are overly active. They can also experience sprains and strains. These conditions are usually self-limiting, meaning they resolve on their own without treatment. 

However, until fully resolved, they are painful and likely to cause yelping upon getting up, laying down, or simply walking.

Infections or inflammations

Certain infections, mainly if located in a painful area, can make your dog yelp when getting up. For example, middle and inner ear inflammations are extremely painful. 

A dog with middle or inner ear inflammation will experience pain when making sudden movements – getting up, jumping, or running. In fact, in severe cases, even petting the dog on its head can be painful. 

Middle and inner ear infections start with mild infection of the outer ear due to debris and moisture accumulation. If left unattended, the inflammation spreads. Sometimes the inflammation can be triggered by food allergies or ear parasites.


When it comes to cramps, dogs are not significantly different than people. Muscle spasms or cramps occur as a result of:

  • Overexertion
  • Dehydration 
  • Staying in the same position for an extended time 
  • Muscle strain or sprain. 

A dog with cramps will show signs like:

  • Tremors
  • Twitching
  • Limps
  • temporary inability to stretch or flex the legs
  • Yelping upon getting up.

Cramps are a self-limiting and being issue. However, their frequent manifestation can indicate a more severe underlying issue. 


Sudden stress or anxiety surges can make your dog get up and yelp at the same time. The stress trigger is not always visible to us, but our dogs are more sensitive and perceptive of the environment. 

A dog with separation anxiety may yelp while getting up if it realized it is being left alone. A dog that feels nervous in the presence of strangers may yelp while getting up when guests come over. 

Dealing with this situation requires identifying the stress trigger. This is often easier said than done and requires hiring a dog behaviorist.


dog scream in pain getting up

If your dog randomly screams in pain it means it is experiencing pain during particular movements or body positions. It is important to evaluate the overall situation and then schedule an appointment with your vet. 

Here are several reasons why your dog may be randomly screaming in pain.

Syringomyelia (SM)

Syringomyelia is a condition in which the skull and brain do not grow at the same pace. Namely, the skull is too small for the brain resulting in neck and head pain.

A dog with syringomyelia is likely to feel pain when:

  • Excited or scared
  • Weather extremes and weather changes
  • Standing in specific positions. 

The condition manifests with:

  • Sudden yelping
  • Phantom scratching
  • Weak limbs
  • Reluctance to jump or climb. 

The condition is common among certain breeds, including:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • Maltese
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Pug
  • Chihuahua
  • Brussels Griffon. 

The treatment is complex and requires combining different approaches, including medications, surgery, and physical therapy. 


A seizure is an abnormal brain activity accompanied by temporary loss of control over the body, which results in:

  • Stiffening 
  • Convulsions 
  • Unusual vocalization.

Seizures in dogs can be caused by:

  • Epilepsy 
  • Tumors
  • Metabolic diseases. 

Canine cognitive dysfunction (CDS)

This is the canine equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease in people. CDS is the reason why old dogs act strange. Simply put, a dog with CDS may randomly scream due to confusion. 

Insect bites and stings

Insect bites and stings can be a really painful experience. The exact manifestation depends on the insect’s type, but in general, a stung or bitten dog will experience:

  • Lump
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness
  • Small puncture wound. 

Insect bites and stings are a potentially life-threatening problem. In sensitive dogs, they can trigger an allergic reaction – anaphylactic shock that impairs the breathing and requires immediate veterinary attention. 

Bad dreams

Just like people, dogs can have nightmares. Dogs follow a polyphasic sleeping pattern consisting of two phases:

  • Light sleep
  • Deep sleep or REM (rapid eye movement). 

During the REM phase of sleep, dogs can dream. While good dreams are accompanied by tail wagging, bad dreams can be accompanied by screaming. 

Other causes

As already explained, other causes of sudden screaming in pain include:

  • Arthritis
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Middle and inner ear inflammations. 


dog yelping when jumping up

Basically, any medical issue that causes hindquarters pain can result in yelping when jumping up. In more severe cases, the dog may even refuse to jump completely. 

Common reasons for yelping when jumping up include:

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Spinal arthritis
  • Muscle issues
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Impacted anal glands. 


The most common reason for yelping and shaking when picked up is spinal arthritis. Spinal arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis, but it affects the vertebrae. 

Spinal arthritis is much more common in dogs than people because of the dog’s horizontal positioning of the spine. 

In addition to yelping and shaking, a dog with spinal arthritis can show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Intermittent limp
  • Different legs limping
  • Reluctance to move or be physically active
  • Lethargy. 

Spinal arthritis can be managed with medications and physical therapy. More severe cases require surgical correction too. 


A dog that has trouble getting up and then walks fine is probably suffering from arthritis. We already explained what the arthritis diagnosis in dogs entails. 

In addition to arthritis, dogs can have trouble getting up but then walk fine for three more reasons. 

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the hip joints are malformed. It is prevalent among certain large and giant-sized dogs like:

  • Saint Bernards
  • Mastiffs
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Great Danes. 

Hip dysplasia is a painful and debilitating condition. It affects the dog’s quality of life and impairs its mobility. The condition becomes apparent while the dog is still a young puppy. There are surgical correction methods as well as conventional treatments that include pain medications and physical therapy. 

Back leg weakness

Back leg weakness or inherited degenerative myelopathy disease is a progressive condition in which the spinal cord’s protective layer gets damaged resulting in nerve fiber exposure and can even culminate in paralysis.

A dog with back leg weakness will manifest these signs:

  • Lack of coordination and balance
  • LamenessStaggering gait
  • Exercise reluctance
  • Incontinence 
  • Weight gain 
  • Loss of muscle mass.

Back leg weakness can be treated surgically. Post-surgery, dogs with this condition need extensive physical therapy. 

Overgrown nails

It may seem unusual, but overgrown nails can be more troublesome than it looks. Overgrown nails can influence the dog’s gait and posture and cause trouble while getting up, laying down, or simply walking. 

Plus, when nails overgrow, the quick overgrows, increasing the risk of cutting the quick while trimming and causing pain.


dog yelps touched on side

If a dog yelps when touched on side it can be due to:

  • Pain – some painful conditions like arthritis result in generalized pain (touching all parts of the body trigger pain, not just the actual sources – the joints)
  • Strong emotions – excitement, fear, anxiety, and even boredom can make a dog yelp when touched. 


A dog that yelps when sitting down is suffering from:

  • Spinal arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Muscle strain, sprain, or cramps. 


If your dog is yelping while getting up, the most probable scenario is it has some form of arthritis. Arthritis is one of the most common issues in dogs. In fact, almost every dog will experience some form of arthritis at a certain point in its life. 

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to arthritis, while others are predisposed to orthopedic issues that are risk factors for arthritis. Finally, the natural wearing and tearing of the joints can occur in any aging dog. 

Arthritis is a slowly but continuously progressing condition. Once the arthritis changes start occurring, they cannot be reversed. Therefore, arthritis cannot be treated – only managed. Luckily, there are ways of ensuring happy and pain-free life even for your arthritic dog.


Why is my dog having trouble getting up?

Suppose your dog is having trouble getting up. In that case, chances are it has arthritis or some other form of an orthopedic issue – hip or elbow dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tearing, or muscle strain, sprain, or soreness. 

What can I give my dog for pain?

You should never self-treat your dog. The only pain killer safe for dogs is the one prescribed by your vet. Many popular pain killers formulated for humans can be toxic to dogs, especially in the wrong doses.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!