Should Dogs Lay With Their Legs Behind Them?

by Ruth de Jauregui Google
    While it looks uncomfortable, the frog leg position is favored by terriers.

    While it looks uncomfortable, the frog leg position is favored by terriers.

    George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Your hyperactive fox terrier has finally laid down for some rest, his eyes closed, head on his paws -- and his legs behind him like a furry frog on the carpet. It looks like an abnormal resting position for a dog. Save yourself a call to the veterinarian. Unless Charlie is in pain, the frog-leg position is perfectly normal.

    The Frog Position

    Many dogs lie with their legs extended behind them. Terriers, cocker spaniels and French bulldogs are known for lying in this position, although any dog may use it. However, if Charlie bunny-hops instead of using his legs in a normal walking or running motion, or appears to be in pain when walking or climbing onto the bed or limps, it may be a symptom of hip dysplasia. In hip dysplasia, the ball joint doesn't fit properly in the large hip socket. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. The veterinarian may recommend surgery or careful monitoring, supplements and pain medication. While any dog may suffer from hip dysplasia, it's usually found in larger breeds, including German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, standard poodles and rottweilers.

    Photo Credits

    • George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Ruth de Jauregui is the author of "The Soul of California—Cooking for the Holidays," "Ghost Towns" and "100 Medical Milestones That Shaped World History." A graphic artist and writer for more than 30 years, she maintains several blogs and is working on her first novels, a fantasy and a steamfunk alternate history.

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