The pet tends to hesitate when navigating stairs, jumping on or off objects or when walking in the dark. Hesitancy in cats or dogs can be a sign of injury, when they are for example hesitant when walking up stairs or jumping. In can also be a sign of fear, when your pet is for example hesitant to walk in the dark.


How to Recognize

If your pet hesitates before getting out of bed or jumping onto your couch, it can be a sign something is wrong.


Your veterinarian will give your pet a physical exam and look for things such as inflamed joints.

Possible Conditions

Arthritis is the most common reason a pet exhibits hesitancy. Arthritis affects dogs and cats much like it affects humans. It affects the joints and causes pain, especially in older pets. Hip dysplasia, injuries to the legs, luxating patellas, and various spinal disorders can also cause hesitancy in pets.


Pets with severe arthritis may need surgery and a total joint replacement. Other pets may simply need to change their diet to lose weight or take an anti-inflammatory.

Hesitancy Affects

  • Dogs
  • Cats

Similar Symptoms

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