How to Feed a Dog with Vestibular Disease?

How to Feed a Dog with Vestibular Disease

Being a dog owner, you might be aware of the fact that it is difficult for your furry friend to eat food when they suffer from vestibular disease.

How to Feed a Dog with Vestibular Disease? – Dogs suffering from vestibular disease lose the balance over their body posture because of which they face difficulties while eating food,

Caring for Your Dog with Vestibular Disease: Feeding Tips

Vestibular disease in dogs presents a challenge, especially during mealtimes. Here’s a guide for feeding your dog with vestibular disease, focusing on comfort and support:

Understanding Vestibular Disease

  • Disrupts Balance: Affects the inner ear and brain, impacting a dog’s sense of balance and equilibrium.
  • Symptoms: Head tilt, unsteady gait, nausea, difficulty standing, involuntary eye movement (nystagmus).
  • Causes: Often unknown, but can be due to ear infections, hypothyroidism, medication side effects, or trauma.

When feeding a dog with vestibular disease, consider the following tips:

  1. Elevated feeding position: Raise your dog’s food and water bowls to a comfortable height, reducing the need for them to lower their head and maintain balance.
  2. Smaller, more frequent meals: Offer smaller meals throughout the day to prevent overeating and minimize digestive discomfort.
  3. Soft or moist food: Provide soft or moist food options to make eating easier for your dog.
  4. Hand-feeding or assistive devices: If necessary, hand-feed your dog or use assistive feeding devices, such as syringe or spoon feeding, to ensure they receive adequate nutrition.
  5. Adequate hydration: Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times, considering a water bowl that is easy to reach.
  6. Consult a veterinarian: Seek guidance from a veterinarian who can provide specific dietary recommendations based on your dog’s condition.

Additional Considerations

  • Patience and Love: Mealtimes may be slow and messy at first. Remain patient and understanding with your companion.
  • Non-Slip Surfaces: Place food and water on yoga mats or rubber-backed rugs to provide traction and prevent slipping.
  • Veterinary Consultation: Your vet is your best resource. They can offer specific dietary advice and monitor your dog’s progress.

Key Takeaways

  • Feeding a dog with vestibular disease requires adjustments to ensure they eat enough for recovery.
  • Focus on making the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
  • Consult your veterinarian for personalized guidance and support.

Remember: With your love and attention, your dog can manage vestibular disease and regain their appetite over time.

What is a Vestibular Disease in Dogs?

Vestibular disease in dogs is a type of nonprogressive disturbance in the balance of the dog’s body. This disease affects the dog’s ear and brain’s inner sensory membrane and interrupts the whole system that maintains the balance of the dog’s body posture.

As per the research done by the cynologists on the behavior of dogs suffering from vestibular disease, the dog who suffers from this disease often loses the capability to sense the position of their body,

when they are standing in a steady position, they feel like they are rolling, falling, or leaning due to which they feel like having a roller coaster ride and don’t get able to stay steady in a position.

In this situation, a visit to the veterinarian is significant. There are no tips and tricks available by which a dog owner can treat their dog’s vestibular disease at home.

What are the Factors Associated with Vestibular Disease in Dogs?

As per research, vestibular disease falls under the category of idiopathic, which means that the exact cause behind the cause of this disease is still unknown.

Older dogs get affected by this disease more. The factors that are seen to be related to the cause of the vestibular disease are ear infection, perforated eardrum, hypothyroidism, severe trauma, or a side effect of antibiotics.

What are the Symptoms of Vestibular Disease in Dogs?

It is crucial for a dog owner to know the bodily reactions that a dog’s body gives against vestibular disease to detect the disease and to take the necessary precautions as soon as possible. A dog’s body’s symptoms while suffering from the vestibular disease are discussed below.

Leaning to One Side

The entire vestibular system of the dog’s body gets interrupted due to the disease, because of which they always feel like having a roller coaster ride. So to avoid falling, the dog keeps on leaning to one side.

Head Tilt

The vestibular apparatus is specially responsible for maintaining the spatial orientation of the head. In this disease, the vestibular apparatus of the dog’s body gets affected, due to which the canine friend keeps on tilting his head.


Just like humans get a tendency to vomit while being on a roller coaster ride, the same as in the case of dogs. Dogs get a propensity to vomit every time they suffer from disease due to the roller coaster-like feeling.


The cause of nystagmus in dogs is also the same as head tilt in dogs. This is because, along with the head, the spatial orientation of the eyes also gets affected due to the effect on the vertebral system.

Wide-Legged Stance

Dogs often think they might fall down abruptly while suffering from this disease. This is why they maintain a wide-legged stance to prevent themselves from falling.

All the above symptoms are based on research done by cynologists on the behavior of dogs suffering from vestibular disease. So a dog owner can entirely rely upon these factors mentioned above to detect vestibular disease in dogs.

What is the Most Difficult Time a Dog Faces During this Disease?

The vestibular disease causes the dog to lose balance over its body. Dealing with the loss of balance is not a big deal during other times like the resting period and potty time as the owner stays with the dog during the potty time, and during rest, the dog keeps the eye close to avoid that scary feeling.

But we all know that food is the ultimate requirement of a living being. The eating time was the most challenging moment a dog suffering from vestibular disease faces.

The pet isn’t able to maintain a steady position while eating, which causes severe discomfort and makes the pet extremely upset.

This was the time the owner should put effort into making the pet eat food comfortably by following specific steps.

How to Feed a Dog with Vestibular Disease?

It’s not an easy process to make a dog feel comfortable while eating due to the severe discomforts caused by the disease affecting the vestibular system.

The dog owner has to follow some valuable tips and tricks to comfort the canine friend with the utmost care, which are discussed below.

Give Support to the Back

If you are an owner of a dog suffering from vestibular disease, you might have come to the point where your dog gets a bit of relaxation after getting support behind its back and pelvis.

To make your canine friend eat comfortably, all you can do is provide support to the back and the pelvis region when he is lying down using a wall or any other solid surface.

The support of the wall behind the back will make the pet less likely to fall abruptly and be able to eat a few bites.

Make the Meals More Tempting

Making the meals more tempting is an excellent option to go with during this crucial stage of your dog’s life.

You have to add some extra gravies or kibbles or any of your dog’s favorite food to its diet. In this case, it will work wonders as by seeing the famous food, the dog will get some encouragement to try even more for eating the food.

A dog owner should strictly avoid giving food that is difficult to eat, like the chewy ones or the canned food, as this can cause even more difficulty for the canine friend while consuming. Easy-to-grab food like meatballs is preferred during this condition.

Use Elevated Bowl

When the dog gets the proper treatment for this disease and goes through the recovery process, the canine friend often tries to stay straight in a position while eating.

The use of an elevated bowl can be really helpful in this stage, as when the dog will be trying by himself to stand straight to get access to the food.

In this case, if you elevate the bowl a little, this will be a source of joy to the pet, and the canine friend will develop even more confidence to proceed further in the process of recovery and will again begin to eat food regularly.

For elevating the bowl, all you can do is hold it a little above the ground with your hand or just put the bowl on a stool or a table to place it at a certain height from the ground.

Give a Good Source of Traction to the Pet

The use of towels, blankets, or carpets on the ground can make the surface a bit slippery for the dog. The use of these things over the floor can cause a tripping hazard for the pet as they get slipped under the feet of the canine friend.

The use of yoga mats or rubber-backed rugs can be an excellent choice to go with, as the non-smooth surface of the yoga mats will reduce the frictional force between the paws of the dog and the ground.

So the use of a yoga mat or rubber-backed rug while feeding the dog can be really helpful to make your dog stay steady and still while eating and can also develop the interest of the suffering dog in eating.

Almost all dog owners follow all the above-discussed steps to feed their dog who has been suffering from vestibular disease.

So if a dog owner is looking for actions regarding feeding a dog with vestibular disease, they can entirely rely upon the above-discussed steps.

So, here we are done with the entire article and have put all the information that can help you in completing your research regarding how to feed a dog with vestibular disease.

Don’t take much worries as your pup friend would get better soon. They just need your presence, that’s all.

We hope the article has helped you and has put your research to an end; thanks for staying in the future with us.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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