Health Topics  >  Musculoskeletal  > Collapse or Fainting

What does collapse or fainting look like in dogs?

Witnessing a dog collapse or faint can be a frightening sight. They suddenly seem to lose all their strength and may be unable to get up. 

In some cases, dogs can be behaving totally normally before dropping to the ground seemingly out of nowhere. More commonly, at least in hindsight, there have been other signs leading up to the collapse itself, like staggering, falling, weakness or even vomiting.

Collapse can present very differently, but all cases require veterinary attention.

Depending on the cause, some dogs may collapse and be found completely unconscious or even not breathing. Others may be collapsed and acting ‘out of it’ but still conscious. 

Some dogs will collapse and begin to show signs of seizure activity, while others will still be mentally alert and responsive. Some dogs collapse just onto their hind end into a sitting position. Some will appear painful and yelp or cry out. The wide variety of presentations reflects the many possible causes for collapse in dogs. 

All cases of collapse are serious. All require veterinary attention. The good news is, with prompt treatment and diagnostics, many of these dogs can pull through.