a woman walking fast with her energetic dog

Restless Legs in Dogs

Last updated: August 2022

My kids are desperate for a dog. It's not happening! I might consider getting them one when they are old enough to take care of it in its entirety. So the next best thing is dog parks.

We have one very close to our house, so on weekends when the weather is really nice, we go for a walk at the park, and most dog owners are nice enough to let them play with their dogs. I get some exercise in, and they get to temporarily cure their dog fever.

I noticed a dog running uncontrollably

On one particular occasion recently, we went to the park and while the kids played with some dogs and a bunch of other kids, I sat at the park bench watching them. That's when it happened.

I saw this particular dog just running uncontrollably. This wasn't the first time I had seen this dog, but it never registered until that day. You could see that the poor owner was just tired and let him run around while she stood and watched. She assured the other worried parents and dog owners her dog wasn't a risk to them, their kids, or pets.

Canine restless legs syndrome

The bench I was sitting on was otherwise vacant, so she asked if she could sit next to me and I nodded. I asked if her dog was often this way, she said yes! She explained that he has anxiety and takes gabapentin! I was very shocked! I never knew gabapentin was prescribed for animals.

I jokingly asked if her dog also has restless legs syndrome (RLS). I genuinely was not expecting the answer I got, but she looked at me all serious and said, "How did you know? He has canine restless legs syndrome." 

I just smiled because I didn't know what to say at that point. I said goodbye, told my kids it was time to go home, and for the rest of that day, I couldn't stop thinking about Deevy.

Did my childhood dog have RLS?

As a child, we had a Rottweiler named Deevy. Deevy never stayed still. As a matter of fact, my mum called her the most restless dog she'd ever seen. She constantly moved around and was happiest when taking a walk. She moved her hind legs constantly and would bark so much at night.

When my RLS started manifesting at about age 6, my mum would constantly joke that I'd caught whatever it was Deevy had. So Deevy and I became 2 peas in a pod. Did Deevy have RLS? It wasn't a thought that had occurred to me until now.

Concidence or something more?

We had Deevy from when I was born till she passed away when I was 9. My brain can't help but look for a connection. Is it all a coincidence? I put this out in my RLS group chat, and quite a bunch of us who have had RLS from childhood also had dogs who looking back now, exhibited symptoms of RLS.

Is it all in our heads? I had no idea dogs could have RLS, something so deep that I am absolutely positive we haven't even begun to scratch the surface yet. Does anyone have a dog with RLS? I would really like to hear about it.

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