Why is my dog limping? Reasons & How You Can Help

Limping is a common sign of pain. Our Bartlett vets explain some of the causes of limping, what you can do to help your dog, and when to seek care from your vet.


Dogs, like people, can suffer from an array of health issues that lead to limping. Unfortunately for dogs, however, they aren't able to tell us what happened. As a concerned pet owner, that means you'll be left to figure out how to comfort your dog and the best way to help them.

SOME COMMON REASONS FOR LIMPING

  • Something painful stuck in their paw
  • Insect bite or sting
  • Strains or tears (ligaments, tendons, muscles)
  • Trauma, such as broken bones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Infectious diseases, such as Lyme
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Vascular conditions

IS IT AN EMERGENCY?

The following situations require emergency care for your dog. If it is after-hours, contact your nearest emergency veterinarian clinic for care.

  • A broken limb (will be at an irregular angle)
  • A dangling limb (this indicates dislocation)
  • Any moderate to severe swelling
  • Limbs that feel hot to the touch
  • Limping in combination with a fever

WHAT YOU CAN DO

When you first notice any limping, try to rest your dog as best you can. You'll need to limit mobility, as any further strain can cause a more serious injury. Exercise should be put on hold until your dog has healed, and you should leash your pet to walk them outside for bathroom breaks as they may try to run if let out into the yard.

Alternating between heat and ice packs might reduce swelling and discomfort. Consult with your vet's office for recommendations on which to apply and when.

Check for bleeding. This will usually provide insight into whether your dog has suffered an injury, puncture, or bite.

In general, if the limp isn't severe, you can observe your dog's progress at home over 24-48 hours. In most cases, it's better to be safe than sorry, and scheduling an appointment with your vet may help both you and your dog to feel better. If the limp isn't resolving, is becoming worse, or is accompanied with whining or yelping, it's time to call your vet.

Ultimately, your veterinarian is best equipped to determine the cause and severity of your dog's pain. A thorough examination may include blood work, tick testing, and x-rays. Your dog's breed, history, age, and general health will be considered in the diagnosis, as well as the prescribed treatment plan.

Remember to never give any medication to your pets without consulting your vet first. Your vet will recommend any treatments you can do at home and will prescribe proper medication and dosage information for pain relief.

If your dog is in pain from limping, please contact our Bartlett veterinary clinic today to book an appointment.

Why is my dog limping? Memphis Vet

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