One of the most common reasons our Los Angeles vets see dogs at our emergency animal hospital is for them to be limping. Our veterinarians discuss the causes of limping in dogs, what you can do to help your limping dog, and when it's time to see a vet in today's post.
Dogs, similar to humans, can experience various problems that lead to limping. However, unlike humans, dogs can't express what happened or how much pain they're in. This makes it your responsibility, as a loving pet owner, to identify the source of your dog's discomfort and find ways to provide assistance.
Why is my dog limping?
Your dog might be limping because of something minor, like a small stone stuck between their toes, or it could indicate a more significant health issue. Here are some common reasons why dogs limp:
- Something painful stuck in their paw
- Insect bite or sting
- Strains or tears (ligaments, tendons, muscles)
- Trauma, such as broken bones
- Infectious diseases, such as Lyme
- Vascular conditions
Should I take my limping dog to the vet?
While you don't always have to rush your limping dog to the vet, there are situations when you must. If your dog shows any of the following signs, it's crucial to consult your vet or a local emergency clinic.
- 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
Is there treatment for a limping dog?
Let your dog rest and limit their movement if you notice your dog limping. This avoids making the injury worse. Don't let them exercise until they've fully recovered. When taking them outside, use a leash to prevent them from running.
Examine your dog's paws for cuts or wounds. If you find anything, contact your vet for help.
If you suspect swelling is causing the limp, use heat and ice packs alternately to reduce discomfort. Get your vet's advice on the right products and usage.
Keep an eye out for bleeding, as it indicates an injury. This can help you understand the severity.
If the limp is mild, observe your dog's progress at home over 24-48 hours. Look for new symptoms or worsening of the limp.
It's wise to consult your vet. If the limp continues, worsens, or is accompanied by sounds of pain, reach out to your vet or an emergency vet.
Your vet will determine the cause and seriousness of your dog's pain. They might do in-house tests like blood work, x-rays, or tick testing. Your dog's history, breed, age, and health will be considered for the diagnosis and treatment.
Remember, taking timely action can help your furry friend recover faster.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.