Is there anything worse than seeing your dog in pain? Maybe you are out. Fido will be fine one minute and hobbling about the next. In this case, diagnosing the cause of a dog’s limp can sometimes be difficult.
“There can be many reasons a dog can limp,” says Dr. Michelle Burch, DVM, of Safe Hounds Pet Insurance.
Burch went into many of the reasons your dog might limp and what you can do about it.
Why is my dog limping?
When you see your dog limping, it is natural that you want to get to the bottom of the problem and find out why. Not all reasons are worrying, at least initially; others can be more serious. These are some common ones Burch saw:
- A foreign body. “It can be so simple that something is stuck in the paw, like a little thorn or some juice, and they don’t like the feel,” says Burch.
- A minor injury. “Most of the time it’s a soft tissue injury, a slight muscle strain or something twisted,” says Burch. “It’s like humans have twisted ankles. It hurts for a couple of days. Sometimes you need a little pain control. Then they return to normal. “
- A more serious injury B. a broken bone or a torn tendon or ligament.
- An infection. Burch says these infections could be external, such as on the skin, or internal.
- Tick bites. “They can cause inflammation,” says Burch.
- Burch says Bone or joint cancer, in particular, can cause the dog to limp.
- arthritis, to which many dogs become susceptible as they age.
What should I do if my dog is limping?
Not all cases of a dog’s limp will result in a veterinarian visit. Burch says the first step is to see if you can identify the cause.
“Check the leg and between the paws,” says Burch. “Look for signs of tree sap.”
If you see thorns or sap, try removing them. Burch also recommends looking for signs of swelling, cuts, and bruises. If you find this out, call the vet.
“If you don’t find anything suspicious, you can try resting it for a day or two,” says Burch. “Be a couch potato.”
What does strict rest mean? “No running, jumping or hitting the potty, just on a leash,” says Burch.
The line part is important, emphasizes Burch. “I’ve seen restricted-activity dogs go outside without a leash, see a squirrel, and cause more trauma,” she says.
Burch also recommends icing the leg the dog is limping on for five to ten minutes two to three times a day to reduce swelling and pain.
“I don’t recommend giving over-the-counter human pain relievers without talking to a veterinarian,” says Burch, adding that some drugs are toxic to dogs and others require precise dosages.
If the dog is not feeling better in 24 to 48 hours, call the vet to arrange an exam.
“If it doesn’t clear up by itself, you need to find out why.”