Identify your dog's injuries and treat limping

October 24, 2014

Read on to find out why your dog may be limping and how you can help treat the problem.

Identify your dog's injuries and treat limping

We love our dogs. That's why it's so troubling when they are obviously in pain and struggle to walk with a limp. If your dog starts limping, take a few minutes to carefully examine his/her limbs for signs of injury.


Sometimes isolating the injured leg or joint is easy. Other times, you must observe the dog closely. Usually, your furry friend will dip his/her head while standing on the good foot and raise it when stepping on the limb causing pain. If there's significant swelling or if the dog cannot place weight on the leg at all, it could be fractured, which requires a trip to the vet. If the limp is caused by something else — such as dry foot pads — home treatment could clear everything up.

It's important to correctly identify the cause of the limp. If you aren't sure, consult a vet. Traumatic injuries are the most common cause of limps, although most limps aren't caused by full fractures. Take the age of your dog into account. Older animals could experience osteoarthritis, suffering from muscular or spinal diseases, or may have cancer. Panosteitis is a disease common in young dogs that can lead to lameness. Lyme disease is also a potential cause, as it's spread through ticks and can affect animals at any age.


Pain caused by a strain or sprain can be treated with a cold compress, such as a wet cloth or ice bag. If the injury appears to be serious, it's important to keep the dog from moving the limb too much or putting weight on it. You may need to restrain your pet until you can get to the vet. Remember to handle limping dogs gingerly — even the most gentle dog can snap when experiencing severe pain.

People who have dogs treasure the health and happiness of them and are understandably upset when they are in distress. Just remember to think clearly when you evaluate your dog's injury. When in doubt about the seriousness of your pet's condition, call your vet. Usually, injuries are easily resolved with appropriate medical treatment and little healing time.

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