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Dog Limping - What To Do

In today's post, we discuss why dogs limp and offer guidance on how to assist your limping dog. Our veterinarians in Little Elm frequently encounter limping dogs at our animal hospital, and we'll also cover when it's necessary to consult a vet.

Dogs, similar to people, experience various issues that can make them limp. Unlike humans, however, dogs cannot communicate the cause or intensity of their pain. Therefore, as a caring pet owner, you must identify the source of your dog's discomfort and determine how to provide assistance.

Why is my dog limping?

Your dog's limping could be due to something minor, such as a small stone caught between their toes, or it could be a sign of a more serious health problem. The following are some of the most common causes of canine 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
  • Vascular conditions

Should I take my limping dog to the vet?

You don't need to rush to the vet whenever your dog limps, but some situations require immediate medical attention. If your dog displays any of the following signs, it's crucial to seek prompt medical assistance from your veterinarian or a nearby emergency veterinary 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?

When you first notice your dog limping, take immediate action. Provide your dog ample rest to prevent further strain and potential injury worsening. Limit your dog's mobility and refrain from any strenuous exercises. When taking your pet outside for bathroom breaks, ensure they are on a leash to prevent them from running.

Examine your dog's foot for any signs of injury, such as cuts or wounds. If you identify any areas of concern that may be causing discomfort, promptly reach out to your veterinarian.

If you suspect inflammation is the cause of your dog's limp, consider using alternating heat and ice packs to alleviate swelling and alleviate discomfort. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on suitable products and the appropriate application.

Check for any signs of bleeding, which can indicate an injury, puncture, or bite.

If the limp appears mild, monitor your dog's progress at home for the next 24-48 hours, keeping an eye out for any new symptoms or worsening of the limp.

In most cases, it's advisable to err on the side of caution. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if the limp persists or worsens or your dog exhibits signs of pain, such as whining or yelping. Alternatively, seek immediate assistance from an emergency veterinarian.

Your veterinarian possesses the expertise and training to accurately determine the cause and severity of your dog's pain. A comprehensive examination may involve blood work, tick testing, or X-rays. Factors such as your dog's breed, history, age, and overall health will be taken into account when diagnosing the issue and devising a suitable treatment plan.

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.

If your dog is limping or showing other signs of pain or discomfort, contact us right away to book an appointment.

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Healthy Paws Veterinary Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Little Elm companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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