Is your dog limping? Dogs, like humans, can sustain injuries or become ill and end up limping. Lameness, or limping, is when a dog walks abnormally on one or multiple limbs. This could be because of pain, loss, or both. The dog might be able to gain weight but have a limp. This limp might be subtle or obvious. Sometimes the dog will just hold up the affected leg and not weight it. The affected limb might be carried by the dog. Depending on the situation and how severe it is, lameness or limb swelling may be intermittent or continuous.
Limping is a common problem in dogs, but it’s not the norm. Lameness is a sign of an injury or illness. It is crucial that you take immediate action if your dog starts limping. The severity and speed at which you act will depend on how severe the lameness is.
Is Limping an Emergency?
Limping is not an immediate emergency. A veterinarian should visit a dog that is limping immediately, but not immediately. You should first evaluate your dog if they are limping. Is your dog still able to stand and walk? Is there swelling or bleeding? Do you need to administer some type of first aid? How much pain is your dog experiencing? Are there other signs and symptoms of illness?
There are certain situations where you need to immediately bring your dog in to see a veterinarian. If your dog is injured or sick, it may need to be taken to an emergency clinic. These signs should be noted:
- Sudden inability or unwillingness of getting up or moving
- Extreme pain: trembling, vocalizing, and/or aggression-like signs.
- Bleeding profusely (apply pressure as you go to the vet)
- Excessive swelling in one of the limbs
- Obvious fracture (broken bone)
- Dragging of one or several limbs or the appearance that they are paralyzed (this could
- indicate a spinal problem which can develop quickly and may lead to permanent disability).
- Fever is a temperature above 103.5 F
- Additional signs of major disease include severe vomiting or extreme lethargy.
If you notice any other concerns, it is a good idea to contact your local veterinary office. It’s better to be cautious about your dog’s health.
How to Move an Injury Dog
It is possible to inadvertently make the injury worse or cause more pain by moving an injured dog. The pain of a dog biting someone may be a sign that he is trying to protect himself. Even if your dog has mastered walking, it is important to carefully transport him to the car. If your dog can’t walk or has difficulty standing, get assistance to transport him to the vehicle. You can use a blanket, sheet or blanket to cover your dog. A board or cardboard box will serve as a support. Assist another person to slowly transport your dog to the vehicle.
Call a veterinarian if you have questions about how to move your dog.
What to do if your pet is giggling?
There are several things you can do to help your dog limp if you’re not sure if it is an emergency.
The first step is to examine the affected area. If your dog will let you, look closely at the affected limb. Is there an area your dog is licking or scratching? This could be the reason for the problem. Take care to inspect the foot, leg and ankle for any signs of injury, such as cuts, bruises and swelling. You can check the paw pad as well as the area between the toes for any wounds or foreign objects. Verify that the toenails are not torn. To test for tenderness or stiffness, gently move the joints around. You might feel or hear grinding in the joint that could indicate arthritis.
Gradual Onset and Sudden Limping Sudden Limping
There are two types. Gradual-onset limps are slow over time. Sudden limps are sudden and occur rapidly, usually following trauma or injury. The vet can help determine if your pet’s limp was sudden or gradual.
The most common cause of gradual onset limps is an underlying, chronic, or degenerative condition, like osteoarthritis or Dysplasia. Sudden onset limbs, however, are most commonly caused by injury or trauma.
A gradual limp in your dog does not necessarily mean that you should wait to make an appointment. The sooner you catch some causes of gradual walking, like bone cancer or hip dysplasia early on, the better.
When should I call the vet
For a limp that lasts longer than a few minutes, it is best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. But, as with humans, dogs have a tendency to get hurt outside of office hours. How can you tell when to wait for the next day and when to go to the emergency rooms?
If your dog is not experiencing sudden onset or gradual limps, they can usually be put on hold for a few hours. In some cases, the limps may go away completely during this time. However, in other cases your dog will not tolerate the waiting.
Mild Dog Limping
A mild limp signifies that your dog still uses the leg but doesn’t put as much weight on it.
If your dog is limping but seems healthy, you can encourage them to restrain for a few days to see what happens.
Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your pet doesn’t show improvement quickly or isn’t back to normal within a few days.
Severe Dog Limping
Dogs that are severely limping may not be capable of bearing weight or just tap their toes on ground.
Although severe limping in dogs should be assessed by a veterinarian as soon as possible, you need to take into consideration your dog’s personality. Some dogs will refuse to carry any weight on a mildly injured limb. Other dogs may be more determined and walk well even though they are in great pain.
The last question will tell you if your dog needs to be seen at the emergency clinic.