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Help! My dog is limping, what should I do?

Dog limping is a common issue that can cause significant concern for pet owners. Whether it’s a sudden onset or a chronic condition, understanding why your dog is limping and knowing when to seek veterinary care is crucial. In this blog post, our vets in Ypsilanti will discuss the most common reasons for dog limping, identify prevalent leg injuries, discuss breed-specific issues, and provide guidance on when to worry and relax.

Why is my dog limping?

This is just a reminder that dogs may limp for various reasons, and unlike humans, they can't communicate their discomfort. It's up to you to determine the cause of your dog's limp and decide if veterinary care is necessary.

Here are some of the most common reasons your dog might be limping and other serious causes requiring urgent veterinary attention.

Common Reasons for Limping in Dogs

  • Something painful stuck in one of their paws
  • An insect bite or sting on a leg or foot
  • Strains or tears (ligaments, tendons, muscles)
  • Trauma, such as broken bones
  • Osteoarthritis joint pain in hips, legs, or feet
  • Infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Vascular conditions such as aortic thromboembolism

Veterinary Emergencies 

The following situations require urgent emergency care for your dog. If your veterinary emergency occurs outside of standard vet hours, take your pup to the nearest emergency animal hospital so that your pup can receive the critical care it requires!

  • 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

  • Sudden paralysis and pain in the rear legs

How can I help my limping dog?

If your dog is limping, there are several steps you can take to help them:

  • Rest: Limit your dog’s activity to prevent further injury.
  • Cold compress: Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling.
  • Check for foreign objects: Inspect your dog’s paws for thorns, glass, or other debris.
  • Trim nails: Ensure your dog’s nails are properly trimmed to prevent discomfort.

Dog Limping Treatment

Treatment for dog limping depends on the underlying cause. It may involve:

  • Medication: Pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by your vet.
  • Surgery: For severe injuries like fractures or torn ligaments.
  • Physical Therapy: To improve mobility and strengthen muscles.
  • Weight Management: Ensuring your dog maintains a healthy weight to reduce stress on joints.
Understanding the reasons behind your dog's limp and knowing when to seek help is vital to ensure their health and well-being. You can help your furry friend stay active and comfortable by staying informed and proactive. Always consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your dog's needs.

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, contact our Ypsilanti vets immediately. Our compassionate vets are here to help your pet feel better.

Caring for Pets in Ypsilanti

Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Book Online (734) 482-8171