You find yourself faced with a limping dog and don’t know what to do. It worries most humans when their animals are in pain. If your dog is limping, finding the cause is the first step down the road to recovery. There are steps to take to discover what your dog’s problem might be.
Discover Why Your Dog is Limping
Which Leg is Hurting? Dog limping is a common issue, especially among larger breeds. Pay close attention to which leg your dog seems to be favoring. Once you discover which leg is bothering your dog, try to determine which joint is affected. If your dog does not seem to be favoring a particular joint, look between its paw pads to see if there is a rock or splinter causing discomfort.
What Was Your Dog Doing? It’s not unusual to come home from a long day at work to find your dog limping. If, on the other hand, your dog was fine one moment and in pain the next, try to determine what it was doing that could have caused injury. If your dog likes to run laps in the back yard or chase another pet through the house, it may have injured its knee during a quick stop and turn. If your dog jumped off of the couch, it may have injured its shoulder upon landing.
Could It Be Arthritis? It is important to note that not all limping is caused by an acute injury. Make note of when your dog limps. Just like humans, dogs with arthritis tend to be worse in the morning or after periods of rest. If your dog limps after it wakes up but gets better as the day progresses, arthritis is a very real possibility.
No Home Remedies for a Limping Dog If your dog is limping, resist the urge to give it aspirin, ibuprofen or any other pain reliever. These human pain relieving aids can be toxic to dogs. Instead, place a bag of frozen vegetables over what you believe to be the affected area. Ice is always a safe option and so is rest. If you can’t keep your dog still, consider confining it to a crate or small room for the day. Put your dog on a leash for potty breaks to prevent it from running through the yard with abandon.
See Your Veterinarian A dog limping for more than a day or two needs to see the veterinarian. Some injuries require surgery and aren’t able to be repaired properly if too much time passes. Your veterinarian will conduct a physical exam on your limping dog and may ask for radiographs. Once the veterinarian determines the cause of your dog’s limping, he will make recommendations for treatment.
You are right to be worried if your dog is limping. If your dog is favoring one or more legs, it is experiencing pain. If the limping does not resolve on its own after one or two days, make an appointment to see your dog’s veterinarian. He will be able to diagnose your limping dog and give it some relief.