Is Your Dog Limping? Things To Know And What To Do

When a family member is ill or injured, they can verbally tell you about their discomfort. Unfortunately, pets are not able to verbally describe how they are feeling, so you will need to watch them for signs. If you notice your dog is limping, do not panic. In most cases, limping is just a temporary way of your dog easing some minor discomfort. However, in some cases, limping could be a sign your dog is in distress. This guide will help you understand your dog's limping and what you should do to help.

Limping 101

Most dog owners are surprised to learn there are a few different types of limping.

Gradual onset and sudden onset are types of limping your dog may be experiencing.

Gradual onset limping occurs gradually, like the name suggests. This limping may stem from an underlying condition that worsens over time, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. If you notice your dog limps occasionally, but you are noticing they are limping more than before, they probably have gradual onset limping.

Sudden onset limping occurs suddenly, without any gradual build up. This type of limping usually occurs after an injury. If your dog has suddenly started limping, they may have sprained their foot or ankle or broken a bone. Surprisingly, a torn paw pad is one of the most common causes of sudden limping.

What to Do

You may decide your dog does not need treatment if the limping is gradual. However, that can be a dangerous decision, since gradual limping should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Treating the underlying cause of your dog's gradual limping is key to giving them some comfort and preventing them from limping in a more severe manner. Both arthritis and hip dysplasia can be treated with medications or even surgery in more severe cases.

Your dog's veterinarian may also suggest putting your dog on a diet to reduce their weight. Weight loss takes pressure off your dog's joints, easing their pain and improving their mobility.

If your dog has just started limping, consider immediate care by a veterinarian. A sprain, broken bone, or a tear in their paw pad should be treated immediately to reduce further pain and medical complications.

The drive to the animal hospital can be long and uncomfortable for your injured dog. Prepare your vehicle for the ride by placing numerous blankets or towels in a seat or the back of your sports utility vehicle. If possible, ride next to your dog while someone else drives. This will ease your dog's anxiety.

Limping may seem like a small issue, but it can be a sign of a big problem. This guide will help you understand limping and what to do if you notice your dog is struggling to walk.