Limping Dog: What Should I Check For?

If your dog is limping, you can try to isolate the problem by checking out the nails, paws, joints, bones, and muscles.

What common problems cause limping in dogs?

The most common limping problems occur when arthritis flares up in older dogs. Arthritis in the back or  hips  can cause many dogs to not want to jump up to get into the car, on the couch, or on the bed. Lumbo-sacral  problems and arthritis are common in dogs , just as humans with “bad backs”

Young growing dogs sometimes limp when rapidly growing bones ache. Some young dogs will show aches and pains for months until their bones quit “stretching”

Toy breeds have knee cap or patella problems. The knee cap in poodles, yorkies, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, and other small dogs will sometimes move in and out of the groove and cause a bit of limping. This limping may be more mechanical than painful as the kneecap feels unstable as they walk. The symptoms may improve with exercise and with time. Many toy breed dogs have this problem and only a small percentage need surgery for correction.

Arthritis in the hips or Hip Dysplasia will cause dogs to not want to walk very far and limp. They will often wiggle their hips much more than normal. Hip dysplasia is common in German Shepherds, Labs, and more and more breeds.

Cracking a toenail or a nail infection can cause limping

Rash, blisters, burr, or wound in the foot or between the toes can make dogs lift their leg.

If there is lots of pain or blood, get it checked out! In general , if a dog puts weight on the affected leg, it isn’t broken. Muscle pulls, sprains, mild arthritis, hip dysplasia, kneecap problems, cracked nails, foot rashes or injuries are the most common things I see everyday.

Check out my common over the counter home remedies with the dosages of aspirin for mild discomfort due to mild aches and pains.

Watch the youtube video to help visualize what you may check for.

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