Dogs will often limp if they are in pain. In this post, our Orlando vets discuss some of the causes of limping, what you can do to help your dog, and when to take your pooch to your vet.
How to Help a Limping Dog
Like people, dogs can experience many health issues that can potentially lead to limping.
Unfortunately, our pups are unable to use words to let us know what happened. As a conscientious pet owner, this means you must find a way to comfort your dog, assist them and have their limp treated.
Today, we'll list some common reasons your dog may be limping, when emergency care is required and how you can help your pet.
What are some common reasons for limping?
- Vascular conditions
- Insect sting or bite
- Inflammatory conditions
- Infectious diseases, such as Lyme
- Trauma, such as broken bones
- Tears or strains (muscles, ligaments, tendons)
- Something painful stuck in their paw
Is it an emergency?
If any of the following circumstances apply, your dog will require emergency care. If it is after-hours, contact your nearest emergency veterinary clinic for care.
- A broken limb (will be at an irregular angle)
- Limbs that feel hot to the touch
- Any moderate to severe swelling
- A dangling limb (which indicates dislocation)
- Limping in conjunction with a fever
What You Can Do
When you first notice any limping, try to rest your dog as best you can. You'll need to limit mobility, as any further strain can cause a more serious injury. Exercise should be put on hold until your dog has healed, and you should leash your pet to walk them outside for bathroom breaks as they may try to run if let out into the yard.
Alternating between heat and ice packs might reduce swelling and discomfort. Consult with your vet's office for recommendations on which to apply and when.
Check for bleeding. This will usually provide insight into whether your dog has suffered a leg injury, puncture, or bite.
In general, if the limp isn't severe, you can observe your dog's progress at home over the next 24 to 48 hours. In most cases, it's better to be safe than sorry, and scheduling an appointment with your vet may help both you and your dog to feel better. If the limp isn't resolving, is becoming worse, or is accompanied by whining or yelping, it's time to call your vet.
Ultimately, your veterinarian is best equipped to determine the cause and severity of your dog's pain. A thorough examination may include blood work, tick testing, and X-rays. Your dog's breed, history, age, and general health will be considered in the diagnosis, as well as the prescribed treatment plan.
Remember to never give any medication to your pets without consulting your vet first. Your vet will recommend any treatments you can do at home and will prescribe proper medication and dosage information for pain relief.