Over the next few weeks, the limping should gradually improve, but if your dog is too active, the limp may temporarily worsen. Call your veterinarian if a postoperative limp is severe or doesn't start improving with a day or two of rest.
If the limp doesn't resolve itself within 48 hours, becomes worse, or if your pup is whining or yelping, it's time to call your vet to book an examination for your pet. Your veterinarian is best equipped to determine the cause and severity of your dog's pain.
Look at the site of the limp for signs of bleeding, to help determine if the condition is from a bite, injury, or puncture. Often if the limping isn't serious you can watch your dog at home for between 24 & 48 hours to see if more symptoms occur or if the limp gets worse.
Sometimes limping will go away on its own, especially if you provide some at-home support like a brace. Other times limping may be a sign of a more serious injury or condition that will require veterinary intervention.
Dogs can limp for many reasons. Active or heavy pets can twist and strain things just like humans do. Any dog can jump or run and twist or turn a joint in a manner that causes temporary discomfort. Most injuries caused by such things are short-lived.
Take your dog to the vet's office immediately if they can't put any weight on their leg, show extreme pain (this could include crying out), have swelling or injury and are reluctant to move or eat. If your pup is still limping after a day, take them to the vet.
If the limp doesn't begin to resolve itself, is becoming worse, or is accompanied with whining or yelping, it's time to call your vet or visit your nearest emergency vet. Your veterinarian has the training and knowledge to best determine the cause and severity of your pup's pain.
In general, gradual onset limps in dogs are caused by an underlying, chronic or degenerative condition, such as osteoarthritis or dysplasia. Sudden onset limps, on the other hand, are usually caused by an injury or trauma. Just because your dog has a gradual limp does not mean you should put off making an appointment.
If your puppy is limping but still playing, this is probably a sign of a superficial injury. Superficial injuries can include: Cuts or scrapes from stepping on something sharp. Burns from stepping on the hot pavement.
Rest and confinement are best for healing.
In many cases of limping, there will be no external signs. If this is the case for your dog and the limping is not severe, try to keep him quiet and comfortable. Encourage your dog to rest and do not take him for a walk or run. Do not allow your dog to exercise or jump up.
If your pet is limping but not showing any signs of pain, it is still worth contacting your vet for advice. Because dogs can't speak, it can sometimes be difficult to spot when they're in pain, whether it be as a result of injury or an underlying issue.
Be prepared for a minimum recovery time frame of four to six weeks. The road to recovery for your pet must be a slow one. The prognosis is good, though sporting or working dogs may not recover to the level of ability present before the injury.
Does the limping come and go? With minor limps, dogs still use the leg but just won't put all their weight on it. If your dog seems otherwise comfortable and not in pain, he may not need veterinary care. However, if the limping persists for more than 24 hours, you should call your vet.
A luxating patella occurs when a dog's kneecap moves out of its natural position. Lameness may be constant or occasional, mild to moderate, or severe with the dog unwilling to bear weight at all. Many small dogs live with this condition with it never resulting in arthritis nor pain, nor interfering with the dog's life.
The treatment that your vet prescribes will depend on the cause of the limping and can be as simple as a few days of rest and some anti-inflammatories, or it may require surgery and rehabilitation. Bandages, splints, and physical therapy may be needed and sometimes a supplement for joint health is prescribed.
If after four or five hours your dog is still having trouble moving or putting weight down on their leg, the injury may be a more significant and may require further care and treatment from a veterinarian.
To reduce swelling, gently soak your dog's foot and leg in warm water containing plain Epsom salts. The water's motion will aid in promoting healing by enhancing circulation. After using a towel to gently dry it, apply some antibiotic ointment to the leg.
Signs You Need to Head to the Emergency Veterinarian
If your dog shows any of the following symptoms while limping, it's time for an emergency room visit: Dragging one or more limbs on the ground. Sudden inability or unwillingness to move. Extreme lethargy.
If the limp doesn't start resolving itself, is getting worse, or is accompanied by whining or yelping, it's time to call your vet or visit your nearest emergency pet hospital. Your veterinarian has the training and knowledge needed to diagnose the cause and determine the severity of your pup's pain.
Symptoms of a Sprained Leg in Dogs
It's possible for the limp to go away on its own within a day if the injury is mild. On the other hand, if your dog can't use their leg or move around for more than a day, or if this happens chronically, we recommend scheduling a visit with your veterinarian.
When you go to the vet, you will typically pay the cost of the office visit ranging from $50 – $250, depending on your vet. X-rays, bloodwork, and other diagnostic costs could add at least a few hundred dollars to your total.
Overgrown Nails Cause Accidents – Dogs use their nails for traction and balance when walking or running. Nails that are too long can cause a dog to slip and fall more easily. Long nails cause a dog to place their feet differently, in a “plantigrade” position.