Why is My Dog Limping?

on May 11, 2022

why is my dog limping

If your dog is limping, you may be alarmed. Never fear! You can assess the injury at home, possibly take some action, and certainly determine if an emergency exists. Read on to see why your dog might be limping--and what you can do about it!

Assessing the Limp of a Dog

Before taking any action, you want to observe your dog closely. Do an assessment that will help you confirm the injury and its severity. If your dog has no underlying health condition, most likely a limp is an acute condition. Acute means sudden onset, but also temporary (if treated correctly). 

These steps will help you make an assessment.

Check the Paws

A common cause of sudden limping comes from paw injury. Look for swelling or other signs of injury. A thorn stuck in the paw, a small cut, a broken nail/claw, even an unintentional scalding of the paw from hot pavement can all cause a dog to limp.

On a sunny day of only 77℉ pavement can reach 125℉! That’s hot enough to burn a paw in only 60 seconds!

So first, check the paws.

Extend Joints

The hind leg joint in dogs, called the hock joint, gets used for running, pushing and jumping. An injury to this joint will usually cause swelling or tenderness to the touch. If your dog will let you, extend each joint and apply a small amount of pressure to joints as you assess. 

Check for Any Other Symptoms

If your dog suddenly limps, also note any other symptom. Other symptoms may include changes in mood/aggression, changes in stool, vomiting, lethargy or any other number of signs of an illness or injury. 

Make a note of whatever you observe to bring with you to the veterinarian.

Signs of an Injury in a Dog

When you do the assessment above, you may be able to ascertain the reason for your dog's limp. Also note, there’s a difference between limping and lameness. If your dog suddenly won’t move at all, you may have sudden lameness. 

Make a note of everything you discover in your assessment, and call the vet with your information.

Some of the reasons for sudden limping or lameness may include:

  • Wound
  • Infection
  • Broken bone or other injury
  • Unstable shoulder
  • Joint dysplasia
  • A degenerative illness or disease

Do not be alarmed! Many of the reasons for limping can be minor.

How to Treat a Limping Dog at Home

If you are able to determine the reason for limping at home, you may be able to apply a home remedy or doggy first aid. Keep in mind that many of the reasons for a limp self-resolve. If an illness or injury does not resolve or appears to be more serious, seek veterinary care.

Try these first aid steps and natural remedies at home for a hurt dog:

  • Clean and disinfect a wound. Apply ointment. Prevent your dog from licking an injury by wrapping it in a bandage (such as Coban or an Ace bandage) and/or using a cone of shame.
  • Remove a splinter and use an ointment for burns. If you don’t already have these basic first aid supplies, time to stock up! Again, be sure to prevent your dog from licking the injured area (and any medicine you might put on it--yuck!).
  • Treat an injury with RICE first aid. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation applies to doggy injuries too! Follow these directions.

You can supplement any sort of first aid treatment with pet-friendly CBD. Not only does CBD have a calming effect, which might help an anxious injured fur baby, but also CBD has anti-inflammatory and healing properties.

Be sure to only use pet CBD products. Also, never apply a CBD product directly to an open wound!

Bad Dog Pet CBD for Joint Health

At Bad Dog we curate our pet products to give your fur baby the most love. Our joint health CBD works exceptionally well for joint injury recovery. You can give your doggy this tincture at the time of injury, but also to help speed recovery.

Check out our online store for the best CBD products for your pet.

Hip & Joint with CBD Tincture


Hip & Joint for Dogs Tincture