Why Is My Dog Limping?

If your dog is limping, there is definitely a problem. A close examination may turn up an issue you can deal with immediately, or it may turn up nothing. What you should do depends on what you find.


Examining your dog may be a two-person job if your dog is trying to get away. You’ll want to prevent too much squirming so you can take a good look.

• Closely examine the pad and paw, especially if your dog is walking on three legs and keeping one off the ground.

• Also check the entire leg and joints for swelling, tenderness, burns, cuts or dislocations.

• If your dog is constantly chewing an area, there may be a foreign object like a burr attached. Look for these external irritants.

What to Do
• If you find a cut, burn, swelling, tenderness, dislocation, break or other serious problem, contact your veterinarian immediately for treatment.

• If you find an easily removed irritant, like a burr or something in the fur, remove it carefully.

• For more serious irritants like glass or thorns, you should see your veterinarian to check for an infection or the need for stitches.

• The pads are durable but not indestructible. Salt and snow can cause problems in winter, fertilizer and sand in the summer.

• Keep the pads clean and nails and fur between the toes trimmed to reduce the risk of some foot problems.

• If the pads are cracked, use a moisturizer to soothe them. Boots may be necessary for a few days of protection.

If you can’t find any visible problem, see your veterinarian. Some problems will only be found by a professional. 

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