Your Local Vet Clinic and Animal Hospital
4213 Calgary Trail NW, Edmonton AB

4213 Calgary Trail NW

Edmonton AB, T6J 5P4

(587) 557-2210

Your Local Vet Clinic and Animal Hospital

What to Do About a Dog Limp

dog limp solutions

A dog limp can seemingly come out of nowhere, causing dog owners concern and worry. As dangerous as it may seem, these issues are common, with plenty of solutions to address the matter. So, don’t worry. Your furry friend will be okay if you’re aware of its causes and potential treatment.

Nevertheless, you’re in the right place if you have any questions about dogs limping. Below will highlight if it can heal on its own, common causes, treatments, recovery timeline, and much more. By the end, you’ll know what to do with your dog’s leg and solutions moving forward.

Can a Limping Dog Heal Itself?

Some limping will heal on its own without any additional treatment. However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore your dog’s injury. As a rule, the initial step of treatment incorporates rest and medication (especially if the vet thinks there’s an injury/strain, joint pain, or minor issue).

A few minor wounds can prompt limping without torment, like a minor tear to their ACL, minor dislocation, or minor injuries. Restoratively talking, limping hurts the tendons that connect bones. It can prompt joint harm if it’s not addressed correctly. Thus, ensure you don’t ignore the issue.

What to Do for a Dog’s Front Leg Limp?

It’s more severe mobility-wise if a dog limps on their front leg. Thus, you need to help your dog as soon as you can. Start by absorbing the foot in warm water with Epsom salts to alleviate enlarging.

At that point, apply antibiotic ointment. If your dog has swelling related to an injury, bruise, or tendonitis, apply ice packs to the area for 15 minutes two times a day. Flowing water further benefits blood flow, diminishes swelling, and promotes healing.

Dog Limp Common Causes

Dog limping is a regular veterinary grievance, and there is an enormous scope of potential causes, from chronic conditions to injury. It might appear overpowering, but these causes are separated into a few classifications. Below are a few common causes to highlight:

Paw Injury

Unfamiliar objects like glass, nails, sticks, thistles, plant matter, or whatever else that shouldn’t be in your canine’s paw hurt. It makes it uncomfortable to walk and can prompt injury.

Bug and animal stings or bites can likewise cause delicacy and limping, as can cuts, broken toenails, burns, frostbite, and swelling. A sign that your dog might have something stuck in his paw is that they will lick their paw perpetually.

Bone Disease

Some sicknesses influence the bones in your canine’s legs and can make a canine limp. More youthful canines, particularly larger breeds, can develop conditions under this umbrella.

Examples include hypertrophic osteodystrophy and panosteitis, which make walking excruciating. Certain cancers, like osteosarcoma, additionally influence bones and require an immediate diagnosis for the best results.

Joint Disease

Some circumstances cause wear on joints and the outer muscle framework. Hence why your dog might have a lip. Osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, tendon infection, intervertebral disk disease, and osteochondritis dissecans can cause limping on any impacted appendages.

If your dog has joint pain or experiences dysplasia, a vet will suggest a veterinarian-grade joint supplement of glucosamine and chondroitin. Joint enhancements are utilized as an early mediation and throughout the movement of osteoarthritis.


Wounds and injury are the most apparent cause of a dog limp. From auto collisions to sports wounds, our dogs can experience the same kind of injuries that we can. Broken bones, sprains, hyper-extends, tendon tears, joint injury, and spinal wounds can cause severe limping in dogs.

At times, the canine might be unable to put weight on the impacted leg by any stretch of the imagination. Some conditioning can assist with decreasing the risk of some sports injuries. Regardless, a limping canine should be given much rest until the cause of the limp is recognized and treated.

When Should I Take My Dog to the Vet for Limping?

Generally speaking, if you’re dog is in severe pain, you should bring your dog to the vet as soon as possible. You should quickly tell if there’s something seriously wrong with your dog and can gauge if there’s an issue. Outside, there is a rule of thumb to follow with your dog’s limp.

If your dog is limping for over 15 minutes, it’s a good sign to bring it to a vet. Sometimes, a dog might hit their leg and limp around a few moments before they feel back to normal. Think of it like when you bang your foot on an end table and have to limp around for a few minutes before it’s healed.

First Aid for Limping Dogs and Treatments at Home

Treatment for dog limping depends on the cause, with some limping healing on its own. As a rule, the initial step of treatment incorporates rest and medications. Some injuries require more aggressive treatment, like exercise-based physical therapy or a medical procedure.

Your vet might suggest advanced diagnostics or a second assessment from a veterinary expert. It’s done to investigate a significant issue, or if your dog has an undiscovered limping, that doesn’t go away. Regardless, the vet will know what to do in this circumstance.

Make sure to follow up with a vet about your canine’s limping situation. Try not to trust that healing will occur on its own without any worry. The vet should change the treatment plan if things aren’t improving alone.

Treatments (Talk to Vet First)

  • Prescription Pain Relievers
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatories
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Bandages, Splints, Braces, or Casts
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy for Cancer
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical Therapy
  • Assistive Devices
  • Weight Management

Can a Limping Dog Heal Itself?

While a sprain is more severe than an essential strain, most canines make a complete recuperation from a limp in this circumstance. Pet guardians’ most significant test is convincing their dynamic and enthusiastic canine to relax for six weeks. Realize it may take a while for your dog to recover fully.

Generally speaking, you should examine your dog for 15 minutes after they begin limping. If your canine continues to limp, you should bring them to your vet. From there, the vet will determine your dog’s best course of relief moving forward. Understand that the vet is trained to diagnose and treat the issue.

Sometimes, relief from discomfort and rest might be all that’s needed. Veterinarians frequently prescribe anti-inflammatories for gentle to direct agony, such as carprofen. Or deracoxib. So yes, a dog’s leg can heal independently if it’s a minor strain or sprain.

What Can I Give My Dog for Limping Pain?

Generally speaking, follow the warm and salt water solution to help your dog. As noted earlier, begin by absorbing your dog’s foot in warm water with Epsom salts to alleviate enlarging. A solution like this is easy to do and doesn’t require much work from your end.

Nevertheless, rub on antibiotic ointment once the water and salt are applied. If your dog has swelling related to an injury, bruise, or tendonitis, apply ice to the area for 15 minutes two times a day. Flowing water further benefits blood flow, diminishes swelling, and promotes healing.

Besides the water and salt solution, rest is the best answer for your dog. Never alleviate your canine’s aggravation by prescribing non-prescription meds, like ibuprofen, naproxen, Tylenol, or anti-inflammatory medicine. Human anti-inflammatories can cause damage and life-threatening toxicities. Hence why, it’s so vital to bring your dog to the vet and get proper dog-prescribed medicine.

How Long Does a Dog Limp Take to Heal?

Dog limps vary greatly depending on the injury. Some limps heal as quickly as a few days, while others may take months to heal if it’s a break or significant disease. A standard strain or sprain will take a few weeks to heal, with a standard six-week timeline. Realize that the better your dog rests, the quicker it’ll be for them to heal.

Proper medication and treatment from a vet can speed up the process. Thus, ensure you visit the vet even if their limp seems minor. You won’t know the issue until you get a proper diagnosis. Some key points include:

  • Minor Strain (Couple Weeks)
  • Sprain (6 Weeks)
  • Tear (Up to 6 Months After Surgery)
  • Broken Bone (8 to 20 weeks)

Dog Limp Conclusion

A dog limp is a critical issue to address, no matter how minor it may seem. The treatment for your canine’s limp will change depending on its cause. Its treatment plan could be as basic as a few days or involve a medical procedure, prescriptions, further testing, or a drawn-out recuperation.

While this might sound terrifying, the sooner you get your canine to see a veterinarian, the better. Try to keep your dog relaxed and contact your vet for an arrangement. Nevertheless, if you live in Edmonton, contact us at Gateway Veterinary Centre to learn more. We’re a locally-owned veterinary clinic and are open seven days a week. We look forward to hearing from you!

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