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Why Is My Dog Limping?

family-footerAs a dog owner, you want your pooch to be healthy and happy at all times. That’s why you might become instantly concerned if you notice your dog limping. Consider the possible reasons for the limp and what you can do to ease your dog’s discomfort.

Examine Your Dog Carefully

Assuming the injury isn’t obvious, examine your dog to pinpoint the source of the problem before rushing him to the vet. Have him lie down in a comfortable position and conduct the physical exam with an assistant to help you keep the dog calm and still.

You might want to start by examining a limb you’re almost certain isn’t injured. This gives you an idea of how your dog responds to being poked and prodded in areas that don’t hurt, providing a point of reference to compare the injured leg to. Start at the toes and move upward as you look for reasons why your dog is limping. If he shows signs of pain at any time during the exam, stop immediately to reduce his discomfort.

Cracked or Split Toenail

When your dog is limping, the first place to check is his feet. A cracked or split nail exposes blood vessels and sensitive tissues, which can be very painful. If you spot a small crack with no bleeding, the injury should heal on its own. However, if you see blood, bring your dog to Germantown Vet Clinic for cleaning, trimming, and possibly cauterizing and bandaging.

Sliced Pads

Anything sharp your dog steps on has the potential to cut the pads of his feet or the webbing between them. He may need to have gravel, sand or other foreign objects removed from the cut before being stitched up and put on antibiotics. Germantown Vet is the best place in Montgomery County to have these tasks completed.

Bruised or Fractured Bone

Gently squeeze each of your dog’s toes. When you find the one that makes him flinch, look for a cracked toenail or sliced pad. If you see nothing wrong, a toe bone could be bruised or fractured. Be sure to check up and down your dog’s legs for bruised or fractured bones that could be causing him to limp. Then bring him to Germantown Vet for x-rays to determine how bad the injury is.

Pulled Muscle

If your pup got a little too rambunctious, he might have pulled a muscle, ligament or tendon, resulting in swelling and pain. When this happens, your dog likely only experiences pain when he puts weight on the affected limb. Encourage him to lie down and be less active for a few days until his injury heals.


While accidents and physical trauma are the most common causes of limping, slow-to-develop chronic conditions such as arthritis can also cause sudden lameness. Arthritis symptoms are known to come and go as swelling flares up and subsides.

If your dog is getting older, bring him to Germantown Vet more frequently for checkups so we can diagnose him and prescribe medicine to help his condition. Even if your dog is young, he can still develop rheumatoid arthritis and other joint issues that cause limping, so don’t ignore this symptom.

Visit Germantown Vet for a Diagnosis and Treatment

These are just a few possible reasons why your dog might be limping. If you can’t find the problem, or it’s clear your dog needs medical attention for his injuries, please contact Germantown Vet Clinic online or call (240) 252-7467 to let us know you’re heading our way. We’re here to provide your pet with the best vet care in Montgomery County!

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