Vet Blog

Should You Be Concerned If Your Dog Is Limping?

July 13, 2020

Limping is always a cause for concern!

Limping is not normal and usually indicates some type of illness or injury. Because your dog can't tell you what's wrong, it's important to seek veterinary advice. If your dog is limping, you should schedule an appointment at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines. Our veterinarians will conduct a thorough examination and provide the necessary treatment. We'll get your pup back on all four feet in no time.

What Causes Dogs to Limp?

Dogs limp for a number of reasons-it could be a minor injury that will heal in a few days, or it could be something more serious. Pay close attention to your dog's behavior. If the limping started suddenly, it's probably due to an injury. If the limping happens occasionally but has been gradually increasing, it might be caused by illness. It's important to seek treatment for limps as soon as possible. Prompt treatment will help your dog to fully recover without provoking further injury. Similarly, early diagnosis can prevent unnecessary suffering from chronic conditions.

Causes of Sudden Onset Limping:

  • Cuts or Thorns
  • Insect or Snake Bites
  • Sprains
  • Torn Ligaments
  • Broken Bones
  • Dislocated Joints

Causes of Gradual Onset Limping:

  • Hip or Elbow Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Bone Cancer

When Should I Bring My Dog to See a Vet?

Sometimes a limp is just a minor muscle twist and your dog will "walk it off." However, if your dog continues limping for longer than a few minutes, you should definitely see a vet. First, determine which leg is causing the pain and examine it carefully. Inspect the paw pads for cuts or thorns, and look between the toes for bits of glass or other debris. Check the toenails for breaks or tears. Look for swelling or punctures that could indicate insect or snake bites. If your dog is limping and also excessively licking a leg joint, there could be a torn ligament or dislocation.

How Do I Know When It's an Emergency?

If your dog will not get up, vocalizes extreme pain, is bleeding profusely, has obviously broken bones, is dragging a limb that appears paralyzed, or shows other signs of serious illness such as fever, vomiting, or extreme lethargy-it is an emergency! You should get your dog to the vet as quickly as possible. Be very careful moving an injured dog-there is a risk of causing further injury if your dog struggles, and there is also the risk of biting when a dog is distressed. Remain calm, and get help lifting your dog if necessary.

Contact Us

If this is an emergency, call Animal Care Center of Castle Pines right away at (303) 688-3660. If your dog is limping but it is not an emergency, send an email to or visit our website to schedule an appointment. We offer comprehensive medical care and diagnostics, advanced pain management, surgery, rehabilitation, and many other important services to ensure your pet's health and wellness. When it comes to limping in dogs, play it safe-bring your pet to Animal Care Center of Castle Pines for treatment right away.