Unfortunately, our animals cannot verbally tell us when something is wrong. They can show us physically, though. Noticing changes in your pet’s daily behavior is a good way to spot any health issues early and find the right treatment option to fix it. One of the biggest indicators of a problem is a physical change like a limp. The team at Westarbor Animal Hospital is here to help you figure out why your dog is limping and how to help:

Is It Chronic or Acute?

The way your dog’s limp develops can tell you a lot about the condition that’s causing it. If you notice that your dog is gradually developing a limp, that can mean that it’s a side effect of a chronic condition that has been happening for a while. If it seems to develop overnight, however, it might be telling you that your dog got injured. Take note of as much detail about the condition as possible so you can give your vet the most information about your dog’s limp. The more detailed you can be, the easier it is for your veterinarian to make a diagnosis (and to find the best treatment for your pup). 

Look for Any Foreign Objects

Once you notice the limp, carefully run your hands along your dog’s paws and in between the toes to see if you can find a foreign object that might be hindering your dog’s movements. Sometimes thorns, sticks, or even little critters can make it uncomfortable for your dog to walk normally. A badly broken nail could even be making your dog feel uncomfortable. If a foreign object is causing the issue, removing it should make the limp go away.

Medical Conditions that Cause Your Dog to Limp 

Dogs might also start to limp as the result of an underlying medical condition. Some of the most common are:

  • Sprains to one or more muscles
  • A contusion 
  • Conditions like tendonitis or myositis
  • Nerve pain
  • A cut or tear on the foot
  • Problems with the pads or toenails
  • Fractures
  • Tumors
  • Joint diseases
  • Hip or elbow dysplasia
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments
  • Arthritis


If your dog is limping for more than a few days, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. No matter what medical condition is causing the problem, prompt treatment is the best option for your dog. 

Pain Management Options

There are a wide variety of pain management options available to help with a range of conditions causing the limp. Some of the reasons why your dog is limping would require surgery, while some can be addressed with pain management, acupuncture or physical therapy.


Westarbor Animal Hospital is here to help with every facet of your pet’s care. From routine wellness exams to pain management options, we take your pet’s veterinary care seriously. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, please call (734) 769-5391.

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