The following may be the cause of temporary limping or lameness in your dog. Strained ligaments, sprains and pulled muscles cause limping. Rough playing, too long of exercise, jumping or falling incorrectly can also cause ruptured ligaments. Car accidents and falls can also cause bone fractures of the leg, hip or elbow.
Rest is essential, but if limping persists after a couple of days, an x-ray should be taken to see the extent of the injury. The correct medication should be prescribed by your veterinarian. In no case ignore the evident dog limping, as even a mild fracture might become much worse. Little dogs are predominantly prone to kneecap dislocation, though this can also occur in medium-sized dogs.
The kneecap leaves its position, moves to the side and locks the leg. Usually, hind leg muscles should stretch and relax, enabling the kneecap to return to the original position. By limping, the dog is allowing the muscle to stretch. If the kneecap does not return to its original position, this can be very painful for your dog and a visit to the vet should be made.
An obvious reason for limping would be a cut on one of the paws. Washing with warm water and then applying a little ointment will help. Wrap the paw with a bandage to prevent the dog licking it. After a day or two remove the bandage and let the dry air heal it. However, if it’s a serious cut, take your dog to the veterinarian.
Always check your dog’s paws for stickers or other foreign objects. Insect bites, matted fur, dried mud, seeds and burrs may also cause your dog to limp. Be gentle and check that no infection has started. An inter-digital cyst may appear if this is neglected. Swelling, lumps, oozing may occur and need draining. Antibiotics and medical attention will be needed.
Another issue for dog limping may be overgrown toenails, or possibly one that has broken. Normally, an active dog wears down its toenail running on cement or other hard surfaces. If you cut your dog’s toenails be very careful not to overdo it. It’s best to have your vet do it and it is not expensive.
Young dogs, 5 – 14 months sometimes have a bone disease and it can last 2 – 5 months, even more sometimes. The dog will limp either with the back or front leg. It’s quite common in Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dobermans and Rottweilers. After X-rays, mild exercise as well as glucosamine, painkillers, limping eventually stops.