Many people ask the question, “Why is my dog limping?” There are many common problems that can cause limping in dogs and there is a lot you can do to help. It’s rarely something that you need to worry about too much. Dogs are very adventurous and they end up injuring themselves in many ways, but most of these heal naturally by themselves. They will lick their wounds and their saliva has anti bacterial properties so they can effectively clean their own wounds. On the other hand, you can certainly make your dog’s life easier by helping out with cleaning their wounds and not letting them get infected by using alcohol or iodine on a sting, injury, or a bite.
Common dog foot injuries
One of the most common reasons why the dog is limping (on their front leg) is because they stepped in something sharp, such as a piece of glass, a sharp rock, or even nails. It’s important to make sure that as soon as you see that your dog is limping, you find out why. Try to take a look at their foot and work out what it might be and if there is something still stuck in there.
Bee stings and other insect bites
Possibly, bee stings are one of the most serious things you need to look out for, as many dogs can be allergic to them. Dogs who have been stung by a bee and start showing signs of an allergic reaction should be taken to the vet immediately to get the right treatment. Some dogs might experience swelling around their neck and this could cause suffocation. Insect bites, such as spider or ant bites, can also be extremely painful and in some cases toxic, so make sure you get veterinary attention immediately.
Removing foreign objects from your dog’s feet
When dogs get stung by bees or when they step in foreign objects that injure them, such as splinters or pieces of glass, you will need to check their paws and between their toes very carefully to make sure there isn’t anything lodged there. Especially with bee stings, they detach from the insect and remain stuck inside the dog. This is why there is usually an ongoing allergic reaction. With splinters and pieces of glass, you will need to remove them and make sure there are no fragments which can cause infections. For smaller pieces that have gone in too deep, you may need to see your vet for surgery. If you need to remove anything from a wound on the dog, be very gentle. Even though dogs are generally very loving, they can get aggressive if you hurt them too much. Make sure you use a sterilized pair of tweezers and don’t pressure the dog too much. If you’re unable to remove a foreign object from their injury by yourself without upsetting the dog, then your only recourse will be to go to the vet.
Corrosive salt and other substances
Particularly in the winter, when salt is used to deice pavements and roads mixed with dirty snow, it can actually be corrosive for a dog’s paws. If you’re going to go walking with your dog in the winter and you live in the streets, consider getting dog shoes for your pooch. Not only will they protect the feet, but they’ll look very urban and stylish!
Injuries sustained from falling or spraining
Since dogs are so playful, they sometimes end up falling from somewhere, such as a ledge or down stairs. In this case, the leg could be either broken or sprained. This is very serious and if your dog is limping after having fallen from something, then you should see your vet immediately. In some severe cases, the dog’s leg can look like it has completely lost the use of it.
How to tell where your dog’s leg hurts
The easiest way to tell where the dog’s leg hurts is to gently touch each part of the foot and leg and keep talking to the dog to calm it down. The dog will tell you where it hurts by its reaction to your gentle touches. If you can’t find the location of the pain, then you will need to see a vet to have x-rays done.
Dogs will also generally indicate where their foot or leg hurts simply by licking the spot a lot. The dog’s natural reaction is to lick anything that hurts.
Grooming your dog and claws
The dog’s claws should be cut at regular intervals. About once every two weeks is ideal, depending on how fast the dog’s nails grow. Make sure you only cut the end off the nails. It’s better to cut more frequently than to accidentally injure your dog by cutting too much and severing an artery inside their claw. In this case, the dog can end up in a lot of pain and it will also bleed for quite a while and you will probably notice that it is limping.
In general, it’s not always necessary to go to the vet if your dog is limping. But if you cannot find the cause of it, then you might need to have an x-ray done and in some cases minor surgery may even be required.