Dog Limping: Causes and Treatments in Lakeland, FL

As a dog owner, you know how to tell when something is wrong with your pet. And if your dog begins limping suddenly or develops a limp slowly over time, you’re sure to be worried about them. After all, limping is a sign of a more serious underlying issue, and it can sometimes indicate an emergency as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of limping in dogs. We’ll also walk you through treatment or management options for each one so you can know what to do for your pet at home, and what the veterinarian may recommend as well. If your pet is in need of urgent care, call Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Lakeland, FL at (863) 665-3199.

dog limping in lakeland, fl

Sprain or Strain

Sprains and strains are some of the most common causes of limping in dogs. Since dogs do a lot of running, jumping, and playing, they are at risk for both sprains and strains, as well as for pulled muscles.

These injuries usually heal on their own with time. You may need to provide your dog with ice packs or warm compresses to help ease the pain associated with sprains and strains. If your dog is in a lot of pain, a vet visit and some prescription pain medication may help.

Broken Bone

Broken bones are serious acute injuries that often result in visible symptoms. If your dog suffers from a broken bone, you may see the exposed bone or may notice their leg swelling severely. In these situations, you’ll need to take them to the vet or emergency vet for prompt treatment.

There isn’t a lot you can do at home to treat a broken bone. However, the vet can set the bone and operate on your dog as well as provide prescription pain medication and antibiotics to treat the break. The vet will also give you more information about how to help your dog heal at home following this procedure.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a congenital health problem that affects many dogs. It is more common in specific breeds, but it can happen to just about any dog. This condition affects the way the dog’s thigh bone and hip socket connect with each other, and it can cause severe pain and inflammation as the dog gets older.

Some dogs with hip dysplasia need surgery to correct the problem. Others may need physical therapy or pain medication to help them regain some mobility. Your vet will help you determine the right treatment or management plan for your pet.


Arthritis in dogs is very similar to the same condition in humans. It causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints, and it can become very painful as the dog gets older. This condition most commonly affects aging dogs, but it can occur in young dogs in rare instances as well.

There is no way to treat arthritis. However, your vet can help you choose the right management solution for your pet. You may need to put your dog on medication, take her to physical therapy, or practice some physical therapy exercises with her at home instead.

Paw Pad or Nail Injury

Dogs often suffer from injuries to their nails or paw pads. These injuries can come in a variety of forms, including tick bites, lacerations, bruises, burns, and more. Although these problems are usually easy to recover from, they can cause a lot of pain and limping for a while.

Check your dog’s paw pad and nail beds closely. If you see a problem that can be removed, such as a tick, remove it and wash the affected area with soap and water. If there is an injury, wash the area and apply cool compresses to take down any swelling. Go to the vet if the injury is very deep.

Bite or Sting

Finally, insect bites or stings and snake bites can all cause your dog to limp. If your dog is bitten or stung, this will usually occur on the dog’s foot or leg. The bite or sting may cause a lot of pain or irritation, and it may cause mild swelling as well.

If the swelling becomes severe or if your dog’s face or snout swell, it’s time to go to the emergency vet. Otherwise, treat the injury with cool compresses until the pain eases up.


If your dog develops a sudden limp and seems to be in pain, it’s a good idea to go to the vet, even if you don’t think the underlying cause is too serious. There may be an injury or issue you can’t see that a vet would be able to diagnose easily.

On the other hand, if your dog has been limping for a long time as a result of a chronic health problem, regular vet checkups are a good way to ensure you’re following the right management plan for your pet.  If you have further questions or need assistance call Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic today at (863) 665-3199.

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At Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic, our team consists of experienced veterinarians and veterinary professionals dedicated to providing exceptional after-hours emergency vet care to the pet community of Lakeland.