You noticed your little furry friend has suddenly developed a limp. Luckily, it stopped with just a little bit of worry on your behalf.
You are more than likely wondering what could have caused the episode.
Below we will go over some of the common causes of sudden limps that stop in dogs and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.
Hip Dysplasia And Arthritis
One possible cause why your dog would be limping then stop is hip dysplasia and arthritis. As the disease progresses, the limping will occur more often and last longer.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease where the hip joint is misaligned, causing chronic inflammation and joint deterioration. Arthritis is inflammation and degeneration of joints.
Every dog born with hip dysplasia will develop arthritis in its life.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia or arthritis will include: limping that stops, difficulty getting up, difficulty jumping and using stairs, increased irritability, whining or whimpering, popping and cracking of the joints, and stiffness.
With either, you will want to take your dog to the veterinarian as severe cases may need surgery.
Managing arthritis and hip dysplasia involves three important steps: controlling pain, controlling weight, and regular low-impact exercise.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most common form of pain control. Some other natural options are acupuncture, laser therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy, and aqua therapy.
A healthy weight is important as it decreases the pressure on your dog’s joints, thus slowing disease progression.
You can work with your veterinarian to develop a plan including the target weight for your dog, what and how much to feed, and additional joint supplements.
Ideal food for your dog will include turmeric, fish oil, papaya, glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin C. Exercise is very important as it helps maintain mobility.
You should avoid any exercise involving running or jumping, as those are not joint-friendly.
Some exercises you can do instead are going on leashed walks, going for a swim, and scent detection games. You should provide at least 60 minutes a day of exercise to lower lameness levels.
Injuries To The Paws
Although their paw pads are thick and tough, they can get injured. These injuries can cause your dog to develop an occasional limp.
Symptoms of paw injuries include: lameness/limping, licking affected paw(s), red and inflamed paws, and inability to walk or bear weight.
Unlike us humans, our furry friends don’t have protection for their feet from the hazards of the outdoors. They can burn them walking on salt in the winter or on the hot sidewalk in the summer.
They can cut them on broken glass or get punctured by a stick. Not only that, but they can also get bites or stings from insects on the pads.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the bottoms of the paws you have to worry about. They can also have injuries to their nails.
Their nails can begin to grow into paws if they are too long, or they can get them caught on something and tear the nails off. All of these are painful for your furry friend.
The limping will stop once the injury heals. Until then, you can help them by cleaning the area with gentle antibacterial soap, applying an antibacterial ointment, and wrap with vet wrap.
Be sure not to wrap too tightly to cut off circulation to the paw.
To prevent future injury: remove ice from sidewalks in the winter, hose off hot sidewalks in the summer, avoid areas that are rocky and sharp, and ensure that your yard is clear of broken glass, nails, etc.
Minor Leg Or Knee Injury
When your furry friend runs, jumps, and has so much fun, they can overdo it and injure themselves. It can cause your dog to have a temporary limp.
It will just be a sprain or a strain if you are lucky. A strain injures the tendons that link muscles and bones. Sprains harm the ligaments that connect bones, causing joint damage.
Symptoms of sprains and strains include sudden limp or lameness, swollen paws or joints, unable to bear weight, and whining or yelping.
You can help them get better by making sure they rest. They should not be running or jumping at all until they have healed. You may have to crate them to restrict their activity.
Also, place an ice pack or a heating pad on the injured area to help with pain and swelling. You can also massage the area to promote blood flow and take your dog to physical therapy.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will also help with your dogs’ pain, but you will need to talk to your veterinarian before you give him anything.
Unfortunately, if it is too severe and the ligament or tendon is torn, then your friend will need surgery to repair it.
A patella is a kneecap. And when that kneecap slides in and out of its normal location, it is called luxating patella. A genetic malformation mainly causes it.
It causes a temporary limp until the kneecap goes back into place. Dogs can live their whole life with this with little problem, or it can become so severe that they need surgery to correct it.
You will want to keep them at a healthy weight for the milder cases as it causes less pressure on the joints.
You will want to restrict exercise to ensure they don’t overdo it and worsen their condition. They should avoid running and jumping as kneecaps can be more stressful.
Leashed walks and going for swims are the best forms of exercise for your dog. Physical therapy might also be beneficial in building their muscle strength back.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) would also be beneficial in helping to manage your dogs’ pain.
Your Dog Is Faking It
Believe it or not, your dog might be faking a limp. Sometimes a dog will fake an injury to get your attention. It usually starts with a real injury or illness.
While your dog is in recovery, you show them extra love and affection. Once they are healed, things go back to normal, and they get less attention.
Therefore, they might decide to fake an injury to get that love and attention from you again.
To cure your faker of their “limp,” try setting at least 20 minutes of your undivided attention aside each day to take your dog on a walk, play a game of fetch, or cuddle.
Your dog may also fake a limp to get out of doing things. For example, if they don’t enjoy walks, they may fake a limp to avoid going for a walk.
As you can see, there are many reasons a dog would develop an occasional limp. Some are easy fixes, while others will take more work to correct.
You must take your dog to the veterinarian for a limp regardless of whether it goes away independently. This way, they can diagnose the cause and recommend treatment to ensure it does not continue to occur.
Zoey is a long-time pet owner and animal rights advocate, a vital part of Purrfect n’ Pawesome. She shares her unique experiences and learnings with her readers to enhance their understanding of pet behavior and nutrition. Along with being an active pet writer, she volunteers at multiple animal shelters, rescue centres with some bespokenly awesome pets.
Zoey has a lot to share when raising the pets and spending life being their true friends. She has a quite pampered Persian cat and a Ragdoll, whom she loves the most. Readout her blogs to know more about being a responsible parent to your beloved pets.
“I love to be around cats and dogs; that’s my passion and my trick to get away from all the negativity and soaking in unconditional love and affection. Being attached to this platform gives me the reason to be vocal about pet love, care, and nurturing. Although I am not an expert or veterinarian by any means, I have a lot of experience and learnings to share with my fellow readers.”