Dog is Limping (cont.)

What to Do

Exam complete, ask yourself the following questions:

Could your dog have suffered any trauma over the previous few hours? If the dog has been out of your sight, is it possible that he was involved in an accident of some sort, jumped or fell from a height, was bitten by another animal, or stung by an insect? If that's the case, refer to “My Dog Was Hit by a Car or Heavy Object”, “My Dog Fell from a Height” or “How to Treat Your Dog's Allergic Symptoms” [not available online].

How old is your dog? Your dog's age is important in trying to get to the bottom of the problem. Young dogs can experience limb discomfort from developmental issues that older dogs wouldn't have, and older dogs can suffer from various cancers and forms of arthritis that puppies would be less likely to experience.

Did you notice a cracked toenail? Refer to “My Dog Has a Broken Toenail” [not available online].

Do you suspect a fracture? If there is significant swelling and pain and your dog refuses to bear any weight on the affected limb, assume there is a fracture and get your dog to a veterinary hospital.

Are your dog's footpads dry or cracked? If so, see the chapter “My Dog Has Cracked Footpads” [not available online].

Does the pain appear to be isolated to a specific joint? If so, try treating with a weight-appropriate dose of a buffered or enteric-coated aspirin product. If that doesn't help within a day, see your vet for a more thorough evaluation.