Why is My Dog Limping? 15 Causes of Lameness in Dogs

Why is My Dog Limping? 15 Causes of Lameness in Dogs

Dog limping is pretty common, but when your dog begins to limp, you may be curious about the cause. Is it something minor, like a burr stuck in the paw, or something more severe, like a broken bone?

For more information about dog limping, check out our blog post at:

15 Causes of Lameness in Dogs:

1. Overexertion
Sometimes a fetch session, rough play, or a run in the park can leave your dog sore and cause hobbling about. Whether your dog is limping on its back leg or front leg, this may just indicate that they are sore because they jumped at the wrong angle. Most dogs will usually recover quickly from occasional hind leg weakness.

2. Object stuck in paw
Dog limping is often caused by a laceration in the paw or something stuck between the toes, such as a burr, or thorn. In some long-haired dogs, even their own fur can get matted between their toes and cause discomfort.

3. Ingrown nail
An ingrown or overgrown toenail can cause discomfort by digging into your dog’s footpad. In severe cases, dogs may need veterinary attention.

4. Insect stings or animal bites
Venom from bees and other insects can be poisonous and cause swelling. Animal bites can also be dangerous because of puncture wounds and infections.

5. Underlying scar tissue
If your dog has had a previous injury, built up scar tissue can cause limping. A deformity from a birth or an improperly set bone can also cause lameness.

6. Infection
Infections of the paw or leg can cause a dog to chew and inflame the skin. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics and an e-collar.

7. Injury
Leg injuries are one of the most common causes of limping in dogs and should be suspected if the onset was sudden. If your dogs back legs collapse suddenly, or even your dog’s front legs collapse, this is a telltale sign of injury.

8. Wandering Lameness
This condition, also known as panosteitis, tends to affect growing large breed puppies. It causes lameness to move from one limb to another over the period of several weeks or months.

9. Luxating Patella
This occurs when a dog’s kneecap moves out of its natural position. The effect varies from complete unwillingness to bear weight on the limb to mild to moderate instability without accompanying pain.

10. Dysplasia
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia are common hereditary conditions that cause the joint to become loose and move out of position.

11. Osteoarthritis
This condition of chronic joint inflammation is caused by deterioration of cartilage. Older dogs have the highest risk.

12. Fracture
Broken Bones are not always visible to the naked eye. When a dog is suffering from a fracture, it will be unable to bear weight on the affected limb. Watch our video on how to tell if your dog has a broken leg at

13. Diabetic Neuropathy
When a dog has untreated diabetes, excessive glucose in its body can cause progressive weakness or paralysis. Usually this will cause the foot to drag when walking.

14. Spinal Cord Disease
Also known as degenerative myelopathy, this progressive disease affects the spinal cord in older dogs. Initial symptoms include weakness and lameness, and can eventually progress to paralysis.

15. Tumors
You should always monitor your dog for any unusual lumps or growths. Bone cancer, which is especially prevalent in larger breeds, can grow rapidly and cause limping, pain, and death if left unchecked.

For tips on What to Do if Your Dog is Limping read:

This video content was brought to you by Bio-Rep Animal Health, the makers of Boneo Canine®. Boneo Canine® is a unique lactoferrin-based supplement for strong bones and healthy joints in dogs. For more information, be sure to visit www.boneocanine.com today!

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