Dog owners tend to be extremely observant, noticing all kinds of subtle changes in their dog’s behavior that can indicate that something is wrong. One of the most alarming things that we can witness is our dog limping, which can either come on suddenly or develop slowly over time. Most cases of limping are easily treatable, but regardless, you should always take it seriously in the event that there’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Is Limping an Emergency?
When a dog owner sees their dog limping, they may panic and want to rush their canine over to the emergency vet clinic. But, is limping always an emergency that needs urgent care? These are some things to consider when determining whether or not it’s a true emergency that needs immediate medical attention.
The Most Common Reasons for a Limping Dog
So, why might a dog be limping in the first place? Well, there is a surprisingly large number of reasons why a dog may develop a limp, and the only way to treat the issue is to know the cause behind it.
Reason #1: Arthritis/Inflammatory Conditions
Disorders that cause inflammation of the joints or muscles, with arthritis being the most common, can result in a limp. Usually, this limp develops over time, becoming more and more severe at a gradual rate. Of course, with any inflammatory condition, the key is to catch it and treat it as early on as possible before it gets any worse.
Reason #2: Suffering an Injury
Of course, an injury to your dog’s leg or paw can cause a limp. If it’s a sudden injury, like an impact injury, the limp will come on suddenly. But, some injuries can develop more gradually, such as stress fractures.
Reason #3: A Painful Paw
Your dog’s paw may hurt due to something like a bug bite, a scrape or stepping on something pointy outside. Try massaging your dog’s paw and see if they react with pain, and then examine the paw thoroughly to see if the skin is broken or if a foreign object is lodged in there, like a thorn.
Reason #4: Getting a Torn Nail
Observe your dog’s nails, because an injury to the nail such as a tear can be extremely painful, resulting in a limp. It’s important to look at your dog’s nails regularly since nail tears can lead to an infection if not treated.
Reason #5: Some Sort of Developmental Disorder
If your dog has been limping since they were a puppy, it can be a sign of a developmental disorder that is most likely genetic, and therefore, may or may not be treatable.
Reason #6: Neurological Problem
A neurological issue such as epilepsy can cause limping, and limping is actually a common sign of a mild seizure. A dog may even limp for up to a couple days following a seizure.
What to Do if Your Dog is Limping
Now that we’ve established the most common causes behind a limp, it’s time to consider the actions that should be taken to protect your dog’s health, regardless of the underlying reason for their limping.
#1: See Your Veterinarian
Goes without saying that any time you suspect that something is wrong with your dog’s health, that you contact your veterinarian to set up an appointment. Unless the limp is clearly caused by something mild like a scratch on their paw or their stepping on a thorn, then you’ll want to get an appointment in once you notice the limp, before any potential issue becomes worse. If the dog’s limp becomes sudden, severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, it may be time to take them to an emergency clinic.
#2: Examine the Leg and Paw
As soon as you notice the limp, give their leg and paw a onceover. Like we said earlier, always thoroughly examine their paw to see if they may have hurt it while walking. And, look at and feel their leg to see if you can identify something abnormal, such as a dislocated joint or swelling. If the area feels warm to the touch, this can indicate inflammation or an infection.
#3: Keep Them Calm
If your dog is limping, it’s safe to assume that they’re in pain. And, your dog seeing you panic over the situation isn’t going to be very helpful to them. Do everything that you can to stay calm and keep them calm, speaking to them in a soothing voice and giving them lots of love and attention.
#4: Consider Some CBD
Many dog owners consider CBD to be a godsend when it comes to all kinds of issues, including those that can cause a limp. CBD is a cannabinoid, which works with cannabinoid receptors throughout their body to regulate important processes. Studies have shown that CBD may play a role in managing arthritis pain in canines, while its analgesic properties can help with all kinds of forms of discomfort that can relate to the limp. Not only that, but CBD has neuroprotective properties that may play a role in managing seizure symptoms.
Chill Paws carries a variety of CBD-infused products made especially for dogs, including treats, and oils. Our treats and oils provide your dog with a head-to-toe serving of cannabidiol, which works with their nervous system, immune system and more. Meanwhile, our topical balms are great for addressing localized issues, including issues that affect their paws. These products are gentle and dog-friendly. Not to mention, can be administered daily to provide your canine with natural and holistic support.
Bottom Line: Pay Attention When Your Dog is Limping
If your dog has a limp, whether mild or severe, you’ll need to monitor it and bring it up with your vet as soon as possible. While most limps are very much treatable, you still want to get them the relief they deserve as soon as possible. Chill Paws proudly offers specially formulated CBD-infused products that can support your dog regardless of the underlying cause for their limp.