Your assessment results for:

Limping or Lameness

Urgency level: Possible emergency

Contact an emergency veterinary hospital

What to do next

Contact an emergency hospital ASAP and take a video of your dog’s limp

  • Contact the vet before travelling to ensure they are able to see your pet. They may also need to give you specific instructions. Some regular hospitals may be able to treat your pet.
  • Be careful when handling your dog – the affected area is likely painful and they may bite.
  • Make note of as many details as you can for your vet, as this will help them diagnose the situation:
    • Which leg(s) are limping, and what specific area?
    • Is it always the same leg, or different legs?
    • Are there specific situations where they limp more?
  • Taking a video of your dog’s limp is always a good idea – especially if the limp is intermittent.


Why it’s an emergency

Limping that impacts mobility requires immediate veterinary attention for proper healing

  • Limping (or lameness) frequently requires veterinary attention. Based on the symptoms you’ve selected, your dog could have a severe condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.
  • Some of the conditions we are worried about include bone fracture, ligament rupture, and torn tendon. Though not necessarily life threatening, early intervention is critical for proper healing.
  • There are often internal injuries involved with a limp, which requires a physical exam and sometimes other diagnostic tests to determine.


First aid tips

Use an ice pack and don’t give your dog human pain medication

  • Do not feed your dog. The emergency vet will likely need to sedate your dog, and in these cases it is ideal if your dog doesn’t have a full stomach.
  • Do not give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to your dog – they are toxic to dogs.
  • Keep your dog quiet and calm – you want to prevent your dog from further aggravating the injury.
  • Wrap an ice pack in a towel and hold it gently on the affected area to ease pain and reduce swelling.
  • Learn more about limping (lameness) in dogs


Talk to a veterinarian now

Worried about your dog or not sure what to do next?

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Please note that our Symptoms Assessments and Results are intended for informational purposes only, and not a medical diagnosis. Our goal is to help pet owners make an informed decision about if, when and how urgently they need to seek veterinary care. Using our site should not and does not replace a consultation with a veterinarian.