Health Topics  > Musculoskeletal

Limping (Lameness)

Limping (lameness) or any kind of abnormal walking exhibited by your dog occurs when they are uncomfortable or in pain. Dogs will usually avoid putting any weight on the affected paw(s) intermittently after specific situations (such as a long run or strenuous exercise) or all the time, which can be clues to the underlying cause of the limp.

Depending on the severity and time frame of the limp, you may be able to manage the situation at home. If your dog can’t walk or is showing other signs of an emergency, you’ll want to visit the vet ASAP to prevent any further injuries.

Pro tips for visiting the veterinarian:

  • Record a video of your dog walking (once at a walking pace and another at a trot). Do this in a quiet environment with minimal distractions
  • If your dog is not bearing weight on a leg, can’t walk, or showing signs of severe pain, you should contact your vet immediately
  • Puppies can be acutely restless, so keep them calm and wait 1 hour to see if limping still persists. This helps determine the severity of the injury
  • Give your dog a few days of rest with minimal exercise. Avoid running, jumping, playing, the stairs, and slippery surfaces
  • Do not give human over-the-counter medication (such as ibuprofen) to your dog as some of these can be toxic
  • If your dog is not showing signs of emergency and the limp is not getting worse, you can wait 2-3 days to see if the limp improves

References for Limping (Lameness)