If your dog is showing any signs or symptoms of an emergency such as dislocation, excessive swelling or or inability to walk, you’ll want to see your vet or an emergency clinic ASAP. For non-emergencies, if your dog’s limp lasts longer than 2-3 days, or if it’s getting worse over time, you’ll want to book an appointment with your vet.
You can perform a simple home examination on your dog in the meantime to check for pain and tenderness, and to determine the severity of the limp. If you find the limp is severe (i.e. your dog is not able to put any weight on the leg for a prolonged period of time), this is also an emergency.
Prepping information ahead of time and observing any differences in behavior (ex. different walking and exercise patterns, whether it’s affecting eating or sleeping, or things they are not doing like getting up or greeting you as much) will help your vet get a full picture of the situation.
Pro Tip: 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.