Limping in young dogs is very common and usually will take about one week to resolve itself. Puppies have no fear and can strain, sprain or bruise themselves doing their acrobatic stunts. If however the limping does not resolve in that week, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.
The cause of limping can be something as simple as the dog needing a nail trim or it can be more complex and studies need to be done. If upon full examination, the veterinarian cannot determine the exact cause, x-rays may be taken. Both of the affected limbs will be x-rayed to see if there is a difference in their structure. It sometimes takes awhile for changes to be noted on the films, and for that reason, both limbs will be done.
At Home Care
If you notice your dog limping, check their paws closely for Dog Paw Injuries. There may be some stickers in them that are causing favoritism of the limb. If your dog has thick hair between the pads, this may cause limping as well. Check also for any cuts and Bite Wounds on Dogs. Busy dogs can get into mischief and may have received a cut on their pad. Something as simple as a mild abrasion from pavement will be enough to cause a limp.
Most cuts on your dog will heal without stitches. It is just important to keep the area as clean as possible. Some Betadine can be used to soak the limb several times each day or a diluted hydrogen peroxide can also be used.
It is important to keep paws dry while they heal. Bandages are a source of moisture and bacteria and are likely to become chewed by your dog. Keep the wound clean and dry.
Any deep puncture wounds will most likely need antibiotics. If you apply ointments, chances are good that your dog will lick it off before it can work.
Arthritis Can Cause Limping
It is possible, especially in older dogs, that they have some arthritic joints. If your dog has a limp that doesn’t resolve itself fairly quickly or returns intermittently, you need to seek the advice of your veterinarian.
Dogs that are extremely active, larger dogs, and those with inherited problems can also have Dog Arthritis. Diagnosis is made by x-ray, again with both limbs being checked.
It is possible that it could also be a flap of cartilage that has come loose and lodged in the joint. This can be very painful.
Dog Bug Bites, such as from a tick or Dog Fleas, and spider stings can cause your dog to limp. Snake bites and Dog Bee Stings will fall into the same areas. If your dog has a reaction other than some irritation and swelling, you need to contact your veterinarian. This is even more important with snake bites, if you cannot identify the type of snake that bit your dog.
Back injuries can cause limping; often this is mistaken for limb lameness.
Dewclaw surgery that was not done correctly can cause pain in your dogs. If a small portion of the root of the nerve is left, it can be very painful.
Another cause of your dog limping could be Dog ACL Injuries.
If you are unsure of the cause, it is always best to call your veterinarian.