Why Is My Dog Limping? 4 Possible Reasons

Dog Limping

Dogs are one of the most loyal and loving pets that you can have, but they’re also incredibly independent. If your dog starts limping around the house, don’t panic – there could be a number of different reasons why this has happened. Check out these 4 possible reasons your dog limping, as well as what you should do about it.

1) A Sprained Leg

A sprain can occur as a result of overuse, or from an impact injury. The joint is suddenly stretched past its normal range of motion, causing the ligaments to stretch or tear. Sprains are typically accompanied by pain and swelling, and are graded on severity from 1-3. A grade 1 sprain is the least severe with minimal symptoms and minimal joint instability (wobbling). A grade 3 sprain is the most severe with significant joint instability, swelling and pain.

2) Arthritis

Arthritis is the most common cause of dog limping. It’s caused by inflammation and gradual deterioration of cartilage and bone. The pain from arthritis can range from mild to severe and can make it difficult for your dog to walk, climb stairs, or even sit down. There are many factors that lead to arthritis such as age, obesity, joint injury, excess weight on one side of the body for a long period of time, genetic predisposition or any other condition that may irritate the joints.

3) Joint Dysplasia

Joint dysplasia is one of the most common orthopedic problems in dogs, and it’s estimated that 10% of large-breed dogs develop this condition by the age of two. There are four main types of dysplasia: developmental, degenerative, acquired and idiopathic. Developmental dysplasia happens when cartilage doesn’t fully form during a puppy’s growth. Degenerative joint diseases are caused by inflammation or an autoimmune reaction that damages cartilage.

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4) Muscle Strain

Muscle strains are one of the most common sources of limping in dogs. This can be cause by a sudden change in activity level, over-exercising, or even improper rehabilitation following an injury. Muscle strains occur when muscles become stretched too far and damage muscle fibers. The dog may experience pain and stiffness, as well as decreased range of motion. The severity of this type of injury can vary from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the muscle fibers.


Even though dogs are sometimes calling man’s best friend, that doesn’t mean that they can read our minds. Or communicate with us as effectively as we can with them. Dogs often don’t exhibit obvious symptoms when they have an injury or illness. Which makes figuring out what they need to feel better challenging. If you notice your dog limping, he may have hurt himself in some way and could benefit from your help finding out what happened and how to treat the issue at hand. If your dog isn’t running around and playing like she usually does. It’s possible that dog limping from one or more injuries, including sprains and strains, which often occur in dogs.

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