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Why is my dog limping?

Why is my dog limping?

Your dog might have a limp. The most common front legs limp conditions are in the carpal pad area (the wrist) or paws. The most common rear conditions are hip dysplasia, Achilles Tendon or cruciate ligament knee. Speak to your vet for a diagnosis, once you know the condition get in touch and we can suggest the best solution for your dogs limp.

Your normally active, energetic dog suddenly looks a bit sorry for himself. He’s limping, affecting his ability to exercise and be playful. This blog will investigate the reasons behind his discomfort and why he might be limping. 

We’ll look at different scenarios, including limping on front legs, limping on back legs, sudden limping, and chronic limping over months.

We recommend getting a vet’s diagnosis if your dog limps for longer than fifteen minutes. This can help rule out serious reasons for the limp, and ensure your dog gets any treatment he might need.

Why is my dog limping on her front leg all of a sudden?

The most common causes of dog limping in the front leg are issues in the carpal pad area (the wrist) or paws. There could be ligament or joint capsule sprains, or muscular strains.

Sudden limps usually show up because of an injury or trauma. If this is the case, there may be a broken bone in the paw or limb.

Infections in the paw or leg, such as abscesses or cellulitis, can also lead to front leg limping. These may result from wounds, foreign objects or even insect bites. A foreign object - like a thorn, splinter or shard of glass or metal -  may be stuck in the front paw. 

Why is my dog limping on his back leg suddenly?

Your dog has a sore leg as he might have taken a misstep, or fallen in play, and this has caused a strain, ligament tear, or fracture. 

A dog limping on his back leg can indicate hip dysplasia, an Achilles tendon issue, or a cruciate knee ligament problem.

It might even be a surprising reason - like Lyme’s Disease from a tick bite.

Gradual onset limping

“My dog’s been limping on and off for months. What should I do?” If you’ve been asking yourself this question, it’s time to take your dog to the vet.

There are many reasons why a dog has been limping over the long term. If your dog’s been limping intermittently for months, chronic conditions like hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, or chronic ligament issues may be at play.

You should check your limping dog for:

  • Anything caught in their paw - like a small stone or thorn
  • Signs of pain, such as whining, reluctance to move, or changes in behaviour
  • Swelling, bruising or heat around the affected area
  • Limping in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy or appetite loss


Our canine companions may not be able to verbalise their discomfort. But a dog limping is a clear signal that something isn’t right. Understanding the potential reasons behind your dog’s limp, whether on the front or back leg, sudden or chronic, empowers you to seek timely veterinary care and your dog to enjoy a happy, pain-free life. 

Dog Limping - Causes, Prevention and How to Help

You might have noticed your dog limp, the limp might have come on suddenly or over a few months and it can be very worrying. The most common causes of dog limp in the front legs are in the carpal pad area (the wrist) or paws. In the back end the most common reasons for a dog limping are hip dysplasia, Achilles Tendon or cruciate knee ligament. We advice to first ask your vet for a diagnosis, once you understand where the limp is get in touch with us and we can get the best solution for your dogs limp. 

Why is my dog limping?

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