My Dog Is Limping But Shows No Sign of Pain

Unlike humans, dogs can’t express themselves, so it can be challenging to know whether they are in pain or not. However, they try to communicate with us a little differently. They may limp without groaning or still play energetically but not as quickly as they always do. 

For this reason, you need to ask yourself these critical questions before you can assume the limp for something obvious. Is my dog really in pain, and how should I go about managing the limp?  

Once you have the answers to all your concerns, you may now find the root cause. This post will walk you through everything you need to know about limping—from causes to management. Even more, I will tell you what to do in case of an emergency limp. So keep reading to find out more. 

My Dog Is Limping But Shows No Sign of Pain?

Minor injuries such as sprains, patella luxation, and ACL tear could be the reason your dog is limping. Sprains are normal and can occur when your dog is running, jumping, or if they accidentally stumble into a hole. More often, they affect the knees, hips, and ankles/wrists. 

If your dog is limping but not showing any signs of pain, it’s still worth seeking veterinary attention. This is because pets cannot express themselves, and it can be hard to notice when they are in pain. 

Furthermore, dogs limp due to physical discomfort. It’s also worth noting that dogs may limp on and off occasionally and then seem fine.

What Could Cause Limping, But Not Pain? 

1. Arthritis

Like in humans, arthritis is more prevalent in middle-aged to senior dogs. The continual friction of the joints can lead to inflammation as dogs become of age. Even worse, your furry friend may start experiencing pain in the morning and find it difficult to walk up the stairs or jump out of the car.

To put it simply, arthritis is the inflammation of the joints and is popular with senior dogs. Below are the common symptoms of arthritis: 

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness 
  • Decreased range of motion

Symptoms can be mild or severe and may come and go. They can also last for years but can advance or worsen over time. So if your pouch is in pain now, it’s likely to be in a year or so. Also, remember that severe and untreated arthritis can lead to incompetence and chronic pain, making it difficult for your canine buddy to walk or climb stairs. 

2. Neurological Disorders

A dislocated disc in the spine could exert pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, disconnecting the signals from the brain to the limbs. And because signals allow for proper movement, they can cause lameness in dogs if they aren’t working correctly. In such a case, inviting a vet to examine your dog goes a long way to determine the cause of your dog’s lameness. 

3. Lyme Disease

Ticks cause Lyme disease, and affected dogs will often develop a mysterious limp a few months after the tick vulnerability. The limp is hardly visible at first but will grow to a point where your dog cannot move. In the unfortunate event that your pouch gets affected by this disease, please seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.  

But how do you tell if your dog has Lyme disease? Usually, they will develop fever, lose their appetites, feel lethargic, and have swollen joints and lymph nodes. The good news is that it is manageable and can be treated with antibiotics such as Cephalexin or Doxycycline. 

4. Valley Fever

Valley fever is prevalent in the Southwest and causes lameness in dogs. This is a fungal disease and is common to puppies and senior dogs. Other notable symptoms include fever, depression, dry cough, and lethargy. Vets can administer anti-fungal medication on affected dogs to be given over a couple of months. 

5. Hip Dysplasia

This disease is common to puppies and only affects the hind limbs. It often occurs when the hip joints fail to progress normally. Not only that, hip dysplasia in dogs can be transmitted during mating; thus, breeding dogs need to be adequately screened before copulation. 

Also, because this is a structural deficiency, the hip ball does not fit correctly in its socket. You’ll also notice that the dog has problems walking, playing, going up the stairs, and jumping into the car. They may also experience gait abnormalities as too much weight will be put on their front legs. 

Keep in mind that treatment options may vary depending on the breed, your dog’s age, and the severity of the condition. This is a no-brainer, though, but your vet should advise you accordingly. 

What To Do If Your Dog Is Limping But Not Crying?

If your dog is limping but not crying, it simply means that the limping isn’t severe. All you need to do is encourage him to go to bed and avoid putting him on range of motion exercises. Do not let your dog walk or climb the stairs. Instead, help him up and down the stairs.  

For bathroom breaks, take your dog on a short restrain to ease himself. Then, please continue to provide crate rest until your dog is back on its feet. This type of rest is recommended when you won’t be home for a couple of hours. You may also enclose your pouch in a small area.  

If the above hacks aren’t effective within 24-48 hours, seek veterinary attention for serious examination. A vet will determine the cause of limping and administer medication that will get your furry friend up and running in no time. 

How Can I Treat My Dogs Limping At Home?

First of all, you need to determine what’s causing the limping. You can check underneath the paws for any signs of pain or injuries. There could also be a foreign object planted in there. If you can’t find anything yet, gently move up to your pet’s ankles, knees, and hips to examine for any signs of malformation.  

If there are no signs of dislocations, but your dog is limping, let it rest by confining him in a small room or crate to limit his movements for a couple of days. But that’s not all—you have to monitor it closely to see if there’s any development of inflammation or swelling that needs veterinary attention. 

For Emergency Limps: 

1. Foreign Body

If your dog’s lameness results from a foreign object, try pulling it out and ensure that it’s completely removed. Then, clean the wound adequately using antibacterial soap. If there’s any inflammation, soak the affected foot in a solution of warm water with Epsom salts for a few minutes. Then, using a clean cloth, wipe the wound dry and apply antibiotic ointment.

Other injuries that could cause lameness in dogs include bee stings, animal and insect bites. Keep in mind that when removing a foreign body, leaving traces of it can cause severe infection. As for the bee stings, you should avoid squeezing the poison out of the sac as this would cause further problems. 

2. Injured Paw Pads/ Broken Nails

When dealing with injuries, the first step is to manage the bleeding before treatment. Do this by applying pressure to the wound using a clean towel. An ice pack would also go a long way to tighten the affected blood vessels. If these remedies aren’t effective within 10 to 15 minutes, consider taking your pet to an emergency vet clinic. 

3. Bruise Or Sprain

Again, ice packs will come in handy to manage your dog’s bruises or sprain. Apply it to the affected leg for 15 minutes twice a day. Alternatively, you can put your dog in a tub and use a hosepipe to spray the affected leg for 15 minutes twice a day. While all the steps prove effective, the latter plays a significant role in promoting circulation and reducing inflammation. Running water also facilitates healing. 

4. Abscess

Using a clean towel, apply warm pressure to the abscess or soak the affected area in a solution of Epsom salts with warm water. If the spot is ruptured, take your pet to a veterinarian so that the wound is cleaned intensively and proper medications are administered. 

For Mild Cases: 

Apply cold pressure to the swollen joint to ease the inflammation. If there’s no progress within 24 hours, shift to a warm compress, then take your dog to a veterinarian for evaluation. 

During this time, rest plays an integral part in the healing process. Your dog should not engage in any form of exercise or physical activity. Instead, it would help if you focused on providing crate rest for a couple of days or weeks to speed up recovery. 

Once it’s back on its feet, you can reintroduce exercise gently and progressively. Oh, and don’t forget to update the veterinarian about the progress of the lameness.  

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For Limping

If your canine buddy exhibits any of the following signs while limping, it’s time you schedule an emergency visit with your veterinarian: 

  • Hauling its legs on the ground 
  • Sudden incapacity or hesitant to move
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Too much bleeding
  • Excessive swelling 
  • Visible fractures or broken bones
  • Persistent lameness
  • Severe pain
  • Inability to stand
  • Dragging its affected limb while walking

Related Questions 

1. How Can You Tell If Your Dog’s Limp Is Serious?

You can tell that your dog’s limp is severe when it has a fever and swollen or dislocated limb. If you notice any of these signs in your dog, please take it to a vet for proper examination. Note that you should do this as soon as possible to avoid implications. 

2. How Can You Tell If A Dog’s Paw Is Broken?

You can tell that your dog’s paw is broken when it’s limping, crying in pain, holding and licking his paws. Also, the foot may appear swollen, though this may be hardly noticeable in long-haired canines. 

3. Will A Dog’s Sprained Leg Heal On Its Own?

Yes, most dogs do recover from sprained legs with the help of their pet parents. This is not a child’s play, though—it calls for patience and perseverance. You need to convince your canine buddy to take the healing sessions easy so that it recovers fully from the sprain. 

4. How Do I Know If My Dog Has Pulled A Muscle?

To determine whether your dog has a muscle pull, you can check for lameness, bruising, swelling of the muscle, and pain on palpation. However, these are clinical signs and can be difficult to tell if your dog has never pulled a muscle. Similarly, it can be hard to detect the clinical signs if the tear isn’t severe. 

5. Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Paw And Limping?

If your canine companion is limping and licking its paws unreasonably, the chances are that it’s suffering from a cut or a foreign body has affected its foot. It could also mean that an infection has occurred between the pads of your dog. This is often referred to as Interdigital Dermatitis and can be treated by antibiotics.  

Canine Buddy

As a dog lover—who loves sharing new experiences, I decided to create the canine buddy blog to share what I’ve learned throughout the years managing my dear fidos. Of course, I went through several trials and errors before finding the best way to make a perfect match. Here, we are committed to only giving proven dog and puppy hacks—making you the best dog owner ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


We are dog lovers, dog owners who love talk about how to take good care of them. Read more

Press ESC to close