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How to Treat a Limping Dog at Home?

Surely you have seen some lame dogs in your life, and that is because this is a fairly common problem in these animals. Lameness in dogs is often caused by a health problem, although accidents can also be common causes.

Many dog owners think lameness in these animals is due to an injury or wound, making them ignore the problem’s true origin.

How to Treat a Limping Dog at Home

It could be due to a potentially severe illness, and for that reason, you should take your pet to the vet immediately, regardless of the cause of the lameness.

Is a Limp in Dogs Serious?

Generally, a limp is not serious, but it could become serious depending on the severity of the situation. Certain serious joint diseases could make lameness in your pet an emergency.

A limp is usually caused by a blow or injury, but a dog could also be lame due to a serious underlying disease or health problem.

If the lameness is not severe, your dog will be fine in a few days, but regardless of the seriousness of the situation, it is best to take it to the vet as soon as possible to rule out serious health problems. Usually, the professional will do x-rays and physical exams to determine the cause.

Causes of Lameness in Dogs

CausesAssociated Problems
InfectionsLyme disease, interdigital pyoderma, pododermatitis, abscesses, etc.
InjuriesInjuries (muscles, ligaments, bones, etc.), sharp objects embedded in any part of the body (especially the paws), burns, etc.
Joint diseasesHip and elbow dysplasia, osteoarthritis, IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), patella dislocation.
Bone diseasesOsteosarcoma, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, panosteitis, etc.
Causes of Lameness in Dogs

How Can I Help My Limping Dog?

There is no single way to treat a limping dog, as it all depends on its particular problem. In this section, we will show you the best ways to treat your lame dog at home:

Don’t Exercise It Too Much

A lame dog should not get much exercise, and in fact, it should not do any physical activity depending on the cause of the problem.

It is best to allow your dog to rest for a few days to recover quickly and adequately. That means not taking it for a walk or playing games with it that require high physical effort.

Some recommend leaving lame dogs in a crate to prevent physical activity. It will rest and sleep quietly, so if you leave it in the cage for several days, it will recover quickly.

Keep in mind that if the problem is not that serious, taking it for short walks can be a great idea. That will not only allow it to release its pent-up energy but could also help it with its lameness problem. That is also good when the canine is in the process of recovery.

Give It a Massage

While a massage will not immediately solve your dog’s lameness problem, it will be very relaxing. Massages are extremely relaxing for lame dogs as they help relieve inflamed areas naturally. Pain is also something that will gradually disappear.

Avoid Carbohydrate Foods

Many people feed their dogs the wrong way. It is well known that these animals need a diet based on foods rich in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are extremely negative for lame dogs as they could worsen the inflammation of the affected area. For that reason, you should avoid foods like:

  • Rice
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Potatoes

The best foods for a dog with this problem are meats, vegetables, fruits, eggs, etc.

Provide Cold or Light Heat

The cold can help relieve inflammation. For that reason, it is advisable to place a cold compress on the affected area. Light heat is also a good option to reduce inflammation in a lame dog. In the latter case, you can use a heating pad, but you have to ensure it is not too hot.

Avoid Giving Human Medications

Human medications are never a good option for dogs unless your vet recommends them. The main reason is that they can be toxic to these animals.

Do not give your lame dog ibuprofen or other human medications. Some vets may recommend aspirin for these animals and some anti-inflammatories, often excellent for treating lameness in dogs.

You should always consult your vet before buying medication for your dog, as you don’t want it to be exposed to side effects.

Can I Treat My Lame Dog with Natural Remedies?

Yes! There are several ways to treat a lame dog, and we have already explained them above. However, some holistic veterinarians recommend natural remedies due to their effectiveness.


Some veterinarians opt for this technique which can be ideal for treating pain. In this case, acupuncture will help with your dog’s lameness problem.


  • St. John’s Wort
  • Cayenne topical cream
  • Yucca 
  • Bromelain
  • Parsley
  • Garlic


  • Vitamin C: It acts as a collagen protector and anti-inflammatory.
  • Omega fatty acids: Many veterinarians recommend them for their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Chondroitin and glucosamine: These substances help relieve inflammation and other joint problems allowing faster healing.

When Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?

If you notice that your dog starts to limp from one moment to another, one of its legs has likely been injured. If the impact is not severe, the dog will begin to walk well again after a few hours. However, your pet will need immediate veterinary attention if you notice the following situations:

  • Your dog has a fracture.
  • The lameness has lasted for more than 24 hours.
  • Your pet is in a lot of pain or has a swollen affected area (keep in mind that all lame dogs feel pain even if they don’t show symptoms of it).
  • Your dog is dragging on the ground as it has difficulty getting up.

If you notice any of the above situations, don’t hesitate to take your pet to the vet immediately for proper treatment.