Health

My Dog Is Limping But Not Crying

Dog Is Limping But Not Crying
Written by Adriana

If your puppy is limping, it can be a cause for serious concern. It would be even more concerning if the limping comes out of nowhere, and you can’t figure out why.

It may also be a case where your dog is limping but not crying which makes it even more difficult to understand the root of the problem.

If your dog is limping, and you cannot understand the reason, then the best thing that you can do is take him for a medical check-up.

By doing this you will understand what the problem is based on expert medical advice.

It may not be a good idea to sit on the problem and wait for it to go away. In times like these, you need quick answers about why your puppy is limping.

Dogs typically limp to relieve some of the pain that they may be feeling when pressure is placed on their feet.

So even though your dog is not crying, there could still be a potential issue which is why seeking medical attention is the best idea.

In many cases when a puppy starts to limp it could mean that he has had a mild muscle sprain which will resolve itself eventually.

However, other cases point to a more serious issue. Gradual onset limps could mean that your dog has hip dysplasia.

Additionally, when puppies grow in an asymmetrical way it can lead to lameness in the future.

If you have ever experienced any type of limping from your dog then you know how troubling it can be.

But armed with the right information, you will be able to get to the bottom of the limping and provide help for your dog. This article will help you to do just that. 

The Two Main Types Of Limping In Dogs

Two Main Types Of Puppy Limping

Veterinarians usually categorize limping into two main types, which are problem limping and gradual onset limping. 

Gradual Onset Limping

As the name implies, Gradual Onset Limping occurs slowly over a prolonged time.  Consult your veterinarian if you notice that your dog is gradually developing a limp.

Typically, the problem can fester if immediate action is not taken, causing more trauma and pain for your dog.  Gradual onset limps happen because of some underlying issues like hip dysplasia.

Sudden Limping

Sudden limping typically occurs spontaneously. So one day your dog is walking normally and the next day he is limping.

This type of limping usually happens when there is some type of trauma or injury. Your dog needs to be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible to look for the cause of his limping.

The veterinarian will be able to recommend a proper course of treatment. 

What To Look For In My Limping Puppy

Limping Dog Sings

Muscle strain is known to be the most common cause of limping in your dog. This can be treated easily and in many cases on its own as long as your dog is allowed to rest.

For this reason, many people do not think much of the situation when their dog is limping.

Do your best to stop your dog from actively running or walking around. If you had any activity plans like walking or hiking your dog should not go along, because he should be allowed to rest the affected limb.

You need to understand the difference between your dog’s limp and uncoordinated walking.

Young puppies are developing their joints and bones are still very soft which may cause them to have a wobbly walk. This is not the same as limping. Allow your puppy to go through the stages of development.

You also need to know the difference between gradual onset and sudden limping. The only way you can tell is by monitoring your dog constantly so that you can know when a problem arises.

Trauma or injury will affect the way your dog walks, but gradual onset is a bit more difficult to recognize.

You only need to also look for the way your dog is handling the pain. He may only take small steps with the affected leg or refuse to put any weight on it. If you touch it, and he winces in pain this is also a worrying sign.

Poor nutrition can also contribute to your dog’s limping. When your dog has a disease called osteodystrophy he can develop lameness in more than one leg at a certain time.

It is caused by a lack of critical vitamins and minerals or a diet that consists of meat only. You should think about all these things when analyzing your dog’s limp.

Causes Of Puppy Limping

Puppy Limping Causes

The following are serious causes that need medical intervention when your puppy is limping.

Trauma

Your dog could potentially have dislocations, tears, fractures, and breaks at any time during their life, but they are more prone to these accidents when their bones are softer.

Your dog may have been involved in a fight with another dog or involved in rough play and received an injury. If he suddenly starts limping, wait until about 15 minutes to see if the situation will resolve itself.

He could have tripped and fallen on the floor or landed improperly because of an uneven running surface. If he continues to limp then the problem should be escalated to your veterinarian for proper treatment.

After major accidents like a car accident or a disaster at your home, he should be taken to the veterinarian as soon as possible because sometimes there may be internal bleeding that can be fatal.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calvé-Perthes occur when growing bones are not supplied with sufficient amounts of blood which leads to a deformity in the femur.

When the blood flow is disrupted it weakens the hip bone which begins to deteriorate. The limping and lameness gradually develop over time resulting in a painful experience for your dog.

He will not be able to carry any weight on the affected limb.

Eventually, the degeneration leads to a collapse of the hip which then causes arthritis. Your dog will be in further pain as the disease progresses.

Usually, this disease only affects one hip joint, so you may notice that he has lost muscle mass around the affected area.

This disease is mostly seen in toy and small breeds who weigh less than 20 lb. And also mostly affects young puppies that are about 5 to 8 months, but you may notice the early signs of this illness as early as 3 months.

Medical experts will need multiple X-rays to monitor the progression of the disease and your dog may need surgery to remove the femur head. To treat the pain, therapeutic methods are usually employed.

Asymmetrical Growth

Typically, the bones and joints grow simultaneously so if one leg seems to be growing at a faster rate than the others your dog will have a limp.

This usually happens to one leg so as the body moves around the leg that is growing it can cause your dog to limp.

This is not a major cause for concern except when your puppy seems to be in pain. In that case, you must visit the veterinarian who will make the best recommendation.

Wobbly Kneecaps

Wobbly knee caps are also called luxating patellas. This is a condition that causes dislocation of the kneecap and leads to sudden lameness in one of your dog’s legs.

It usually resolves itself after a few minutes. The patellar ligament functions as a connection between the shinbone and the leg muscles.

Toy and small breeds such as the Maltese or the Bichon Frise have a higher likelihood of developing luxating patellas because of their genetic predisposition.

The connection point of that ligament is not properly centered so when your puppy is in movement they pull a ligament inside the leg and the femur wears down over time.

This causes the patella to be dislocated and snapped back at any time during the movement.

Your dog may be able to tolerate the condition depending on its severity, but it almost always leads to arthritis.  fortunately, the problem may be fixed surgically  so consult your veterinarian 

Hip Dysplasia

This is a condition that occurs when the hip joint does not fit perfectly into the sockets.

This will cause your dog to limp. To treat hip dysplasia, there are a few non-surgical interventions that can be used. These include stem cell therapy, medication, or hip modification surgeries.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia, and it is caused by an anatomical misalignment.

Bone Disease

Diseases such as bone cancer are more likely to affect large breed dogs as they are more prone to bone diseases. You will notice that your dog has trouble walking as it seems to be very painful.

Your dog may not want to put any weight on the leg because of this pain. This is an instance where you should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment to take place.

What To Do If My Dog Is Limping But Has No Pain To Touch?

Sometimes your dog may have a limp but does not cry when you touch him on the leg he is limping on.

If your dog does not show any sign of pain but continues to limp it could mean that he is not seriously injured or is attempting to hide the pain.

There is no reason why he would try to hide the pain from you as animals usually act on instinct.

If your dog has a serious injury and is limping, chances are he would be in a lot of pain. If you try to touch the affected area he would wince or even respond aggressively.

You may notice that your dog is not putting any weight on a certain limb, and you will need to take him to the veterinarian as soon as you can.

If he is in pain it is not a good idea to give him painkillers until you know exactly what is wrong. Especially painkillers that were meant for humans, and were not prescribed by your veterinarian.

Why Is My Puppy Limping But Not Crying?

Sometimes your dog may have a limp but show no signs of pain. this is a good sign because it means that the problem is not serious. if your dog is limping and the situation is serious then he would be in some type of pain.

Most likely your puppy is experiencing some sort of muscle sprain which would heal on its own. If you allow your puppy to rest the sprain will heal after only a few days.

If it is not his, and he is still limping then you can visit the veterinarian.

Your puppy may get confused by a painful situation and would not be able to hide the pain from you as well as an adult dog.

So if the pain is involved then you need to take the situation a bit more seriously.

Should I Take My Dog To The Vet If He’s Limping?

Whenever your dog is limping you need to make a proper assessment of the situation because some injuries and conditions are more serious than others.

Some issues can wait until the next day and others should be handled immediately. You can tell by the way your dog is coping with the situation.

If he eats and drinks normally and is not in pain then you can wait until the next day.

The other thing you should do is and look at the leg carefully and decide if the situation is dire.

If the leg is hot, swollen, cracked, or dislocated then your dog should be taken to the emergency room immediately.

If you fail to do this your dog may suffer even further complications such as internal bleeding or infections.

The course of treatments used by your veterinarian will depend on the results of the physical exam as well as the complete diagnostic.

Your veterinarian may prescribe simple periods of rest for your dog for minor issues. However, for more serious conditions you may be given anti-inflammatories, pain medication, physical therapy, or even surgery. 

How Do I Know If My Dog’s Limping Is Serious?

The first thing you should do is examine your dog’s joints and bones to see if there was any in when you touch it. You should also look for any areas of swelling and also see if there is pain when you touch it.

The next thing you should do is look at the paws to see if there is an object stuck in it like broken glass or nails. This would be sure to cause limping and pain.

If you cannot find a problem like that then you need to visit the veterinarian if the limp does not go away. The veterinarian will be able to run certain sites like MRT or X-rated that will give of what happened to your day. 

Myths About Limping

As a human, if you start limping or have pain in one of your limbs you may automatically think that you pulled a muscle or had a strain.

But for dogs this is a rare occasion, you should be concerned about a limp that your dog develops. Contact your veterinarian if the limp persists.

Limping is Not a Cause for Concern – Many believe that limping is no big deal, but it should be handled like a medical problem. If your dog has a limp for a prolonged time, it can be quite damaging to them and cause even further problems.  They may develop arthritis who tear their  ACL.

A limp may eventually go away – If your dog has something stuck in his paw then it may become infected. While the foreign object is still stuck inside the flesh it will not be able to heal properly. There could also be other underlying issues that need medical attention. 

Pain Meds Help With Limping – Pain medication may treat the symptoms of the injury but would not treat the injury or underlying issue itself. Ensure that any pain medication you give your dog is approved by the veterinarian to ensure that it is safe. 

Final Words

There are many reasons why your dog could be limping whether they are clear to you or not. Sometimes the limping is gradual, so you need to pay close attention to your dog.

Don’t be afraid to visit a veterinarian who can provide the best advice on how to proceed. Whether the issue is minor or severe getting your dog checked out professionally is always advised.

Allow your dog to rest to see if the limping goes away after examination and make sure that your dog is not in pain.

Over-the-counter medications may not be appropriate for your dog so make sure that all his drugs are approved by the vet.

It can be a lot for anyone dealing with a dog who may be in trouble. But with a bit of patience, you can navigate this ordeal. 

About the author

Adriana

Adriana has been around dogs since she was a little kid. It all started with growing up with a German Shepherd Lord and an English Cocker Spaniel Bady. Her dream job has always been becoming a veterinarian. She has been taking care of animals all of her life and she wants to share her experience with other dog lovers.