First aid for the limping dog

A dog can limp for various reasons. Walking without putting weight on one limb is one of the tricks that can be learned by the pet. But we are aware that dogs are very active animals and they also have high prey drives thus injuries that would cause the dog to limp can happen. A sprain, a stone that was lodged between the dog’s toes, a thorn that was embedded on the dog’s paws would make walking difficult for the pet. The pain caused by a broken nail would make a dog limp. Limping that is caused by these conditions is not serious so that the dog will be able to walk normally even without treatment.

Other cases of limping though would need treatment. The reason why the dog is limping may be serious enough to warrant urgent medical attention lest it results to permanent walking disability. Limping is more common in large breeds of dogs as the weight of the body makes it easy for paw, the foot or the fragile leg to get injured. Dogs are playful and energetic animals thus cuts on the paws and legs, sprain and torn ligaments can occur while the dog is doing its normal activities.

Administering first aid is part and parcel of being a dog owner as these animals often sustain injuries because of their active lifestyle. Ignoring the dog’s condition can lead to irreparable damage that would debilitate the pet for life. Emergency care can save the pet from the pain as well. Fortunately, unlike other injuries that would not be easily apparent, limping would be easily noticed by the owner.

The first reaction of a caring dog owner is to see what is wrong with the pet. The paw, foot and leg must be thoroughly examined for cuts, swelling and other abnormalities. Debris and foreign objects stuck between the toes must be removed. It is necessary to manipulate the toes and the joints of the foot. The dog would yelp if the sprained foot is manipulated. A cut paw can be the reason for the dog’s limping.

The dog’s wound must be thoroughly washed. Sterile gauze must be used to bandage the wound after an antibiotic ointment is applied. A limping dog may have fractures or dislocated bones. Setting fractures and realigning dislocated joints must never be attempted by the dog owner. Only vets and qualified people can manage these kinds of injuries. However, the dog owner can prevent further damage by splinting the injured foot with rolled newspaper or with a flexible wire that can be bent into the shape of the dog’s foot. Wrapped in gauze or a strip of cloth, the splint will immobilize the injured foot to prevent further damage.

Learn more about limping as well as first aid for dogs at Sarah’s Dogs.

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