MILD LAMENESS: WAYS TO HELP A LIMPING DOG

Bevi Edlund

Adapted from an article by Bevi Edlund, on-line at Boneo Bone Health (boneo.bio-rep.com), 2015. 

If you and your vet have ruled out anything serious that requires veterinary attention, then you are dealing with mild lameness. Mild lameness may be treatable at home with the following steps:

  • Apply Light Heat or Cold. Apply a bag of frozen vegetables or heat pad (be careful not to burn your dog) to the joint to reduce inflammation. If the pain persists for more than 24 hours, or if you want to be pro-active and rule out a chronic condition, see a veterinarian for a physical examination.
  • Massage for Pain Relief. A massage can be very relaxing and soothing to a dog with inflamed joints and is thought to be a natural way to treat mild lameness. According to the Whole Dog Journal, use a natural arnica along with the massage for pain relief.
  • Avoid Carbs. Excessive carbohydrate foods (corn, wheat, rice, soy, millet and even potato) are pro-inflammatory. Look for a high-quality dog food that uses real chicken or beef as the main ingredient. This is also better for your dog nutritionally.
  • Add a Supplement. A natural bone and joint supplement can help your dog to maintain strong bones and healthy joints.
  • Restrict Movement/Crate. When the limping is acute, movement for lame dogs should be restricted for a few days. Avoid having them go up and down stairs or play/run with other dogs. If you pick up your dog, put them down carefully on all fours so that they don’t “land on the wrong leg”. Consider having them stay in a crate (with an orthopedic mat) while you are at work or sleeping. Do not let your dog sleep on the bed, as they can attempt to jump off and injure themselves further.
  • Ask Your Vet about Pain Medication. In certain cases, low doses of anti-inflammatories can be given to dogs. However, you should consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication as they can have side effects.
  • Never Exercise a Lame Dog. Limping dogs must be allowed to rest completely for a few days to several weeks. When the lameness subsides, continue rest and restrictions for another 24-48 hours. Then you can reintroduce moderate exercise like controlled walks

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