specialty veterinarian careers winter haven fl

Why Is My Dog Limping Suddenly in Winter Haven, FL?

If you are a dog owner, you know your dog well. You can recognize the moment something isn’t quite right with him, and you might even notice him limping before it gets too serious. But what could cause your dog to start limping suddenly in the first place? Is this something you should be worried about?

dog limping suddenly in winter haven, fl

In this article, we’ll show you some of the most common reasons why a dog might start suddenly limping. With this information, you can determine whether or not your dog’s limp is something that might require a trip to the vet or emergency vet. Read on to learn more.

Minor Sprains or Cuts

Sprains can cause slight limping in dogs, just like they can in humans. There are many muscles your dog can sprain that could lead to potential limping, and some are more severe than others.

Very bad limps may also be caused by torn ligaments or tendons, especially if your dog is very active.

Cuts can also lead to limping, especially if the cut is on the bottom of your dog’s foot or paw pad. Some dogs are simply more sensitive to cuts and scrapes than others, so keep this in mind as well.

Toenail Problems

Some dogs may start limping for something as simple as a toenail issue. Dogs’ toenails are quite sensitive, and they can sometimes develop problems that cause a lot of pain.

For example, a torn toenail may cause a dog to limp because of the pain and swelling present. Rarely, dogs may rip the toenail completely out accidentally, which can be very painful and can get infected.

If you think your dog has ripped out his toenail, he will need to go to the vet as soon as possible, but this isn’t an emergency. He may need medication, however, to fully treat the problem.

Broken Bone

Your dog’s limp may be caused by a broken bone, in which case you will need to take him to the vet or emergency vet right away. If your dog has a broken bone, you will likely be able to tell by looking at the leg or foot. You may also be able to tell by any exterior wounds or swelling present.

Broken bones may occur in the upper or lower leg, but they can also happen in the hip, foot, or even the toes. The severity of the broken bone may cause your dog to limp in different ways, so pay attention to the signs and tell your vet everything you can.


Dogs who develop arthritis later on in life may start to limp from the pain and inflammation related to this disease. If you notice your dog limping more often when he first gets out of bed after napping, this is most likely a sign that he has arthritis.

Although arthritis is common in older dogs, it isn’t completely unmanageable. Take your dog to the vet as soon as you can to discuss treatment options and figure out if your dog needs pain relievers to help him with his arthritis pain as well.

At VHA, we offer veterinary acupuncture and underwater treadmill therapy for pets that struggle with arthritis. These are both excellent alternatives that are easier on pets and are proven to help alleviate pain quicker than traditional methods.

Insect or Snake Bite

If your dog is bitten or stung by an insect or snake, he may develop a limp for a short time. This most commonly happens if the offending insect or snake bites your dog on the paw pad or lower leg, but it can happen if your dog is bitten elsewhere on the leg, too.

Dogs may limp from bites and stings even if they aren’t caused by venomous creatures. Closely look at your dog’s feet and legs to see if you notice signs of an underlying cause like this, and keep an eye on him for further symptoms.


Most of the time, if a tumor is large enough your dog’s leg or hip to cause limping, you will probably be able to see or feel it.

However, this isn’t always the case, and some tumors may be more deeply embedded within the dog’s body but still contribute to his limp.

If you think your dog may have a tumor, you will need to have it checked by the vet as soon as you can. It may be cancerous, but it could be a benign fatty tumor.

Our oncology team at VHA is one of the best in the nation and we are able to offer chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and metabolic therapies to help your pet’s fight against cancer. You can learn more about our veterinary specialty services here or you can call us with any questions you have.

When In Doubt, Call Your Vet in Winter Haven, FL

Now that you know a little bit more about sudden limping in dogs, you can figure out whether or not you need to take your dog to the vet for his limp.

Some causes of limping may not require immediate vet attention, but other causes can be more serious and might need assistance quickly.

If you have any questions about your dog’s condition, be sure to contact your vet right away. The vet may be able to give you more information over the phone to determine whether or not to bring your dog in for his limp.

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About Veterinary Healthcare Associates

Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL, was established over 30 years ago as Maxwell Animal Clinic by Dr. John Maxwell. Maxwell Animal Clinic was a one-doctor general practice offering preventive care, dentistry, and standard surgical services to the community. As the years passed, Maxwell Animal Clinic evolved into a thriving 10-doctor general, specialty referral, and emergency veterinary practice.