Dog Lifts Back Leg When Running? FAQ's Answered

Dog Lifts Back Leg When Running? FAQ’s Answered

Every pet owner loves to see their pets happy and healthy, even though we can never predict or stop sudden misfortunes from happening. Once it does, we can’t stop ourselves from being over-concerned about the situation, how small or big it might be. Most dog owners highly concern when their dog lifts back leg when running or walking.

And from this article, we answer another frequently asked question that many dog owners have forwarded us.

Does your dog lift back leg when running? Even if it does not look like a big problem, your doggo might be in pain. However, if he has been doing this for a long time, i.e., Since puppyhood, it might not be a significant concern. But, if your dog lifts its back leg when running, you might suddenly need a professional opinion. 

Let’s dive in deep and find-out answers for the other frequently asked questions relating to dog’s limps.

Why does my dog lift one leg up?

I suppose that you have seen dogs limping before. I have seen many dogs with broken limbs limping in pain. And believe me, as a dog parent, it’s a sorrowful sight to come across. If your dog starts lifting his back leg while running or walking, don’t just ignore it. 

First up, you must recognize if this limping is new or not. Some dogs do it out of habit, especially while running. Perhaps they have a history of limping from a young age.

If that is the case, there might not be anything for you to worry about. But if he started crawling out of the blue, it might hint that your fluff ball is in pain. 

Let us tell you several occasions why your dog lifts his back leg when running. 

One, your pet might have a paw or leg injury. Dog’s sole or leg might have had a cut from a sharp glass shard or a thorn. It could even be an animal sting, a broken toenail, or a burn caused by hot pavements which doggo walked on. 

There are mainly two types of limping; gradual-onset-limping and sudden limping. In either case, it might be a hint of a health concern, as we discussed before.

And you must keep an eye out and seek medical advice as soon as possible if things get out of control.

  • Gradual onset limping: This limping happens when your puppy starts getting the limp slowly over time. 
  • Sudden limping: If your dog started limping instantaneously due to an injury (most of the time), it’s sudden limping.

Why is my dog limping and still running around? 

The occasion of your dog’s limping tells a vast story about why he’s limping. If your dog lifts back leg when running or walking, it could hint at sore muscles, a wound, bruise, a wounded toenail, a sharp object pierced somewhere on the leg, or a rapture or a sprain.

These are very common among active dogs, and it’s not a surprise if your dog hurt himself while playing. 

But still, even though most of the above might look innocent or harmless, they could hurt your pet with immense pain.

Thereby, at first, you could start with some simple first aid, especially if a cut or a wound causes the limping. If it’s properly cleaned and tended, the scars won’t infect, and your doggo will quickly return to normal. 

But if it’s a rapture or a sprain, you wouldn’t have many options other than hurrying your pet to the vet. 

And there’s one more thing we should let you know. Many dogs ignore their pains out of the greed to have fun and play.

If the dog still runs with his limping leg, you might want to cut down some of the activity to save any more injuries or worsen the one he’s sporting. 

I found that limiting the area he could roam around was most effective when I was treating a limp leg on my pet doggo.

Or, if that doesn’t work, restraining him to a house collar or a kennel will be the next best option. They might look uncool, but the sooner he gets well, the better.

Why does my dog lift it’s back leg when running?

As we mentioned earlier, why your dog lifts back leg when running may be a Simple Condition: Sprained paws or a Cut on his sole; or it could also be the condition Called Patellar luxation.

Here, Patella in the dog’s leg is unstable and gets displaced either inside the knee or outside. They are named Medial Patellar Luxation and Lateral Patellar Luxation, respectively.

When that happens, the doggo’s kneecap could move out of place – Causing the dog a sudden pain and discomfort. 

This condition mainly occurs in small dog breeds but has a chance to happen in a large dog’s leg. An overweight dog is more vulnerable to Patellar luxation.

And we must highlight that if you don’t treat the condition correctly and accordingly, there’s a high chance of arthritis as the dog ages. 

This medical situation has grades for its Severity From phase I to IV. While the doctor can treat grade I Patellar luxation medically, other stages require surgery.

Moreover, your best friend will be tracked up correctly with the minimal hassle if your veterinarian excels in diagnosing the luxated Patella before complications, such as arthritis.

If not, arthritis will grow, giving your dog severe pain and finally disabling his movements altogether. 

Why does my dog run or bunny hops with hind legs together?

Another concerning situation that arises when answering “why does a dog lift back leg when running” is when he runs with his hind legs together.

Most of the time the dog uses both his hind legs when running and hops like a rabbit. The most Common cause of that is Hip Dysplasia. Some dogs are born with genetic Hip Dysplasia, while some pups get it gradually. 

Like Patellar luxation, Hip dysplasia could also make a path for arthritis in dogs. Bunny hopping and limping are two of the most common symptoms of Hip Dysplasia.

Generally, with some patience from your side, you could bring your doggie’s legs back to normal with acupuncture, exercise, supplements, and weight management. But many dog parents have to resort to surgery as a desperate option. 

Most leg problems occur due to poor weight management, especially in the hind legs, because the back limbs support most of the doggy’s body.

And as a method of relaxation to ease out the pain and discomfort, the dog closes his back togs together or Starts running /hopping like a bunny.

The point we have to highlight when answering FAQs such as “why dog lifts back leg when running?” is to manage the meals and nutrients you provide your pet daily.

It must not be less or not more than necessary. By keeping the weight in check, you can avoid many joint-related problems in dogs. As we always urge you, never postpone taking professional advice if you’re concerned.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts. Have a nice day!


  • Sofia Williams

    Sofia W. is a professional dog trainer who completed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA) certifications. Also, she has completed the Pet Nutrition Coach Certification. Sofia is interested in creating nutritious food formulas for dogs to give them a longer and healthier life. She believes food and training are a collective combination of a healthy dog. So, she is with us to share her expertise and knowledge with other dog parents.

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