My Dog Limps After Playing Or Exercising; Why? Answered

My Dog Limps After Playing Or Exercising; Why? Answered

Dogs are mostly very active. Most importantly, when they’re playing. So why does your dog limps after playing or exercising? Are they tired? Or is it a medical condition? Is he in pain? That’s what we are going to find out today.

So, why does your dog limps after playing or exercising? One possible reason is that they are tired. But there are many other reasons, such as Osteoarthritis, Hip Or Elbow Dysplasia, sprains, or injuries. 

Injuries and tiredness are nothing to worry about. But, if some illness in your pet is gradually depleting his musculoskeletal system, you should check him with your veterinarian right away because their limbs are the ones that hold your pet upright.

If something happens to them, and the doggo loses his movements, or if it’s too painful to move, he’ll get into a sorrowful situation. 

As I mentioned, dogs love being active, running around, exploring their surroundings, and playing with loved ones. So if he lost his ability to move around, walk or run, we’d never know how sad it would make his life. 

So let’s check out why dogs are limping after being active because that could be the first stage of something severe.

Why Does My Dog Limp After Playing?

Even though dogs limp on many occasions, the fact that they cannot express themselves to us will leave us wondering why our pet is limping.

But, we ordinary dog parents struggle to understand the underlying cause most of the time. So, it’s helpful to have some insight before rushing to the vet.

So why does your dog limp after playing?

  • Something Might Have Pricked His Paw 

If you were playing outside, there’s a possibility that something sharp such as a glass shard or a thorn, pricked or cut his paw pads.

Even though your dog has some rough and tough sole pads, sharp things can still puncture him.

Check thoroughly for any cuts or thorns stuck on his paw. If there is, you could simply remove it with a tweezer and clean the injury. 

  • Tired 

If you were playing with your pet vigorously for a long time, he might be exhausted. Running or playing fetch could stretch muscles or injure his claws as well.

If you feel like your doggy is spent, please give him a break and supply some water to cool his body down. The same thing could happen during exercises as well.

  • Issues Related To Age 

When dogs reach the eve of their lives, their bodies will weaken, just like humans. Their muscles and bones will be stiff, too.

And conditions like osteoarthritis are common among canines. Therefore be cautious of his age too. 

Is It Normal For Dogs To Limp After Exercise? 

Exercise is usually tiring for anybody. So it’s the same for dogs. We discussed the natural causes of dogs’ limps after playing or exercising.

Now, let’s see medical conditions which could make your doggo limp.

When puppies get old, their muscles and bones stiffen up or break down. It could cause pain when the dog is walking and finally make him limp.

  • Dislocated Knee 

Also known as Patella Luxation, this condition occurs when the dog’s knee’s ball and the joint are not properly grown. It’ll make the knee jump out of the socket.

This disorder is passed down through genes, and severe conditions should be treated with surgery.

  • Spinal Cord Issues 

Intervertebral Disk Raptures could cause your dog to lose the feeling of one or several limbs. It will bring pains and numbness to the doggo’s legs, too.

So if there’s pain and numb feeling while the dog is in motion, he will undoubtedly start limping. 

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For Limping?

Usually, if the doggo is limping out of tiredness from playing vigorously or after an exercise session, there’s no need to call the vet right away. He’ll be back to normal in a few minutes. 

But, if your pet is whimpering in pain or refusing to move after a decent amount of time, you should first examine him before deciding to see the doctor.

Check his soles for any injuries or sharp thorns or glass shards. Moreover, he might have injured his claws as well. 

So if he winces in pain when you’re trying to touch his nails, you’ll know that he’s injured one of his claws. Further, if there are no cuts or injuries in his soles or nails, try touching along his leg.

If he’s unwilling to let you check him out, is trying to pull back his paw, or is in pain, you’ll need to see a vet.

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

As I explained before, if it’s just a mild soreness in the legs after playing or exercising, the pet should be back to normal within a few minutes. When his tiredness dissipates, he’ll start walking normally once again. 

But if the dog continues to occasionally limp, lameness, and whines when trying to move, his limb might be sprained or have a tissue injury.

Medical conditions I explained before, such as osteoarthritis, spinal cord issues, patella luxation, and hip/ elbow dysplasia, might also cause the above symptoms in your furry friend. 

If unfortunately, your beloved pooch is experiencing any of the above, you must treat him at the early stages of the disease before it worsens.

Or else, your doggo could lose his ability to walk or run altogether, which will be painful and sad to him and you both. Therefore, you need to closely monitor when your dog limps after playing. 

If you’re seeing red flags, take medical advice as soon as possible. So what do you do when your dog limps after playing? Let others know your methods of relieving your pet from limping.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed. Have a wonderful 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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