Why Is My Dog Suddenly Limping And Lethargic?

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Limping And Lethargic?

Being lethargic and limping are some of the frequent symptoms of a sick dog. It essentially means that they are in pain or have lost the function of a body part. So any lameness indicates that there’s an illness or injury. If your dog is suddenly limping and lethargic, this article will provide all the answers you seek.

So, Why is my dog suddenly limping and lethargic? There are simple causes for this, such as a cut on foot, damaged toenails, etc. In the worst-case scenario, this behavior may come from arthritis, bone fracture, dislocation or luxation of a joint, bone tumors, etc. Either way, you need to contact your pet’s doctor immediately if this persists. 

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Limping And Lethargic?

Lethargy or inactiveness is something that follows any physical pain. Just like you and I can’t like to be active when there’s even the slightest pain, dogs do the same thing. 

After a long and strenuous physical exertion, your doggo will limp for a moment until she gets back her strength.

She’ll stagger while walking even when there’s a cut on the foot or a damaged toenail. Then you can provide her some water or clean the cut or the toenail and apply some ointment for the injuries.

But in the worst cases, as we discussed above, when a dog is suddenly limping and lethargic, you’ll have to seek a veterinarian’s care for your pet. 

Let me explain a few of the medical conditions responsible for this.

  • Arthritis

Is your doggo girl in the prime of her age?

Is she limping now? 

Is she too lazy to be active or walk here and there like before? 

Does she look like she is in pain?

Then there’s a possibility of her having arthritis. When a pooch gets arthritis, it means that her joints are inflamed and are causing much discomfort and pain.

Therefore the doggo will be limping whenever she walks. Severe cases will decrease or cease her movements altogether.

  • Bone Tumors 

There are several types of bone tumors in dogs. Osteosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, liposarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and metastatic tumors are only a handful of them.

Their clinical signs depend on the type and the site of cancer. Yet, if it’s in one of her legs, discomfort, limping, and lethargy are common signs. 

The vet will have to take x-rays, blood tests, and physical examinations to make the diagnosis. After that, treatment will be apparent.

At the same time, in severe conditions, surgical removal and amputation will be necessary to minimize the further spread of the tumor.

  • Bone Fracture 

When a bone is broken, it heals naturally. But there’s no guarantee that it will recover properly and quickly.

Doctors often turn toward surgeries to rebuild the fracture with screws, pins, and plates to accelerate and help this healing process.

  • Dislocation Or Luxation

Like in joint dislocations, dogs with locations will endure slip-outs of the particular joint.

But unlike in natural dislocations, luxation will frequently occur, giving the doggo an immense pain in the limb. Generally, for care, it needs surgeries most of the time.

Is A Dog Limping An Emergency?

Limping would not cost your dog her life right away most of the time. So it’s not an emergency.

Yet, if you think there might be an underlying illness causing the limp and lethargy-ness, you should get a doctor to check your doggo, not immediately. Still, soon. 

A quick and efficient diagnosis is always the key to proper medication and a fast cure. Especially diseases like bone cancers need a prompt diagnosis.

That will at least buy your pet some extra time to enjoy her life.

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet If She Is Limping?

Yes. It’s not an emergency. But when a dog suddenly limping and lethargic, when should you see the veterinarian? Let us tell you. 

When your puppy is suddenly limping and lethargic and doesn’t get better, it’s high time you take your girl to the doctor; because a vet has the knowledge and experience about the tests to carry out the diagnosis.

Moreover, as I explained before, a quick diagnosis is always the key to a fast recovery. 

Keep an eye on your baby for the next 24-48 hours, If she doesn’t look to be in a severe condition. Or else you need to take her to the pet clinic right away, especially if she’s whining and in pain.

What Can I Do When My Dog Is Lethargic And Limping?

Always before we go to the vet for our pet’s illnesses, we will at least try one or two home remedies to ease her dog’s discomfort.

It will be the first aid for a suddenly limping and lethargic puppy. If you’re wondering what and how you could help your pet at home, let us help you figure it out.

  • First Check Out What’s Wrong With The Pet

Now that you’re well aware that there’s something wrong with your girl, first fully understand what that is. Check the infected area thoroughly and make sure there are no injuries.

If a cut or an injury is the cause of this sudden change of behavior, you could apply some cream and a bandage to cover the bruise. 

  • Massage The Area Gently With An Ice Pack

Ice Packs Are Generally used to comfort muscle pains. Therefore there’s no harm in applying an ice pack over the affected area. It will bring down the pain and numb the affected limb. 

  • Give Her Some Rest 

If a dog suddenly limping and lethargic, she should not put any strain on her body or limbs. Therefore, to minimize the situation from worsening further, make sure she rests appropriately.

  • Take Her On Gentle Strolls

You must be taking your dog out for a walk at least once a day to get exercise and relieve her business. But now that she’s ill, you need to take good care of her during this daily walk.

Don’t run or engage in routine exercises while the dog is still limping. Instead, let her take her time and decide when she needs to return home.

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


  • 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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