6 Signs of a Sprained Leg in Dogs

Dr. Casey Smallwood

May 26, 2022

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Do you think your dog may have sprained her leg? Would you know how to tell if she had? Do you know what to do if your dog suffers a sprained leg? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions about sprained legs in dogs, or if you think your pet may be suffering from this, then you’ve come to the right place.

Leg sprains are fairly common in dogs, and especially in younger dogs who are more active than their older counterparts. By learning how to recognize the signs of sprained legs in dogs, you can figure out the best way to treat your pet’s condition and get her back on her feet in no time. Read through the article below to learn more!

If you think your dog may be suffering from a sprained leg, you should take her to the emergency vet so she can be treated properly. Even though leg sprains can be common, they can also be painful for your pet. By getting veterinary care as soon as possible, you can help make sure your pet’s pain is eased quickly.

Below are 6 signs of a sprained leg in dogs:

1. Dog Limping

Limping is one of the first signs most pet owners notice when their dogs suffer sprained legs. If your dog has suddenly started limping and you can’t see any visible injuries on her leg, paw, or body, there’s a good chance she may have sprained her leg while playing or running.

If the limp goes away within a day, you can safely assume it was caused by a mild sprain that has already cleared up. However, if it progresses, if your dog shows more concerning symptoms, or if she becomes unable to walk at all, don’t wait to take her to the vet to find out what’s wrong.

2. Swelling and Redness of the Joints

In cases of moderate to severe sprained legs in dogs, a dog’s injured leg could become very swollen. Although swelling may not occur with mild sprains, it can be a useful indication of some type of leg injury otherwise.

Redness can occur with or without swelling, although it is more likely to be found along with swelling. If you notice redness, swelling, or both around one of your dog’s joints or anywhere on her leg, she may have a sprain that is contributing to these symptoms.

3. Hiding and Whining in Dogs

Whining and hiding are both signs of pain in dogs. Whining may occur when your dog stands, walks, or otherwise tries to use the leg that has suffered a sprain. Hiding may occur when your dog feels like she is in too much pain and is afraid because of it.

Both of these symptoms are related to almost every injury, illness, and health condition dogs can experience. Therefore, if these are the only symptoms you notice and you can’t pinpoint their cause, you should take your pet to the vet for a full examination. Your vet can help you determine if your pet’s pain is from a sprain or something else entirely.

4. Unwillingness to Run or Jump

Dogs who have sprained legs are less likely to want to run and jump than they normally might be. You know your dog’s normal activity level best, so if you recognize sudden changes in her behavior, this can let you know something is wrong somewhere.

Your dog may also be unwilling to put any weight on the injured leg, which can further indicate a problem with a sprain. Other injuries and issues like arthritis and broken bones can contribute to these symptoms as well, so you should have your pet checked by a vet to rule out any other potential issues.

5. Appetite Loss

Loss of appetite is another symptom of a sprained leg in dogs. If a dog is experiencing significant pain from a sprained leg, she may be less likely to want to eat. The pain could be causing her to have some stomach upset, or she may just not be feeling very hungry because of her leg injury.

If this is the only symptom you notice, keep in mind that it may be related to a variety of other health problems aside from a sprained leg. However, if you notice this symptom in conjunction with others listed here, you may be able to narrow down a sprained or otherwise injured leg as the root cause.

6. Licking and Chewing

Dogs who are in pain are likely to focus their licking and chewing on the part of the body that hurts. If you notice your dog licking and chewing one of her joints or legs more than the others, this may indicate that she is hurting in that area.

Pay close attention to this behavior, as it can quickly lead to hot spots, which are infections on the surface of the skin.

Call VEG for Sprained Legs in Dogs

As you can see, there are many signs that may potentially indicate a sprained leg in a dog. However, most of these symptoms can also be associated with a variety of other health and wellness issues, so you may still need to take your pet to the vet to confirm the diagnosis.

If your dog is diagnosed with a sprained leg, she will need to rest until it heals properly. Your vet may also give her some mild pain relievers, depending on her pain levels and tolerance. Your dog should be back to normal soon, as long as you take good care of her!

At all of our VEG locations, we have teams of compassionate, experienced emergency veterinarians and staff who are dedicated to helping your pet in any situation. If your pet is suffering from a sprained leg in dogs, bring her to any of our locations. We’re available 24/7 to make sure your pet receives the proper care she needs.