Dog with Hurt Leg - What to Do?

Updated on October 26, 2013
E.T. asks from Albuquerque, NM
9 answers

I know this isn't a pet forum but I figured many of you have dogs and might be able to give me advice. I'm currently watching a friend's dog while she is out of town. Last night the dog was running around the backyard with a neighbor's dog and ran full tilt into a string of lights that was plugged into the wall. The lights basically closelined her leg at her knee. She immediately started whining and was in obvious pain. After a few minutes she calmed down and limped around the yard putting some weight on the leg but not using it normally. She has a small cut where she hit the string of lights, but that is the only obvious sign of trauma. My neighbors are all dog people and said she looked fine so I didn't rush her to the vet's. I took her for a short walk last night and she alternately limped and walked with only three legs. I put Neosporin on the cut and she slept normally through the night. Today she's mostly hopping around on three legs, and acting a bit lazier than normal. But she put weight on it when we went for a walk outside, again alternating between using three legs and limping. I've checked her leg all over and she doesn't show any pain when I press on and around the cut.

So my question is... is this typical of a cut/bump for a dog? At what point do I bring her to the vet? Do I give her another day or two to see if she starts walking more normally again? What would you do if this was YOUR dog? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks all. As with every question on Mamapedia, after reading the answers you realize you should have provided more information. My friend is unreachable while traveling so I have to make this decision on my own. We just went for another walk and she put weight on her leg 75% of the time, so it seems she's getting better. I'm going to hold off on the vet until tomorrow if she's still limping.

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

First I would check her paw for cuts or glass (maybe broken lights?). If I didn't see anything, I would probably take her to the vet. If it were my dog, I'd probably give her another day. But seeing as it's someone else's dog, I'd probably take her in today.

Our dog developed a sever limp after having a minor surgery. I didn't think much of it at first. Called our vet over (she's a neighbor) and she thought it was something EXTREMELY serious. Took my dog in the next day expecting to have to make some tough decisions. Under proper lighting and with all the doctor tools, the real culprit was easy to spot...the bandages had rubbed a large blister on the side of her paw.

You never know. Better to err on the side of caution.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

There have been plenty of times when my parent's farm dogs have hurt their leg and have limped/only used 3 legs for a couple of days and then they were fine. So if it was MY dog, I would wait a couple more days before going to the vet.

However, if I were taking care of a FRIEND'S dog and this happened, I would call my friend and ask her what she wanted me to do.

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answers from Dallas on

If it were my friend's dog, I would contact my friend and let her be my guide as far as going to the vet, etc.

We have 2 Cocker Spaniels and a Toy Poodle. Our backyard is 3 tiered with stone walls. The middle Cocker will routinely jump off a wall to chase a squirrel or something. These walls are pretty high... enough that a person could easily break or severely get a strain if we fell off.

We've noticed that sometimes, the Cocker will limp after she jumps for a day or so. We did mention it to the vet at our regular visit and he said to equate it similar to us pulling a muscle if we did something like that. He did say, if she continued to limp after a couple of days, we might want to check it but with our experience so far, she has never limped more than a couple of days.

For any scratches, we do use Neosporin as well.

We did have a rare experience with a Cocker once... he ran into the door frame and did not act hurt at all but the next day he was in extreme pain and it turned out that he broke something in his back and it took a major surgery and recovery to get him back to 100%.

So if I were you, I would ask my friend what she wants you to do. If you were dog sitting for me and you called me with this question, I would ask you to watch the dog closely because it is something we do see fairly often with our dogs.

Hope that helps.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Take her to the vet now. She's hurt and the vet can help. Don't wait it out because it could get worse.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I feel the same as Victoria Rae . . . what I would do with my dog vs. what I'd do with a friend's dog are two different things.

I know my dog very well and know that she can be a bit melodramatic with certain types of injuries and will probably be fine (not that she gets injured often!). I'd give it more time.

With a friend's dog, whom I did not know as well - I think I'd be going to the vet just to be on the safe side. Of course if you can ask your friend first that would probably be best (since it's not exactly an emergency). But if the friend cannot be reached I'd probably go.

My parents watched my mini-schnoodle when we were in Europe, and I left them $200 in cash just in case they had to take her to the vet unexpectedly. And I authorized them to get treatment for her if something came up and I'd reimburse them for any remaining balance.

That's something that needs to be discussed before pet sitting if at all possible.

Good luck - hopefully she's OK.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Can you call your friend and ask her? I always take my dogs in to the vet to be on the safe side. I'm not vet, but I am an experienced, long time dog owner, and to me this sounds like a ligament issue. Even if it's nothing serious the vet can help with pain medication and anti-inflammatories. One time I thought my dog had a leg injury (severe limping after my toddler tripped over him) and a trip to the vet revealed a disc injury in his back. Fortunately, steroids and pain killers helped. I don't think that's the case here, but the moral of the story is you never know. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

if she's not bearing weight, get the dog to a vet TODAY

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

What I would do in your situation, is call the owner and ask them what THEY want you to do. If it were my dog and this happened, I would EXPECT the sitter to contact me and ask me how to handle it. Not make the decision for me.

As an owner, I would be taking my dog to the vet.



answers from Los Angeles on

If she's not better today 10/26, I'd take the dog in as you are watching your friend's dog.
Since that's your sole purpose is to watch the dog, I'd take her into the vet this morning before they close since it's a Saturday.

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