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Surprising reasons why your dog limps back his leg after laying down?

A dog might start limp back out of the blue due to some injuries or issues that you had not noticed. For example, the observation of limping after he has been laying down or sleeping would be a sign of arthritis.


As there are many different causes for this health problem in dogs, you should understand the underlying reasons and how to prevent or resolve in these situations. In the following sections, we will show you some common causes of limping back in dogs as well as preventive tips.

Why Your Dog Often Limps Back After Lying Down?

You should not confuse limping with stretching after you dog gets up. In fact, several pets will stretch the back legs straight and drag for a short time just because they have not slept in a proper position.

As a result, it puts a lot of pressure on certain blood vessels and nerves related to sensation, which eventually limits the communication between their limb and brain. And to bring back the sensation, your dogs need to stretch their leg so that the blood would flow to the limb. Thus, do not consider this as a sign of limping.

According to many veterinarians, one of the most common causes for frequent limping behaviors after lying down in dogs is arthritis, the inflammation of the tissues and joints. Even though arthritis is often considered as an old-age medical condition, younger pets can also suffer from it as this problem can affect any breed, age, gender, and size of dogs.

In most cases, if left untreated, arthritis in dogs can lead to loss of mobility, cartilage loss, and even permanent damage in joints. Apart from having trouble in getting up after lying down a short time, this disease can also manifest some symptoms, including:

  • Joint tenderness and stiffness
  • Heat and inflammation
  • Slow deliberate motion
  • Changes in gait or pace
  • Limping
  • Pain and swelling at the joints
  • Difficulty in moving: lying down, getting up, squatting, climbing, jumping, standing, or sitting.

Treatment For Arthritis In Dogs

Arthritis could be treated with glucosamine combinations, chondroitin, acupuncture, fatty acid supplement, and vitamin E. As chondroitin and glucosamine are both naturally generated by the body, there are no or little dangerous side effects to your dog.

Nevertheless, the supplement is necessary because his body is not able to generate enough amount of those two substances if arthritis occurs. In general, glucosamine helps generate new cartilage, while chondroitin prevents cartilage-destroying enzymes

Another medication that can be used to treat arthritis is non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs. These drugs helps suppress the chemical cyclooxygenase in the body of your dog, which causes joint inflammation and arthritic pain. However, there would be some risks and side effects, so you should use them carefully with frequent monitors.

When NSAIDS still don’t work, your vet might prescribe corticosteroids. These drugs could considerably reduce pain and joint inflammation, slow the loss of bone density as well as enhance damaged cartilage. However, they could also pose higher risks, particularly if applied for an extended period.

What Should You Do When Your Dog Limps Back Leg?

​Here are several steps that you should follow to find out the cause of limping back in your dog:

​Examine the limbs of your dog

If he just begins limping back, the first thing you need to do is inspecting his affected limb and looking for any signs of injury such as:

  • Insect bite
  • Splinter
  • Cut
  • Misshapen or swollen leg or foot
  • Torn toenails
  • Foreign objects stuck between his toes.

If you notice a thorn or a foreign object stuck in his paw pad, you might need to take some tweezers and try to remove it in a well-lit area. Remember to muzzle your pet for safety.

When you think that something seems to be stuck under his skin, it is a good idea to immerse his foot in the mixture of water and Epsom salts and see whether that makes the foreign objects come out.

Palpate the limps of your dog

Obviously, you should not handle his limp if there are any evidences of fracture such as protruding bones, disfiguring limb, or swelling, or when you have an aggressive German Shepherd, for example.

Otherwise, you need to look at him and feel the affected area gently to find out the causes of pain. The way each dog manifests the pain can be different: some may whimper or growl, while others may startle.

Determine whether to seek vet advice or monitor the situation

In this step, you should try to resolve your findings. If it is a cut, medication and infected prevention are required. If there is a thorn, you need to remove it. And if you are unable to find out the underlying, the best solution is to seek vet advice to know if he needs X-rays or even operation. In some cases, the limping of your dog might be not caused by a minor thing, but by an illness that would have an effect on the whole body or multiple limps.

Other Causes Of Limping In Dogs

In addition to torn nails, foreign objects, or evident cuts, there are still many possible causes of limping in dogs.


Accidents are also one of the common causes of limping in dogs. Your pet might get injured himself playing the yard or jumping out of the car. If you noticed the injury, then it is obvious to know why he is limping; but if not, it might take some time investigating the underlying causes:

  • Factures: This sign is often quite obvious to see: the leg of your dog can’t bear weight and seems swollen or deformed. In some worse cases, the bones might even protrude out of his skin, which is really painful.
  • Sprains: Just as humans, dogs also have muscle sprains that can be a result of a sudden motion while running. Sprain and limping are particularly common in working dogs. Most non-serious forms of sprain often resolve themselves within 2 days. However, you should consult your vet if the pets appears uncomfortable and painful. Resting would be a good way for recovery.

Issues in growing dogs

Large-breed puppies might develop a limp from 2 months to 2 years old as they often grow too quickly, which puts extra pressure on their muscles, cartilage, and bones. The following are some growth-related reasons for limping:

  • Pano or panosteitis: This condition often shows up in your dogs when they reach 6 to 9 months old. Normally, the marrow in their long bones will develop abnormally, which makes they unable to put their weight on the leg. Therefore, the pets would have a sudden limping without presenting any obvious injuries.
  • HOD or hypertrophic osteodystrophy: Mainly occurred in puppies from 2 to 9 months old, HOD is basically the inflammation of growth plates in dogs. This will make the joints look swollen and hot, which makes your dog lethargic, lose weight, or losing weight.
  • OCD or osteochondrosis dissecans: The OCD is often caused by the defect in your dog’s cartilage surface of the joint. In general, cartilage might come float and detached around the area of his joint. This painful condition would have an effect on the shoulder and other parts of the limb, including stifle, hocks, knee, or elbow.


Whenever you notice a sign of limping back leg in your dog, it is always better to see your veterinarian for proper advice and treatment. Do not wait until everything becomes worse as it would put your dog at risk.


Hello, friends! I am Jennifer, a 30-year-old adventure-seeking dog lover. If you are a dog lover, puppy owner or a person who want to read interesting stories about pets, then is definitely a perfect choice.

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