Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It could be due to a soft tissue injury, fracture or insect bite or sting. If the symptoms don’t improve within a couple of hours or it gets worse then you should see your vet to establish the problem and then you can treat appropriately.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Broken bones, fractures, sprains, dislocations, ligament tears, joint trauma, and spinal injuries can all cause moderate to severe limping in dogs, and in some cases the dog may not be able to put weight on the affected leg at all.
If your dog limps on and off, it may be due to joint pain common in older dogs, or it could be your dog`s ability to mask pain. If your dog is limping suddenly, a sprained ankle or impact-related injury may be present.
If your dog is limping all of a sudden, your dog has likely sustained some injury or trauma. This could range from the superficial, as a foreign object stuck in their paw or an insect bite, to deeper injuries, like a broken bone or a sprain. It`s always best to seek veterinary care sooner rather than later.
If your dog is suddenly limping on its back leg, it is important to have them seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible. There are many possible causes of sudden limping in the back leg of dogs, including a ruptured ACL, strain and sprains, IVDD, fracture/dislocation and iliopsoas muscle injury.
This is another question to ask yourself before knowing when to let your dog go. Most often, weakness and inability to move freely are clear signs that the animal needs urgent medical help or has declined to the point that it`s time to consider euthanasia or putting your dog to sleep.
A simple rule of thumb to help determine the severity of the injury is that most dogs will not walk on a broken leg, torn ligament, or dislocated joint. A good exam requires two people: one to examine the leg and one to restrain the dog. Dogs that are in pain may bite, even people they love so be cautious.
Potential causes of less sudden lameness in dogs include osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, inflammation of the bones, ligament disease and infections, all of which require veterinary attention.
Dog`s Perspective

But the more you massage his legs, the less likely it is he will sprain or strain it while out exercising. If the injury has already occurred, then a good massage will help ease the muscles, reducing the pain and helping to speed Joey`s recovery along.

Treatment for Mild Cases of Dog Limping

In some cases, pain relief and rest may be all that is needed. Veterinarians often prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories for mild to moderate pain, such as: Carprofen. Deracoxib.

Unfortunately, there are several hip and hind leg health concerns specific to the pitbull breed that can slow them down and cause discomfort. Pitbulls are prone to hip dysplasia and knee problems, such as torn ACLs/CCLs. Many have hind leg issues due to genetics, environmental factors, or a combination of the two.
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.
A dog`s inability to walk is typically due to either a problem with the dog`s joints or issues with his spinal cord. Arthritis is probably the most common reason for a dog`s inability to walk. It often develops with age, but can even occur in very young dogs.
Look at the site of the limp for signs of bleeding, to help determine if the condition is from a bite, injury, or puncture. Often if the limping isn`t serious you can watch your dog at home for between 24 & 48 hours to see if more symptoms occur or if the limp gets worse.
Dogs with a pulled muscle will have symptoms similar to those observed with a torn muscle; however, the symptoms will be milder. Things to look for when a muscle is pulled are muscle spasms, weakness, cramping, and immobility, as well as pain, bruising, and swelling.
As in humans, a dog`s bones and joints are subject to strains, sprains, dislocations, and breaks that can cause pain and limited mobility. If your dog is limping on her front paw, showing weakness on her foreleg, or you notice swelling of the ankle, it may be a front leg injury.
Symptoms of Joint Dislocation in Dogs

Typically, dogs will exhibit lameness in the affected limb, which may progress over time. Your dog may be reluctant to walk because of pain, and you may see swelling around the joint.

Rest and confinement are best for healing.

In many cases of limping, there will be no external signs. If this is the case for your dog and the limping is not severe, try to keep him quiet and comfortable. Encourage your dog to rest and do not take him for a walk or run. Do not allow your dog to exercise or jump up.

E – Exclamation of pain: If your dog is suddenly whining or crying when he moves, he`s letting you — and the world — know that he`s in pain. He may also cry out when you`re petting him. Alternately, he may bark less, just because barking is too much trouble.
Massage the Muscle

Massaging the sore area of your dog can help speed up recovery, lower pain and discomfort, improve mobility, and help your dog use their leg more comfortably. There are many resources on the internet to help teach you how to massage your dog, or you can ask your vet.

Treatment of lameness

For minor causes of lameness (sprain) restricting your dog`s exercise, or complete rest for a few days is usually adequate. If the exact cause is not known, a period of exercise reduction together with anti-inflammatories and pain killers may be required to see if the lameness improves.

Minor sprains will heal on their own, and sometimes a dog will immediately begin limping if they perceive they may be injured even if they`re not. This is kind of like a human`s reaction to hitting their funny bone. You may immediately grab your elbow but within a minute the pain and discomfort dissipate.
A bandage is a great way to protect a minor cut or injury that may not require a trip to the vet. Bandages also can be useful for more severe injuries. However, it is important to work closely with your veterinarian when you need to wrap a dog`s paw, especially for more significant injuries.
Deeper Injury or Trauma

If either sounds right and you`ve noticed sudden limping, it could be due to trauma. Dogs oftentimes ignore their bodily limits to jump from heights, sprint fast and suddenly stop, or to make a quick turn. This can lead to torn ligaments, bone fractures (broken bones), joint trauma, or sprains.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
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4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. My dog has a hard time walking on his front legs. I was told he has nerve damage and he was walking on three legs now it seems to be both front legs
ANSWER : A. Problems with walking in the front legs can be caused by a large number of things. Arthritis in older dogs can cause joint pain and stiffness which may make walking hard. Nerve or muscular damage may also cause problems.

With nerve or muscle damage there is often a loss of muscle tone in the affected limbs. Limbs may look skinnier than unaffected ones, and may lose overall muscle mass. In some cases, treatment for pain or soreness may help improve symptoms some. Depending on the severity of the damage, some dogs may recover while others have permanent damage.

It may also be that if your dog was putting all his weight on one front leg to help the other, that the good front leg is now stiff and sore. Restricting exercise, giving a supplement to help joints and bones and following your veterinarian’s recommendations for care can all help your dog to feel a little better.

Q. How do I know if my pet is overweight?
ANSWER : A. There are many ways to determine if your pet is overweight: breed standards, body condition score (BCS), body fat index (BFI), and morphometric measurements. These tools are used to determine how overweight a pet is, as well as to determine how much to feed to reach the pet’s ideal weight. Most weight loss programs fail because food dose calculations are based on inaccurate estimations of ideal body weight.

Current methods of estimating ideal body weight (body condition score/ guessing) are most likely to underestimate % body fat and therefore overestimate ideal weight, which leads to overfeeding. Pets are being overdosed on food because of inaccurate estimations of ideal body weight.

To determine body condition score it’s often helpful to have a scale from 1-5 to compare to: http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/pet-weight-score.html. This scale is based on your ability to feel or see the ribs, the size of your dog or cat’s waist, and the appearance of the abdomen.

An overweight animal can be predisposed to several health conditions including high blood pressure, arthritis, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, and hypothyroidism. This is why it is important to determine an ideal weight for your pet and work hard to maintain a healthy weight.

Q. Hello.. My jack russel has started to get a bowed front leg at the ankle and is causing him to limp quiet a lot.. Is there anything that can be done.?
ANSWER : A. It is possible an injury or deformity of the leg is causing the limp and physical changes you are seeing. Sprains, breaks, strains and even nutritional deficiencies may cause the leg to bow and pain/limping to occur. Having a vet take an X-ray and examine the leg is best to determine the cause of the changes and limp as well as the treatment needed. Casting, bed rest, and medications to treat pain may all be needed to help the leg heal. Until you can get to the vet, a regime of strict kennel rest with leashed walks only to go potty outside will help reduce any further injury to the leg and decrease pain.

Read Full Q/A … : Jack Russell FAQs Page!

Q. My pet shows weight loss and has a hard time walking, like he has lost strength in his legs and has no control to maintain balance. What’s wrong?
ANSWER : A. Loss of balance or inability to control the limbs can be caused by a wide range of problems and is usually cause for concern. Damage to the nerves or muscles can cause loss of balance, as well as neurological disease or some illnesses. Having your vet perform a complete examination is needed to determine the exact cause.

Weight loss can refer to the actual loss of fat and weight on your dog, or may also be due to the loss of muscle tone in the body. If there is a problem with one of the limbs, it may be that the weight loss you are seeing is actually loss of muscle in that area. Weight loss can again be caused by a wide range of problems from neurologic disease, illness, parasites or disease. Making an appointment with your vet is best.

Q. My Chihuahua was jumping and suddenly started whining. Now she won’t put her hind leg down, but doesn’t cry when I mess with it. Will it heal on own?
ANSWER : A. Leg injuries are very common in small dogs, especially if they have jumped from a high place, or even stumbled and landed on the leg wrong. Leg injuries can be caused by anything from minor sprains and strains, to full blown breaks or joint tears and even arthritis or luxating patellas (knee joints that slip in and out). If the leg appears swollen, dislocated or there is visible bone or bleeding, veterinary care should be sought. Providing strict kennel rest and decreased activity for a day or two can help with minor injuries, however if the limping continues for more than a day you should make an appointment with your local veterinarian.

Read Full Q/A … : Causes of Limping in Dogs

Q. My Chihuahua is 8 years old and has only had 3 legs since birth and her mother chewed one off. She needs to lose weight and I have tried everything
ANSWER : A. There are specific weight loss/metabolic diets which are very successful in encouraging weight loss if fed to recommended guidelines, whilst still allowing her to feel full and satisfied. It would be helpful to make sure she has no sponsors in the household or neighbors which are limiting her progress in her diet. An appointment with a physiotherapist may be able to outline some exercises suitable for her mobility and current weight and feeding her through a treat ball to encourage activity may also help if she is reluctant or unable to go walking. It is possible there may also be a medical condition such as Cushing or thyroid disease contributing to her weight gain/unsuccessful dieting also and blood tests would be recommended to investigate this alongside other measures of calorie reduction, improved metabolism and an exercise plan.

Q. My pit has no weight baring on front leg and whines on and off
ANSWER : A. It could be due to a soft tissue injury, fracture or insect bite or sting. If the symptoms don’t improve within a couple of hours or it gets worse then you should see your vet to establish the problem and then you can treat appropriately.

Read Full Q/A … : Causes of Limping in Dogs