What Should I Do About My Dog’s Swollen Leg?

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Having the ability to recognize the signs that your dog is ill is crucial in your role as a pet parent. In the event that your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, including but not limited to an itching ear, limping, or a swollen limb, it is imperative that you recognize the problem and take your pet to the doctor as soon as possible.

Any kind of swelling is abnormal. The swelling of your dog’s leg may be a sign of illness. Swelling is a common sign of an underlying health problem, such as an accident or sickness. Depending on the reason, the swelling of your dog’s limb may be sudden and severe or it may develop gradually over time. Swelling is a medical condition that requires veterinary attention; how to treat a dog’s swollen leg will vary depending on the underlying cause. In this piece, we’ll go over some of the most typical causes of a swollen dog leg, as well as when you should take Fido to the doctor.

Factors That May Have Contributed To My Dog’s Swollen Leg

You should take your dog to the doctor as soon as possible so that he or she can identify the cause of the swelling in your dog’s leg and begin appropriate therapy. Swelling in your dog’s leg might be caused by a number of different things, including:


Sprains, dislocations, joint and hip trauma, muscle rips, and paw injuries are the most prevalent causes of leg edema in dogs. When a joint is injured, fluid accumulates around the bones of the joint, causing the joint to swell. If your dog has a sprain, swelling might appear on their paw or elsewhere along their leg. Injuries manifest in a wide variety of ways, and these symptoms might be any of the following:

  • Limping
  • Favoring one leg over the other
  • Whining
  • Soreness
  • Redness and irritation

You may have an emergency on your hands if you see your dog exhibiting any of the aforementioned symptoms in addition to extreme edema. The likelihood of a break or sprain increases if your dog is favoring a paw or limb that it isn’t using. And if Fido is whimpering, it might mean they’re in a lot of discomforts.


Dogs often suffer from allergies to things like treats, food, dust, pollen, and even bug stings. If your dog’s leg is swollen, you may want to think about what changes you’ve made recently. If you’ve been feeding your dog anything new, like treats, it’s possible that it’s become allergic to one of the components. It’s also possible that your dog has developed an allergy to the new surroundings or pollen in the region if you’ve begun bringing them somewhere new to play. Insect bites and stings may also lead to localized edema in the limb. Your dog’s leg can swell where it was bitten by a mosquito or stung by a bee, for instance. More allergy symptoms might include:

  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Redness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Irritated ears
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Constant licking

To treat your dog’s allergies, your doctor will first need to identify the allergens it is reacting to. Your vet will most likely undertake allergy testing, so it’s crucial to provide them as much background information as you can. If you have recently altered your dog’s food or level of exercise, for instance, you should inform your veterinarian. Depending on what your dog is sensitive to, you may treat his allergies with pills or ointments. You may also try using a cold compress to ease your pet’s discomfort.


Swelling on your dog’s leg might be a sign of a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic illness. Limping, redness, soreness, and swelling in the joints are just some of the other symptoms that may result from a tick bite, in addition to lameness.

Autoimmune Disease

Leg swelling in dogs may also be brought on by immune system problems. A lack of essential vitamins and minerals from a poor diet may also play a role in the development of these ailments. Inflammation of the joints is a common symptom of autoimmune illnesses, which may develop as a result of aging.

Leg swelling may be caused by organ, joint, and tendon inflammation in autoimmune illnesses such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


Your dog’s risk of developing a swollen leg may also be increased by the negative effects of certain drugs. A common side effect of corticosteroids used to treat allergies is bloating and edema in the lower extremities. 2 Leg edema is another side effect of several nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), albeit this does not occur in all dogs taking these drugs. Do not delay in informing your vet if your dog has a response to medicine, including swelling. Your dog will instead begin a new course of treatment prescribed by your vet.


Dogs may have limb edema due to medical conditions affecting the joints and bones. A dog’s limb swelling might be only one of several symptoms of an underlying ailment. In addition to maybe whimpering, your dog’s disease might cause him to be lame and in discomfort.

Although older canines are more likely to develop arthritis, any dog is at risk of developing this degenerative joint disease. Joint swelling or bone spurs lead to the increased fluid surrounding the joints, which leads to arthritis. Some of the other signs that your dog has arthritis are:

  • Stiffness
  • Licking legs and paws
  • Soreness when standing and sitting
  • Lameness
  • Difficulty climbing stairs and walking

Veterinary Care and When You Need It

If you detect swelling or any other signs that are adversely influencing your dog’s everyday life, you should get him to the doctor as soon as possible so he can make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the right therapy.

Furthermore, if your dog is experiencing uncontrolled bleeding or exhibiting indications of anaphylaxis, you should rush him or her to the closest emergency clinic. In dogs, symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting and diarrhea


Your veterinarian’s diagnosis is the initial step in therapy. If your dog has a swollen leg, your veterinarian will inspect it and ask you questions about the dog’s health and any previous injuries in order to determine the reason. Your veterinarian may also do a lameness test to evaluate the health of your pet’s skeletal muscles and joints.

The cause of the swelling should be determined prior to any therapy. Your veterinarian may recommend an NSAID like carprofen to assist alleviate your dog’s discomfort and inflammation. But you should never medicate your pet without first discussing it with your physician.

The Dog Has a Swollen Leg: Frequently Asked Questions

My dog has a swollen leg; what should I give him?

Over-the-counter pain relievers intended for humans should never be given to a dog. When in doubt about whether or not it is okay to give your dog human medication, consult your veterinarian. In addition, only a veterinarian can advise you on the appropriate dosage for your dog. A swollen leg in your dog is a warning sign that something is wrong; your dog is probably in discomfort as a result of the swelling. Do not attempt self-treatment; rather, see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Why isn’t my dog’s swelling going down?

Going to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your dog’s edema is your best bet. Self-diagnosis and treatment of a pet medical emergency may be disastrous.

Are swollen legs helped by walking?

Be careful while walking a dog with a swollen limb, even though walking might help pump fluid out of the leg and decrease swelling. Take your dog for a shorter stroll and keep an eye on them if they have to use the restroom. For guidance on how much exercise is appropriate for your pet, including whether or not to walk the dog while it has a swollen leg, consider seeing your veterinarian.