Have you ever noticed your dog limping after sleeping? There are many reasons why your furry friend may be limping after laying down, and luckily, not all are a cause for concern. Your dog may simply be stretching or trying to wake a dead leg, but in many cases, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition.
Even if your dog’s limp may be nothing, it’s still essential that you know what the signs and symptoms are for serious health conditions. Your dog can’t tell you if they’re feeling pain, so it’s up to you to observe if your dog is displaying a severe health issue or not.
In this article, we’ll tackle the most common issues why your dog may be limping after sleeping.
Common Reasons Why Your Dog Limps After Sleeping
Here are the most common reasons why your dog may be limping after lying down:
1. Your Dog is Stretching
If your dog has just woken up, it may be stretching its legs. Dogs stretch with their front paws stretched out in front of them and slightly dragging their hind legs, making it seem like they’re limping or their legs are lame.
However, after a few seconds, you’ll notice their legs are back to normal and not limping at all.
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2. Your Dog Has Dead Legs
Just like humans, sometimes, our legs “fall asleep” after being pressed or having a certain weight on top of it. A blood vessel or nerve may have been squeezed for an extended period, and this causes the limbs to become numb.
This can also happen with dogs’ limbs when they wake up. You will notice your dog licking or touching its dead leg as if attempting to wake it up. After a few seconds or minutes, you’ll see your dog will start to move its dead leg and go on about its day.
If your dog’s limbs are numb or if your dog is limping as soon as it wakes up but is back to normal after a few seconds, there is no need to worry. This can be a case of dead leg syndrome, or your dog may simply be stretching and dragging its hind legs.
But, this shouldn’t happen every day, and it shouldn’t last for more than a few minutes. If your dog continues to limp throughout the day and it occurs over a period of time, you might need to call the vet about it.
Possible Health Issues of a Dog Limping After Sleeping
While limping after waking up can mostly be expected in dogs, there are some signs and symptoms that are causes for worry. A limp or lameness in the legs can signify a more severe health issue, and these are some of the most common reasons:
1. Arthritis or Joint Disease
Arthritis and other joint diseases are some of the most common reasons why your dog may be limping after sleeping. Arthritis causes the legs to swell, and moving it after your dog has fallen asleep can be painful, and thus, the reason for the limp.
Arthritis and joint diseases are common in senior dogs, and they can also happen in young dogs. In fact, 3 out of 5 dogs experience early signs of joint issues. Orthopedic dog beds can make dogs who suffer from arthritis comfortable and may reduce the instances of limping.
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2. Paw Injury
Active dogs can get a lot of small objects between their paws, which can also be why they try to limp after waking up. While this may be trivial, if the thing stays between your dog’s paws, it can cause cuts, bruises, and a paw injury.
Dogs that walk on rough or hot surfaces can also suffer from paw injuries. In such cases, it would be best to check your dog’s paws to see if there are stuck objects between them. If you think your dog suffered from an injury due to a rough surface, you should bring it to the ER.
3. Ligament Injury
If your dog is young and active, they are used to running around, and a ligament injury can be expected. It can be challenging to say your dog has a ligament injury, but you can gently press your dog’s legs, hips, knees, and tigs to see if anything is swollen. If your dog reacts in pain, it might have a ligament injury that’s causing it to limp after sleeping.
4. Bone Cancer
Also known as osteosarcoma, is defined as having a malignant tumor in the bones. It primarily affects your dog’s long bones, i.e., its legs, and will cause your dog to limp due to the pain.
Check if your dog also suffers from a reduced appetite, lethargy, and reluctance to walk or play. Limping, expressions of pain and changes in behavior can be signs of cancer.
5. Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia can cause your dog to limp because the abnormal formation of the hip socket will make your dog’s leg unstable. It is a hereditary problem that’s not always noticeable, but it does occur when your dog is older.
If your dog’s limp doesn’t go away, it’s time you bring it to the vet. If your dog is clearly in pain and showing other symptoms like vomiting, doesn’t have any appetite, or is lethargic, it might be a better idea to bring your dog to the ER.
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If your dog is limping after it wakes up, but the limp disappears after a few seconds or minutes, then it might not be a reason for worry. However, if the limp drags on an entire day and occurs over several days, it may be time to bring your pet canine to the vet.
If your dog shows apparent signs of pain and lethargy, it may be an emergency, and you need to get your furry friend to the ER immediately.