I Need Some Limping Medical Advice Asap! Please

Isi Havanese

Active Member
My German Shepherd, Kaden was playing out by the pool today with my son, he is 15. They were playing spray the hose water right at his face and mouth. Kaden loves this , he passed on left over Pizza today while playing with him! But when he came in he looked like he was limping , later tonight it got worse, he is definitely favoring his front right leg. It looks like it got stiff after laying down and the more he is up and moving it the better it looks like he can move it. I palpated his legs and if anything it may be his right front shoulder area that he seems to be tender to touch nut nothing signifigant. Could he have slipped on the water enough to strain a muscle or pull a tendon or ligament kinda like a sprain that will get better on its own? The vet is closed until Monday morning. I am not sure whether to keep him off of it as much as possibkle or since it gets better with movement should encourage some moving and even massage it? Put ice on it? I just sprained my ankle, I am a nurse so when it comes to anumals I tend to trouble shoot and do what I would do for a human in a similiar situation. Anyone aware of any potential harm in waiting a couple days? What would a vet do anyways? I have spent a lot of money in the past on vet care that I could have easily have done myself at home in situations not totally unlike this, What can I do over the weekend? There is a 24 hour vet an hour and a half away from here, but they charge $100 off the bat for an emergency appointment then high prices for everything else they do and they want to do it all, x rays MRI's and labs etc... all at once and thney charge very high end vet prices for all of this I could easily spend over 500 or way more for this one plus they will add to all charges due to his large size for sure too.
Any help I will greatly appreciate it! Is there any pain med like Ibuprofen I could give him for pain he weighs 110m lbs.? He seems sore, not yelping and he still wants to play etc but clearly he has hurt this leg.


Staff member
I tend to take the wait and see approach when dealing with unexplained limping. If it get's continually worse, it doesn't go away, or it's not allowing him to rest, then a vet is a must.

if there is any heat, then icing would be appropriate, but no over the counter pain meds if he can rest comfortably (they can be very dangerous, and ibuprofen and Tylenol are not good for dogs, though Asprin can be used in a pinch, i think)

If the massage is not hurting him, then that's a good option as well.

Good luck, and I hope he recovers quickly, the poor guy!


Honored Member
I'd say no pain relief - apart from anything else (including accidentally poisoning your dog) if you are delaying taking him to the vets you need to know how bad he is. I wouldn't encourage a lot of movement, let him rest it. If you sprain an ankle you have to rest up.

Yes he could have damaged himself that easily. If Zac starts limping I normally wait before taking him to the vets, he's had a strained ligament several times. If he is just a little bit unfit or not warmed up he can strain a ligament running or jumping, even if he is very fit a quick turn on his front legs during a chase nearly always causes a limp that last several days. I go straight to short lead walks and limited activity at the first sign of a limp and keep that up for a few days (he's normally fine in 3), then build up the exercise gradually again - the first day off lead we usually do 2-3 long recalls about the length of a playing field then back on lead, then a normal off lead walk without playing with other dogs, then usually he's fine.

Whether you take him to the vets or not is your choice. I have friends who would take him there straight away. Personally I wouldn't, I'd just keep him quiet for a day or so and see how he goes but I know my dog not yours. It is your choice, you know your dog.


Experienced Member
Oka did this about a week ago, we'd been playing tug and chase int eh garden and she came in fine, Mark took her for a walk all onlead, totally fine. She came in and went to sleep, got up to go in her bed and was all over the place. made her walk outside with me... and she was barely putting the back left leg down. She wandered round my garden for a bit and walked better by the end but was the same next day.
I tested all her joints, checked her pads etc she never made a sound couldn't find anything wrong, except a slightly hard part on the muscle at the back of her leg - excatly like when i've got a knot in one of my muscles. 3/4 days later she was fine. I have noticed though that if she does alot of offlead running around she'll get a tiny (e.g only DP or i would notice) limp later that day but it's always again gone by the next day.
I would wait a few days...GSD are known for hiding pain though so be vigilant!


Well-Known Member
Sara is right, ibuprofen (Advil)and Tylenol (acetaminophen) are toxic to dogs. Aspirin can be given to dogs at about a rate of one pill or, if the pain is really bad two pills, one given in the morning and one at night. Watch for bloody vomit as Aspirin can cause stomach ulcers, but will work in a pinch. This is what my vets have told me, as well as several friends that have gone through vet school have told me. Aspirin can burn the stomach, but one or two won't generally hurt. I have successfully given Aspirin long term to my Dane with out any problems. But again, it is different to each dog.

My old Dane would have problems like that from time to time. I think that it is due to old age. Take a "watch and see" approach to fixing it. If the limp gets worse, go to the vet. Follow your instincts. I agree with running dog, only give pain relief if he is having a LOT of pain AND you are going to the vet SOON.


Honored Member
I agree with what everyone else has said. NO ibuprofen or acetaminophen - they can be toxic. Mine have experienced similar things, and I've taken the "wait and see" as they've seemed to limp more when first geting up, then once walking, seem a bit better (as things loosened up). I've given aspirin - you may want to give one in the am and one in the pm (should be no problem with his size, the vet has ok'd for mine and they're ~80lbs) to help with pain/inflammation for a couple days and keep him somewhat quiet, no playing on it, only walking. He probably did what we've all done - came down too hard, or twisted wrong, something like that. Obviously if he's not improving in a few days, then take him in - but I bet he did as you say, just slipped in the water.

Just thinking about the shoulder some more - a friend's dog injured her shoulder really badly and was on really limited exercise for months, poor thing (I believe she slipped on ice while playing - ugh). I bet massage would feel good (doesn't it always?) and somewhat quiet (sorry, no hose play - maybe time for pizza now O_o), and aspirin, and hopefully he'll be better soon. Keep us posted, ok? You know I worry about my fellow GSDs!! :p


Well-Known Member
Oops, I forgot to say that one aspirin in am and one in pm was ok for a dog 80+ pounds. I am so used to having a large dog that I forgot that some are smaller. Thanks for adding that little detail!! My vet ok'ed this amount for my Dane at 120#. I don't know the dosage for a dog that is smaller than 80# or so.