As pet owners, we are used to witnessing our dogs’ hyper episodes – running around like crazy and jumping on and off furniture. So, imagine the surprise if the hyperactivity ends with jumping off the bed, a painful yelp, and limping.
Dog limping after jumping off the bed – what could it be? This scenario can be caused by various issues, some less serious than others. For example, the most common causes would be sprains and strains. However, torn cranial cruciate ligaments, arthritis complications, and even nail injuries are also possible.
In this article, we will talk about why a dog may start limping after jumping off the bed. We will talk about why the activity is considered to be bad and focus on the medical injuries that could stem from bed jumping.
IS JUMPING OFF THE BED BAD FOR DOGS?
Generally speaking, yes – jumping off the bed is bad for dogs. In fact, there are two aspects of this behavior, and they both have a negative impact.
First, let’s discuss the behavioral aspect. Letting your dog jump on and off the bed can be confusing if you generally do not allow it to sit and sleep on the bed. In such cases, it would be like sending mixed signals – the bed is allowed when hyperactive or simply happy but otherwise off-limits.
The next aspect is the physical. Jumping on and off any furniture can be dangerous and lead to unwanted injuries, or in older dogs with arthritis, it can even aggravate the already present joint damage. This does not mean that every dog will end up injured every time it jumps off the bed. However, the risk is always present.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING JUMPS, AND ARE THERE ANY RISK FACTORS?
Understanding how jumping works is helpful to get an idea of the consequences that might arise from the activity. Namely, jumping up requires a full range of motion of the back leg joints and activation of the supportive muscles while the landing is enabled with the front legs.
Jumping down requires less muscular and joint work because, in such cases, the dog relies on its own body weight to pull it down. However, the landing part is quite tricky since the dog’s front legs need to literally pull the brakes and use their strength to stop the dog’s entire body weight from moving forward.
The potential scenarios following a jumping-off-bed scenario depend on various risk factors, including:
- The type of the surface – the surface type is a huge factor. Imagine jumping from the couch and landing on a slippery floor – your muscles and joints will take an extra workload to stabilize you on the ground.
- The dog’s weight – obviously carrying a few extra pounds will make the landing much more difficult to manage and control. Plus, dogs with excess weight are more likely to have ongoing joint issues that can aggravate the situation.
- The dog’s breed – some breeds are more prone to orthopedic issues like hip and elbow dysplasia. These are not health issues that can arise from the jump but can affect the outcome of the jumping.
WHY IS MY DOG LIMPING AFTER JUMPING OFF THE BED?
There are several reasons a dog may start limping after jumping off the bed. And yes, dogs that jump regularly are not at lesser risk of eventually experiencing a painful and damaging landing. Let’s discuss the potential reasons.
Reason number 1: Sprains and strains
This is a scenario we can all relate to. Chances are you have sprained or strained a leg at least once in your life, and you did not even have to jump on and off beds – simply stepping in the wrong angle can cause such injuries.
Strains are injuries of the tendons (the structures connecting bones and muscles) and usually affect the hips and thighs. On the other hand, sprains affect the ligaments (structures linking bones with bones), cause joint damage, and usually occur on the wrist and knee.
Luckily, although common, sprains and strains are more benign complications and relatively easy to treat and manage. However, in both cases, veterinary attention is mandatory.
Reason number 2: Broken or injured nail
This may seem like a light issue, but nail injuries are more than painful. Plus, unlike in people, in dogs, the nails are more involved in the walking process meaning the pain is continuous and present while walking.
When a dog jumps off, it may use its nails to get a better grip of the landing surface which easily ends up in an injured nail (or paw pad). This is even more likely to occur if the dog’s nail is already damaged or overgrown.
If your dog has a broken nail, you should see the veterinarian. The vet will probably remove the nail and put your dog on painkillers and a course of antibiotics. In the long run, it pays off to keep your dog’s nails well-trimmed.
Reason number 3: Torn or damaged CCL
The cranial cruciate ligament is the most common injury in human athletes. Sadly, dogs are highly predisposed to this injury too. In fact, dogs are more likely to sustain such injuries because their CCLs are under constant pressure because of their horizontal body position.
Normally, the cranial cruciate ligament is responsible for keeping the back leg well-aligned. Jumping off the bed increases the workload of this ligament and is likely to cause injury.
A dog with torn cranial cruciate ligament requires veterinary help. Although there are medical ways of managing the situation, in most cases, surgical correction is the best option. After the surgery, cage rest and physical rehabilitation are necessary.
Reason number 4: Arthritis complications
Dogs with arthritis are more likely to sustain injuries after jumping. This is because their joints are already inflamed and somewhat damaged. Plus, arthritis is a progressive issue, meaning it gets only worse over time.
However, things work the other way around too. Namely, a dog that frequently jumps while young is more likely to develop arthritis at an older age. Plus, it is also more likely to develop a more severe arthritis form.
It should be noted that arthritis cannot be treated, only managed. Dogs with arthritis need special feeding and exercise regimens and benefit from physical therapy sessions and joint supplements like CBD oil, chondroitin, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, etc.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY DOG LIMPS AFTER JUMPING OFF THE BED?
If your dog jumped off the bed and now is limping, the first thing you need to do is evaluate the situation. Once you have enough information, call the vet and explain what happened.
The next step depends on what the vet instructs you to do – wait and see how the situation develops or have your dog rushed to the clinic for a physical examination.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MY DOG FROM JUMPING OFF THE BED?
The best way of stopping your dog from jumping off the bed is investing time, patience, and effort in proper training. In other words, you can train your dog not to jump on and off beds.
Depending on your dog’s breed and overall training, this can be easier said than done. In such cases, it is advisable to seek professional help. Canine trainers specialize in training dogs – something that will benefit both you and your dog in various situations, not just for jumping prevention.
SUMMING UP: DOG LIMPING AFTER JUMPING OFF BED
A dog limping after jumping off bed may or may not be an emergency – it all depends on the overall situation and the presence of additional signs and symptoms. However, just to put your mind at ease, calling the vet would be a good idea.
Some complications following the bed jumping experience are benign and even self-limiting, while others require veterinary attention, and in more serious cases, even a surgical correction. The sooner you determine what the problem is, the sooner your dog will be back to its happy jumpy self.
When should I take my dog to the vet for limping?
It depends on the exact scenario and the dog’s overall status. Namely, aside from the limping, your dog acts normally; you can wait and see how the situation develops. On the other hand, if there are additional issues or there is a visible injury, you need to seek immediate veterinary help.
How can I treat my limping dog at home?
There are various things you can do for a limping dog – soak the leg in Epsom salts for swelling, put ice packs for inflammation, and even give dog-friendly pain relievers for the discomfort. However, these are all symptomatic approaches, and your dog needs to be examined by a vet and properly diagnosed before treatment is initiated.
How long should you rest a limping dog?
The exact cage rest length depends on the underlying cause of the limping. However, when a dog suddenly starts limping, the general rule of thumb is to let it rest for at least two days. By rest, we mean spending most of its time in a horizontal position and getting up and going out only for short potty breaks.