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Is My Dog’s Swollen Paw a Sign of a Broken or Sprained Leg?


Dear VetBabble,

I noticed my dog not putting any weight on his left back leg, and his paw looks swollen. He doesn’t seem to be in too much pain, as he lets me touch it without crying. Could it be broken or sprained? Or is it possible that he was stung by a bee? What should I do to help him? Please help!

Understanding Your Dog’s Limping and Swollen Paw

It’s concerning when you notice your furry friend limping and showing signs of discomfort. Determining the cause of your dog’s limping can be challenging, as various factors may contribute to it, including injuries, allergies, and even bee stings. In this article, we will discuss three possible reasons for your dog’s limping and swollen paw: sprains and fractures, bee stings, and allergies. We’ll also offer guidance on how to provide relief and when to see a veterinarian.

Sprains and Fractures

If your dog’s swollen paw is due to a sprain or fracture, you may notice a gradual onset of limping and discomfort. It’s essential to rule out broken bones before trying any at-home remedies. If your dog shows signs of severe pain, has limited mobility, or the limping worsens rapidly, it’s crucial to visit the veterinarian immediately. Find more information on sprains and fractures in this article: Why Is My Dog Limping? When to Worry and What to Do.

Bee Stings

In some cases, dogs may suffer from bee or insect stings, leading to swelling in their paws and limping. If you suspect a bee sting, verify there isn’t an embedded stinger in your dog’s paw, as you may need to remove it carefully. Be sure to examine your dog’s paw thoroughly and gently scrape around the area to loosen and remove the stinger if present.

Typically, if the paw is swollen and the dog doesn’t put pressure on it, but allows you to touch it without yelping, it could be a bee sting. However, keep an eye on the swelling and consider reaching out to your veterinarian for advice on administering an antihistamine such as Benadryl, if necessary. Read more about allergic reactions in dogs here: Is my Dog Having an Allergic Reaction?.


Allergies in dogs can present as swollen and irritated paws, leading to discomfort and limping. Dogs may develop allergies to various environmental factors or ingredients they encounter, including pollen, dust mites, and even certain foods. Swollen paws and excessive licking can be signs that your dog is dealing with allergies.

To rule out allergies, consider whether your dog was recently exposed to anything new or different that could trigger an allergic reaction. Allergies in dogs can be challenging to manage, but there are steps you can take to help reduce their impact. You can learn more about dog allergies in this guide: Dog Allergies. If you’re specifically concerned about excessive paw licking and its causes, you can find more information in this article: Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?.

When to Visit the Veterinarian

While some paw issues can be resolved at home, it’s essential to recognize when professional help is needed. If your dog’s limping and swelling do not improve or worsen despite your efforts, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate guidance on treatment options.

Remember, your dog’s well-being is crucial, and promptly addressing their health issues can help ensure a happier, healthier, and more comfortable life for your beloved pet.

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