Lameness or Limping

An active dog can get an occasional limp that's nothing to worry about. He might have something as simple as a pulled muscle, an abrasion on his paw, or a charley horse. However, if it goes on for a while or the pain seems extreme, it might be something more serious.

Toe Problems

A torn toenail can cause your poodle to limp. If your dog tears a nail off, apply pressure with a cloth to stop the bleeding. If the nail isn't torn completely off, take him to the veterinarian, who can finish the job, sedating him if necessary.

If a lump develops under your black Standard Poodle's toenail, consult your vet. She might suspect toe cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC). SCC has a genetic basis, and black, large-breed dogs, including Standard Poodles, appear to be predisposed to develop it. More than one toe may be involved over a period of time. Treatment involves amputating the toe to stop spreading of the cancer.


Although a nail can be torn if your dog is playing hard in the grass, this damage can also be a sign of an autoimmune problem called lupoid onchodystrophy. If your poodle tears more than one nail, talk to your vet about the possibility of an underlying issue.

Other Causes of Limping

Whether or not you can find an obvious cause for it, don't ignore a persistent limp. Not only is it an indication that your poodle is in pain, a chronic limp can also be a sign of a potentially serious problem. Particularly if he's older, a limp might indicate that your poodle has the beginning of degenerative joint disease (arthritis). Find more on what this is and how to treat it.

Probably the scariest source of a limp is bone cancer (osteosarcoma). A limp that shifts from leg to leg can be a sign of polyarthritis, an autoimmune condition. In addition, a limp might mean a strained or torn cruciate ligament, a condition that seems increasingly common in dogs. Surgery is usually required to repair the torn knee ligament.

If your dog is limping but is using the leg and doesn't seem to be in much pain, you can take a wait-and-see approach. Make a note of it in your calendar. If the limp goes away within a day or two, chalk it up to something minor. But if the limp persists, or your poodle is refusing to put weight on the leg, take him to the vet immediately.

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