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Why is my dog limping and has diarrhea?

Your pooch starts limping, and then they develop diarrhea, or they have diarrhea and then begin limping. Are these two conditions related, or are there two separate things going on? In some cases, the cause is easily identifiable. In others, you may be left scratching your head, and concerned. 

Why is my dog limping and has diarrhea?

Both limping and diarrhea can have many causes. However, there are only a small number of reasons they may occur together. In some cases, you may notice a bite or injury. These are an important clue. 

Snake Bite 

It’s scary to think about, but dogs do get snake bites. When you think of snakes, you probably picture them being in the woods or other wilderness area. However, they can be found in your own yard.  

Wilderness areas are converted into residential housing, which leaves their wild residents competing for space with humans. As their territory decreases, they may seek out rural or urban areas. 

Of course, you may also encounter them if you are on a hike or other undeveloped area. 

Most snake bites are harmless to dogs and humans, but some can be dangerous or deadly. Even snakes that aren’t venomous or have a mild venom can cause serious reactions due to allergic reactions or infections of the bite site. 

The signs of a snake bite include puncture wounds and potential swelling around the bite. Limping can occur due to the pain of the bite or venom. The venom can also cause stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. 

They may also twitch, shake, or become paralyzed. Bleeding and bruising, and dilated pupils are also signs of a snake bite. 

Spider Bite

A spider bite can also cause your pooch to limp and have diarrhea. Just like snakes, many spiders are harmless. However, there are a few venomous species in the U.S. Brown recluse, hobo, and black widow spiders are the most dangerous.

 However, wolf spiders, black house spiders, and mouse spiders are also venomous. These species aren’t fatal to dogs or humans, but they can cause significant pain and other symptoms. 

The symptoms of a spider bite include swelling and pain at the bite site, which can cause limping. You’ll notice a lump or blister at the bite site. This may include a red ring around the bite, which is a sign the bite is serious. 

Diarrhea or vomiting can also be caused by the toxic venom. Other signs include lethargy, increased heart rate, and drooling. 

Tick Borne Disease

Tick borne diseases are not as obvious as snake and spider bites. Ticks are small, and they are easy to miss. It’s also possible for the tick to feed, infect the dog, and fall off before they are seen. 

There are many tick borne diseases that can affect dogs. The symptoms of a tick borne disease include muscle or joint pain which causes limping. They may also have swelling around the joints, fever, and lethargy. Vomitting, diarrhea, skin lesions, and eye or nose discharge can also occur. 


Have you ever been injured and found yourself in so much pain it also caused stomach upset? This can also happen to your dog. Pain can occur from an injury, arthritis, or cancer. This pain can also cause diarrhea, because it puts your dog under stress. 

If your pooch is in pain, they may limp because walking or moving is painful. They may also have diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and panting or crying. 


It may be the case that your dog injured itself somehow and that your dog ate something that caused it to get diarrhea. It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first got diarrhea and when your dog first started limping.

What to do if my dog is limping and has diarrhea?

If your dog is limping and has diarrhea, there are some things you should do. It’s important to follow these steps in order to care for your pooch. 

Do a Physical Exam

The first thing you should do is look your dog over. Check for signs of a spider or snake bite, as well as injury. If you find signs of any of these, your pooch will need the proper treatment. 

Observe and Write Down Everything 

Next, observe everything you can about your dog’s condition. Do they limp all the time? Is it confined to one leg? Are there other gastrointestinal symptoms? How long has this been going on? 

These are just a few of the questions you should do your best to answer. Write down everything you observe about your pooch. If they need veterinary care, this information can be useful. 

In the case of a snake, spider, or tick bite, document everything you can about the appearance of the animal that bit them. If possible, catch the spider or tick and bring it to the vet with you. Don’t get bit yourself attempting to catch them, however. 

Treating a Snake Bite 

If you find signs of a snake bite, you should get your dog to the vet immediately. 80% of dogs who receive quick treatment recover from venomous snake bites. The longer the time between the bite and treatment, the lower the odds of survival. 

Your veterinarian may administer anti-venom, fluids, and pain medications. Some dogs need oxygen because they can’t breathe on their own after a bite. 

Never attempt to treat a snake bite yourself. Updated advice recommends against applying a tourniquet or sucking out the venom. Keep your dog as still as possible, keeping the bite area below the heart. 

Treating Spider Bites

If your pooch got bit by a spider, it’s best to get veterinary care immediately. Not all spider bites are life threatening, but there’s no way to know without getting your pooch veterinary treatment. 

If your dog is showing symptoms after a spider bite, you should get them to the vet as soon as possible.  

Just like a snake bite, you shouldn’t attempt to treat the bite yourself. 

Treating Tick Bites 

How a tick bite is treated will depend on the disease your dog contacted from the bite. Some medications, like doxycicline, are effective against some tick borne diseases. 

Like other types of bites, these will need to be treated by your vet. They are not immediately life threatening as other bites can be. However, your dog can die or have long term damage if the disease isn’t treated. 

Treating Pain 

If your pooch is in pain, this also needs to be checked by the vet. Depending on the severity of the pain and other symptoms, you may need to seek immediate treatment. If the symptoms aren’t severe, you may make an appointment and get them seen in the next day or two. 

There are many reasons your pooch may be in pain, so the treatment will vary greatly based on the cause of the pain. 

Making Your Dog Comfortable 

Immediate care isn’t always necessary. If your pooch is experiencing mild symptoms, you’ll want to make sure they are comfortable in the meantime. 

Allow them to rest, and keep their food and water nearby. You can give them a bland diet of chicken and rice to help settle their stomach.

To do this, give them 2 parts rice to 1 part boiled chicken.  Once their stomach has settled, slowly transition them back to their regular diet. 

Imodium can stop diarrhea, which can also make your dog feel better. You can give .5 mg per 10 pounds of body weight.