It can be very disturbing to realize that your dog’s front paws are turning inward. Once you make this realization, you will probably want to know what may be causing the dog’s front paws to turn inwards, and what can be done about the condition. Read on, to find the answers.
Things that can make dog’s front paws turn inward include trauma, the carpal varus condition, degenerative myelopathy as well as some neurological diseases such as wobbler’s syndrome. Treatment options may range from simple rest to physical therapy and onto surgery in certain cases.
Sometimes, this condition where dogs front paws turn inward may be so serious that it starts affecting the dog’s walking. That is because when dogs front paws turn inward when walking, the end result is usually some degree of knuckling.
It can eventually deteriorate to a point where the dog is completely unable to walk.
Even where you have the dog feet turn inward when standing, it can cause some discomfort to the dog.
Is It Normal For Dog’s Front Paws To Turn Inwards?
Any situation where dog’s front paws turn inwards is not normal.
Ideally, dog’s front paws should be straight. They should neither be turned inwards nor outwards.
Therefore anything that makes dogs front paws turn outward is cause for concern, just as anything that causes the dogs leg turning inward is abnormal.
When there is this sort of inward turning, the end result is almost always that of the dog front paw knuckling under.
So you eventually have the dog paw bent under, to some degree. And that is always uncomfortable for the dog.
If the problem is particularly bad, you are likely to end up with the dog front legs splayed out. This is because anything that makes dog’s front paws turn inwards is likely to affect the rest of the legs: the end result being outward splaying.
Actually, even the dog’s back legs should ideally be more or less straight. There shouldn’t be inward or outward turning there either.
Therefore when dogs back paws turn inward, it can be a sign of something wrong. Upon encountering that sort of situation, I would definitely want to investigate, to find out why my dogs back leg is turning inward.
Coincidentally, most of the reasons for the case where dog’s front paws turn inward also tend to apply in a situation where you have the dogs back legs turn inward.
Therefore even where the dogs back paws turn outward, that is still problematic.
So the core message here is that the dog’s paws should all be straight.
Dogs paws turning inward is not normal. Neither is dogs paws turning outwards. They should be straight.
Why Are My Dogs Front Paws Turning Inward?
Where you have dogs front paws turn inward when walking (or standing), there are several possible reasons.
Firstly, it may be due to trauma. If, for instance, a dog exercises beyond its capacity, there may be some degree of soreness, which manifests through front paws turning inward to some degree.
There are also cases where dogs jumping from high heights may incur trauma, which makes their front paws to turn inwards to some degree.
If objects get lodged in the dogs’ paws, there may be some degree of the paws turning inwards or outwards in some cases.
Therefore in any case where you have your dogs front paws turn inward, this is one possibility to consider.
Secondly, it may be due to a condition known as carpal varus. This condition is more common in dogs that are undergoing major growth spurts (for instance, puppies).
Thirdly, it may be due to a neurological disease, like cervical vertebral instability. Another name for it is simply wobbler’s syndrome.
What happens in this condition is that the spinal cord gets compressed.
The end result is often in the form of the front paws turning inwards.
Fourthly, the dog’s front paws may turn inward due to a condition we refer to as degenerative myelopathy. This condition manifests when there is degradation of the white matter surrounding bones.
In most cases where old dogs front paws turn inward, degenerative myelopathy (which often seems like arthritis) is the culprit.
Therefore if you had the why are my dogs paws turning in question, these are the possible reasons.
This sort of ‘turning in’ sometimes also manifests as crooking. Therefore this also answers the why are my dogs front paws crooked question.
Why Are My Puppies Front Paws Turning Inward?
In most cases where you have puppies’ front paws turning inward, the problem tends to be the deformity we refer to as carpal varus.
This condition can lead to a situation where the puppy’s front paws turn out or inwards.
It can worsen to the point of the puppy tripping over front paws.
Thus, whenever we have puppy front paw turned out inward, the suspicion first falls on carpal varus.
Sometimes, when you wean a puppy improperly, the end result may be carpal varus.
But there are of course other possibilities.
A puppy’s front paws may turn inward due to trauma. This may be trauma due to over-exercising. Or it may be trauma due to jumping from extreme heights.
Sometimes, the condition may be so bad that the puppy starts lifting her paws for extended periods of time. That may get you wondering, why does my dog lift her front paw for such extended periods of time?
So this may be due to trauma and the pain that comes with it.
Another possibility is that of the problem being due to neurological conditions. For instance, there are some puppies that are born with cervical vertebral instability, or wobbler’s syndrome.
Yet some causes of the situation where dog’s front paws turn inward that apply for older dogs are very unlikely to be applicable for puppies.
For instance, it is highly unlikely that a puppy dog’s front paws turn inward due to degenerative myelopathy. That is because degenerative myelopathy more commonly affects older dogs, not puppies.
In the final analysis, the first possibility to consider where a puppy’s front paws turn inwards is that of it being due to carpal varus.
Other secondary possibilities are those of it being due to trauma or due to cervical vertebral instability.
Why Are My Old Dog’s Front Paws Turning Inward?
One very common reason where old dog’s front paws turn inward is the condition we refer to as degenerative myelopathy.
It is normally the first thing to consider, whenever you have an old dog’s front paws turn inward.
In this condition, the white matter that surrounds bones gets worn out. The end result often manifests in a situation where the old dog’s front paws turn inward.
Where the reason is not degenerative myelopathy, it may be a neurological condition – like cervical vertebral instability, or wobbler’s syndrome.
In wobbler’s syndrome, the dog’s front paws turn inward or outwards. Therefore when trying to find the answer to the why do my dogs front paws point outwards question, this is one of the possibilities you may find.
It is also a possible answer to the why do my dogs front legs turn out question.
Or the old dog’s front paws turning inward may be due to trauma.
If, for instance, the dog walks for too long a distance, walks over too hot or too cold surfaces or jumps over too high distances, there may be trauma. And the trauma may lead to the dog’s front paws turning inward – at least for a while.
But there are some causes for dog’s front paws turning inward that may apply to younger dogs but not to older dogs.
For instance, where you have an old dog’s front paws turn inward, it is unlikely to be due to carpal varus.
That is because carpal varus is more common in younger dogs (especially puppies) that are having growth spurts. It is not common in older dogs.
For older dogs, we start by ruling out things like degenerative myelopathy and trauma.
Dog Breeds That Are Prone To Front Paws Turning Inward
Worth mentioning is the fact that there are some dog breeds that are more prone to this sort of problem (where dog’s front paws turn inward).
The likes of Boxers, Shar Peis and Dobermans are more likely to have their paws turn inwards at some point.
Dog’s Front Paws Turn Inward – When To Be Concerned?
Any case where dogs front paws turn inward should be cause for concern. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it affects the dog’s quality of life considerably. A dog walking on front legs whose paws are turned inward is likely to be under great distress.
Secondly, the condition may deteriorate further: for instance, to a point where you have the dog front paws turning under.
Or it can deteriorate to a point where the dog knuckles. What does knuckling look like in dogs? Isn’t dog front paws turning inward (with the classic pigeon toed dog front legs) one manifestation of it?
At worst, it can eventually get to a point where the dog is completely unable to walk.
Therefore upon finding dog front paws turned out inward, you need to get concerned. Don’t wait for the condition to get worse.
Sometimes, finding cat front paws turned outward or inward is not cause for major concern. That is because it doesn’t always lead to complications. But for dogs, it is different.
And whenever you discover dog front paws turned outward or inward, you need to start thinking of making a vet appointment.
Where the dog feet turn outward when standing or inward when walking, the whole situation is not normal. Therefore it is cause for concern.
The key question you should be asking yourself is, why does my dog’s front paws turn out inward (or outward, as may be the case)?
Whatever the reason behind it, what you need to do is take your dog to a vet urgently, if the problem persists beyond a few days.
You may meanwhile put the dog under rest in the period between when you discover the problem and when you get a vet appointment.
Dog’s Front Paws Turn Inward – What To Do?
The main thing to do, once you notice your dog’s front paws turn inward is to take the dog to a vet.
This is the sort of condition that potentially causes the dog great distress. It is also one can deteriorate, leading to very unpleasant outcomes (including the dog losing the ability to walk).
It is not the sort of thing for which you can try home treatments in most cases.
Early veterinarian intervention in this sort of situation usually improves the outcomes.
Once the dog receives the dog, he is likely to start by examining the dog. Sometimes, the vet may identify the reason why you are having the dog’s front paws turn inward through a physical examination alone.
But there are other cases where the dog may need to be x-rayed, or even subjected to MRI and CT scan examinations, to establish what exactly the problem is.
In some situations, it may be possible to tell the reason for the situation where you have the dog’s front paws turn inward in a single session.
So you take the dog to the vet in the morning, and by the afternoon, you have a proper diagnosis.
But there are other cases where you may need more than one session, to get a proper diagnosis.
Therefore in the first visit, the vet may examine the dog, and perhaps order for the necessary tests/x-rays.
Then in the second session, the vet may be able to tell you what exactly the problem with the dog is/why you are having the dog’s front paws turn inward.
Thereafter, the vet will come up with a treatment plan for the dog.
Dog’s Front Paws Turn Inward – Treatment Options
Where it turns out that the reason for the dog’s front paws turning inward is trauma, the vet may just recommend rest.
If there seems to be pain, the dog may prescribe some pain medication as well.
There are other cases where the vet may opt to take the dog through physical therapy.
The vet may do the physical therapy himself, or refer you to another specialist for that.
Further on, there are cases in which surgery may be the only viable treatment option. For instance, if the problem is due to cervical vertebral instability, surgery may help relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.
That should consequently resolve the problem of the dog’s front paws turning inward.
How To Prevent Dog’s Front Paws Turning Inward?
There are several things you can do, to prevent dog’s front paws turning inward.
You have to start by understanding, why do dogs bend their paws inwards? In other words, what are the common causes for the situations where dog’s front paws turn inward?
And as we saw earlier, where dog’s front paws turn inward, the reasons commonly include trauma, neurological conditions (like cervical vertebral instability), as well as deforming conditions like carpal varus and degenerative myelopathy.
Now to prevent trauma (which can lead to dogs front paws turning inward), you should avoid over-exercising the dog.
Also consider investing in dog boots or dog pads. These can be very helpful where a dog has to walk on very hot or very cold surfaces.
When a dog with boots walks on front legs over very hot or snowy surfaces, there is much less trauma than if the dog were walking ‘barefoot’.
Proper diet for dogs can help prevent conditions like carpal varus.
When it comes to weaning puppies, ensure that you do it at the right time, and in the right manner.
Training a dog to maintain proper walking postures may also help prevent these problems.
Final Verdict – Dog’s Front Paws Turn Inward
Dog’s front paws turn inward usually due to trauma, degenerative myelopathy, neurological conditions (such as cervical vertebral instability) and the deforming disease called carpal varus.
Causes such as degenerative myelopathy are more common in older dogs. Others like carpal varus are more common in younger dogs that are still undergoing growth spurts.
In most cases, where the problem of dog’s front paws turning inward persists beyond several days, it is best to take the dog to a vet.
Usually, when a vet receives a dog whose front paws are turned inward, he will start with a physical exam. X-ray and MRI exams may also be necessary, to establish the reason behind the problem.
Treatment may include putting the dog under rest for some time, physical therapy and surgery in certain cases.
Prevention options include not over-exercising the dog, proper balanced diet as well as weaning puppies correctly and at the right time. Investing in dog boots or dog pads can also be helpful in preventing this sort of problem.