Visits to the vet can be costly, with the average pet owner in the UK paying around £60 for the consultation fee alone, and potentially hundreds for further treatment. One disgruntled dog owner spent £300 at the vets to try and diagnose the reason for his dog’s persistent limp, only to discover the dog was faking it. The owner, whose own leg was in a cast, later found that his limping lurcher was copying him out of sympathy.
“Cost me £300 in vet fees and X-rays, nothing wrong just sympathy. Love him,” he posted online.
Viral Video Posted Online
A clip of the dog limping alongside his owner as they walked down the street went viral after being posted on Facebook. Many social media users were delighted at the video and shared their praise for the empathetic pooch.
Research Proves Dogs Can Develop a Close Bond with Their Owners
Interestingly, this story is not an anomaly. Research carried out by the University of Vienna back in 2011 discovered that dogs will imitate their owners, even when it isn’t in their own best interests. This is because their human is often seen as a ‘pack leader’, and therefore they must copy their behaviour, in a process called ‘automatic imitation’.
Similar findings were found during another study at the same university. Dr Iris Schoberl examined the relationship between 132 pets and their owners and concluded that pets of neurotic owners were less able to cope with stress whereas pets belonging to happy people were much more relaxed. In addition, women were more likely to have a close emotional bond with their pets, perhaps because women tend to be more openly empathetic and emotional.
Painful Causes of a Limp
Not all experts believed the lurcher’s behaviour signified a sympathetic response to his owner’s injury. One dog trainer said online she thought the owner needed to seek a second opinion, as lurchers had a low pain threshold and any sign of lameness indicated an underlying problem.
“I would 110 per cent state that this dog is actually in pain and non-weight bearing for a physical reason,” Rosie Bescoby told the Daily Mail Online.
Common Reasons Why Dogs Limp
Dogs often limp if something sharp is stuck in their paws, such as a thorn or splinter. If you notice your dog limping after walking through undergrowth, check their paw for sharp objects.
Cuts are another reason why a dog might suddenly begin to limp; be mindful of broken glass and metal fragments discarded on pavements.
Dogs may limp if their joints are sore, perhaps due to arthritis – this is more common in older dogs. To prevent this from affecting your dog, give them joint supplements and vitamins for dogs. YuMOVE has a selection of supplements for dogs of all ages, which are a clinically proven treatment for older dogs or those with stiff joints.
Always have your dog checked out by a vet if he starts limping. Don’t just assume he’s copying his owner’s behaviour.