Just as I encourage people to check their dog's poop, it is a good idea to watch your dog walk for signs of an abnormal gait. But, for that to be helpful you need to know what their normal gait is to know when it's off. That's why we watch each day, to see if it changes. I will outline some common gait abnormalities here to help key you in.
HEAD BOBBING: An exaggerated up and down head motion when walking. Indicates a front let lameness. If you watch closely, you may be able to tell which front foot their weight is on as the head bobs up (warning: not easy to tell and can make you crazy trying). That one is the lame foot.
HEAD HUNG LOW: If they are keeping their head low as they walk and not raising the head to look up at you, just rolling their eyes up, it's probably a sign of a cervical issue. An additional test is to see if they will move their head up or to the side for a treat.
NAIL DRAGGING: If you can hear the nails dragging as they walk on pavement, there is likely some rear end weakness. It's helpful if you can tell if it's one foot or both.
PACING or CAMEL WALK: This was addressed with a video previously but is an important early indicator of a rear end issue. The dog's front and rear foot on the same side go forward with each step, as oppossed to opposite front and rear which is the normal gait.
THIGH CHECK: As you walk behind look and see if the rear end looks less muscular and sort of puny compared to the front. Are the muscles equal on each side? Is there less muscle than you remember them having? Look to see if they are putting equal weight on the front and rear feet.
BUNNY HOPPING: When running or going up or down stairs, both hind feet should move independently. When they don't, it looks a lot like a bunny hop with the feet moving as one. This is most likely an indicator of hip issues.
KNUCKLING: A normal spinal reflex is to right the foot if it is turned top side down. If there is a blockage of the signal to the brain and back to the foot then the dog may leave the foot upside down, not knowing or feeling that it's wrong. This indicates a neurological issue, usually pressure from a disc or something else on the spinal cord.
I hope this information is helpful. Perhaps videos of each gait will be forthcoming; fingers crossed. Happy walking!