Blog

How To Help A Dog With A Broken Leg

July 15, 2015

Do you know what to do if your dog’s leg is broken? First remember that a dog leg fracture is a serious matter and should never be dealt with at home. There are different types of bone fractures, the injury could be anything from a hairline fracture to a compound fracture (which is what happened to Neo). Dog broken leg treatment can vary; some types of fractures can be addressed with a cast and rest, while others need surgery, and extreme cases may even require amputation. Check out our best tips on how to deal with this difficult situation.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR DOG HAS A BROKEN LEG?

Broken legs in dogs usually are accompanied by some telltale signs. If you want to know whether the signs you are seeing in your dog are caused by a fracture, make sure to read our blog How to Tell if Your Dog has a Broken Leg.

Signs Your Dog Has a Broken Leg

DOG BROKEN LEG TREATMENT - WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG HAS A BROKEN LEG

If you suspect that your dog has a broken leg, there are certain steps you can take to deal with the injury more effectively and avoid worsening of the problem.

Dog Broken Leg Treatment

  1. ACT QUICKLY: If you suspect that your dog may have a broken leg (or any broken bone for that matter), you should treat it as an emergency and go to a qualified veterinarian right away. If your regular veterinarian is not open 24 hours, make sure to have a back-up hospital’s address and phone number on hand so that you can get your dog care immediately. It will not just “go away” and can actually worsen the problem (by setting improperly) and cause your dog a lifetime of pain.
  2. USE A MUZZLE IF YOUR DOG IS BEING AGGRESSIVE: Your normal loving dog may become extremely anxious and panicked once it experiences pain; this can often make them snap at you as a defense mechanism. If your dog will not allow you to come close, apply a muzzle to them.
  3. HYGIENE IS IMPORTANT: Infection is a real possibility with any kind of acute dog injury, especially one like a leg break that involves blood or any open wounds.  Just make sure to have a few clean towels on hand to mop up any blood and support the dog’s broken leg with clean towels.
  4. USE PROPER RESTRAINT: For a small dog, you may want to keep them in your arms or a small carrier next to you as you drive. For a medium size or large dog, you will want them in a kennel where they cannot move around a great deal or be thrown in the car. If possible, have another person sit near them and comfort them during the drive. Do not try to take your dog to the vet unrestrained as car movements can cause further injury and also serve as a distraction to the driver.
  5. NO SELF-TREATMENT: If you have a dog with a broken leg, do not apply any kind of treatment, ointment or antiseptic until you have met with your veterinarian.
  6. DOG LEG-SPLINT: If the fracture is a closed fracture, use a splint (if possible) to stabilize the limb in its current position. A splint (which is a sturdy material such as a spoon or piece of strong cardboard) can help prevent further injury on a closed fracture (where no bone is visible from the outside). The splint will help prevent damage to nerves, vessels, and other tissues until a veterinarian can treat the break with the aid of general anesthesia. Once you have splinted the bone, take your dog to the veterinarian. Check out these detailed instructions on How to Make a Dog Leg Splint from The Daily Puppy. Do not attempt to splint the leg if your dog is being uncooperative. Under no circumstances should you try straightening the bone with a splint or attempt to reset the bone into a normal position as this can actually cause it to improperly set.  
  7. BE PREPARED FOR THE COST OF A DOG’S BROKEN LEG: Being a pet parent can be expensive and overwhelming- that’s why being prepared for the worst is important. The treatment of a dog’s broken leg, especially if it goes into surgery, can go into the thousands of dollars. If affordability is an issue, you may want to think of investing in a pet insurance plan that will require some money on a monthly basis but will cover emergency situations like this. Many veterinarians also offer payment plans. 

For more tips on how to be prepared for a broken leg in your dog, make sure to read our blog on How to Prepare for an Emergency Vet Visit.

MY DOG HAS A BROKEN LEG. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP HIM HEAL FASTER? 

Once a fracture or broken bone occurs, the bone goes into a natural repair process that takes several weeks. The repairing of bones is known as the bone remodeling process. The video below provides a good overview of how this process works in dogs. 

For more information, we wrote a blog called The Bone Remodeling Process Made Simple where we describe the process of bone remodeling, and how you can stimulate the bone healing process to help get your dog back on his paws faster.

HOW DO I KEEP MY FRAGILE DOG'S BONES STRONG AND HEALTHY?

Make sure to check out our blog on 5 Way to Strengthen Your Dog's Bones for our best tips on keeping your dog's skeletal system strong and healthy.

You may naturally consider giving your dog calcium, but a calcium supplement is not always the way to go. The type of calcium, its absorption rate, and the balance of calcium in the body is extremely important. Check out our blog on Calcium for Dogs to learn more about whether a calcium supplement is right for your dog.

Dogs need extra bone and joint support after a fracture, and adding lactoferrin to their regimen is a great idea. This all natural protein (sourced from milk) naturally stimulates the bone remodeling process. As far as supplement options go, Boneo Canine is an excellent lactoferrin-based supplement to consider because it is the only supplement designed to help promote healthy bone turnover in dogs.

Check out the video below to learn all about this lactoferrin-based bone and joint supplement for dogs: