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Dog Broken Leg Recovery -Tips to Help Your Dog's Bones Heal Properly

July 27, 2015

Leg injuries in dogs are pretty common. As a pet parent, it’s possible that your dog will someday suffer from a broken leg. If you’ve read our blog posts on Signs Your Dog Has A Broken Leg and What to Do When Your Dog Has a Broken Leg, then you may be prepared to deal with the injury when it happens. But what about the aftermath and the fracture healing process? When you bring your dog home from the vet, a few simple tips will help your dog stay on track and recover faster. 

 Ways to Help Your Dog During Broken Leg Recovery

1GIVE THEM ATTENTION: When you first bring your dog home, it is a good idea to stay home a couple of days. If you can’t stay home, try to see if a neighbor or relative can stay with your dog or check up on them. When a dog is in pain, he or she can get agitated. This can cause them to move excessively or gnaw on their cast.

2. SHORT LEASH WALKS: During recovery, your dog will need assisted potty breaks. You should NEVER allow them to do this without a short leash. Slowly walk them to and from a comfortable grassy area every 2-3 hours.

3. SWITCH TO SPECIALIZED FOOD: A dog in recovery may need extra nutrients to support the healing process. Nutrients help to rebuild bone and provide the strength and energy to recover. Check the ingredients panel to ensure that you are giving your dog a high quality food. You can also try incorporating some homemade calcium-rich foods into the diet. 

4. CONSIDER A SUPPLEMENT: If your dog is not already taking a bone and joint supplement, consider adding one to their daily regimen. As far as bone health options go, Boneo Canine is definitely worth discussing with your veterinarian. This all natural lactoferrin-based formula that helps support strong, healthy bones in dogs.                                                           

5. FOLLOW MEDICATION AND FOLLOW UP INSTRUCTIONS: Take care to finish prescribed medications, particularly antibiotics. Even if your dog seems like he is feeling better, infection can happen if you fail to complete the course of antibiotics. Infection is one the main reasons that dogs do not heal properly after a broken leg. Read our Guide to Medication and Supplements for Dogs for more information on this topic.

6. KEEP THE CONE ON: Stitches, bandages, and casts can come loose when teeth get to them. Moreover, saliva carries bacteria and can cause infection. Keep the cone on at all times to prevent this from happening - especially when you are not around. If your dog is whiny, there are soft cone options available that are more comfortable.

7. GO TO ALL CHECK-UPS: Dogs are notorious for moving around in their excitement or agitation. This can cause shifts in a broken bone or cause a splint to come loose. If left unchecked, a broken bone can improperly set. Therefore, it is important to go to all scheduled vet check-ups after a broken bone. The x-ray can ensure that healing is happening properly.

8. RESTRICT ACTIVITY: The most common reason for delayed healing after a broken leg is excessive movement. Your dog may be feeling better with all the anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers. But until your veterinarian has OKed activity, keep your dog confined or tied down. Do not leave your dog unsupervised with any kind of restraints as they can get tangled up. The best scenario if your dog must be left alone is a secure crate. 

9. AVOID STAIRS AND FURNITURE: Your dog should not be doing any kind of jumping up and down. If you have to take your dog up and down stairs, lift him up until he’s cleared to walk on his own. Do not let your dog sleep on any high furniture as they can jump off and worsen their injury.

10. HYGIENE IS EVERYTHING: Infection is a threat after acute trauma. Keep bandages clean and free of moisture. Check incisions for any kind of inflammation or unusual odor. Provide clean bedding regularly.

11. PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT: A bored dog can become destructive. Find low impact ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated, such as a hollow toy stuffed with food or practicing obedience commands.

WILL A DOG'S BROKEN LEG HEAL ON ITS OWN?

It is dangerous to allow a dog's broken leg to heal untreated or without the supervision of a veterinarian. While a broken bone does naturally heal on its own (through bone remodeling), that does not mean it will heal properly. Bone can set improperly so allowing a bone to heal on its own can cause permanent deformities. Moreover, once bone has fused it cannot be reset. Bad positioning of a broken bone can also make your dog more susceptible to future fractures.

HOW DO DOG'S BONES HEAL?

The process of bone healing is called bone remodeling. After a fracture, your dog’s body has specialized cells that build new bone. The video below shows how the fracture healing process in dogs works.

To learn more about fracture healing and bone remodeling, check out our blog Fracture Healing Made Simple. You can also read about the science of fracture healing (complete with pictures) in our health section.

The Bone Remodeling Process in Dogs

WHAT IS A DOG'S BROKEN LEG HEALING TIME?

The healing time for a broken leg in a puppy is relatively short (2 to 4 weeks). Younger dogs have more bone building cells and are growing anyway, so their bones are constantly remodeling. For adult dogs, the healing time for a broken leg is 6 to 12 weeks. These time frames can differ based on the severity and nature of the fracture.

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

Preventive measures can help avoid injuries in the future. Read our blog on 5 Ways to Make Your Dog's Bones Stronger for nutrition, supplementation, and other tips.

If your dog has a broken bone, bone and joint support from nutrition and supplementation can be useful. Your dog will require their bone building cells to work on overdrive and can benefit from extra minerals.

Boneo Canine

As far as a natural supplement for strong bones, Boneo Canine, is definitely worth discussing with your veterinarian. This all natural supplement for dogs is not like traditional glucosamine, chondroitin or MSM products which only support the joints- it also supports strong bones by stimulating healthy bone turnover.

Check out this video to learn all about how the benefits of this unique supplement: