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Dog Bone Fracture

Dog bone fracture - Introduction

Bone fractures can be caused by several things. It can happen during play time, when your dog jumps from a higher elevated object, when it’s attacked by another animal or by an accident, for example when he gets hit by a car.

Whenever you suspect that your dog suffered a bone fracture, you shouldn’t wait with visiting the vet.

Instead, don’t wait or question yourself. Load up your dog and drive him to the clinic.

Although there are other injuries that can replicate the symptoms of a bone fracture, such as a muscle or ligament injury, it’s better to get things sorted immediately. You should take care of the problem right away or complications may arise.

In fact, you can put your dog’s life in great danger if you wait too long after he experienced severe trauma. When your dog has been in a bad accident, there may be internal injuries as well.

Which dogs are more prone to broken bones?

Generally speaking, smaller breed dogs experience bone fractions more often compared to bigger breed dogs. This is mainly because their bones are thinner and more fragile, and they break more easily when they make a fall.

Small dogs are often carried around by humans and when they accidentally fall or jump out of your arms, they make quite a high drop.

You should be careful when you play with small dogs!

Whereas bigger dogs are stronger and can often handle a rough play, small dogs can’t.

Pay special attention to older dogs, regardless of their size. They may have some medical issues like arthritis.

Dog broken leg symptoms

The very first sign of a potentially broken or fractured bone is a sudden cry of pain, you’ll recognize it easily. Bone fractures go hand-in-hand with limping. The dog doesn’t want to put weight on the leg.

Other clinical signs include: 



Inability to move the leg

Holding the leg up


Types of bone fractures

Bone fractures come in a variety of types and levels of severances.

Epiphyseal fracture:

A epiphyseal fracture is the breakage of the softer part of the bone, and they are found most often in puppies and young dogs who are still growing.

Hair fracture:

This is the least severe form. This case is when there is a crack in the bone, but it is not completely broken. Your dog may still experience pain, may limp, and there may be some swelling too. Although this is not a severe case, you should still see the vet.

Closed fracture:

This is probably the most common case. A closed fracture is when the bone is completely broken but the skin has not been damaged. Your dog is likely to experience a lot of pain and will show it by crying. He will also limp and the leg is likely to swell up a lot. You should keep the dog from moving around in order to prevent further damage. Seek immediate veterinary help.

Open fracture:

This is the most severe and dangerous case. It’s when the bone is completely broken and you can actually see the bone. This means that the skin is also damaged. There is a lot of pain, bleeding and swelling. There is also a risk of infection because of the open skin wound.

Dog broken leg home treatment / First Aid

Unfortunately, there is no home treatment for a broken leg. Unless you are a qualified veterinarian, you need professional help. Failing to seek veterinary help and trying to set the bone by yourself will hurt your dog even more and may cause severe complications!

Alright, the dog broken leg symptoms are verified and you need to go to the vet. Before you do that, there are a new important steps to take, in order to help your and your dog's trip to the vet a bit safer. 

Step 1: Restrain the dog and put on a muzzle. Dogs in pain may bite, no matter how sweet or obedient they are.

Step 2: Make him comfortable and try to calm him down. Make sure he doesn’t move the fractured part too much.

Step 3: If any bleeding occurs, stop it by applying pressure.

Step 4: Open fractures must be covered with a wet, sterile cloth to avoid contamination.

Step 5: Where possible, restrain the dog for transportation. A big wooden board is suitable. If the dog is able to walk on 3 legs, you can support him by wrapping a big towel under his belly and support the weight of the dog. This helps him to walk easier on 3 legs.

Note: Don’t try to set the bone back yourself! It is extremely painful without pain medication and you can do much more damage!

Note: Never give painkillers which are not prescribed by your vet!

Arriving at the veterinary hospital

You should call to the hospital to let them know you’re on the way. Once you get there, they’ll know what to do. The main priority is to take away the pain and to make sure there are no further complications.

Your vet will give suitable painkillers and something to calm the dog down. In some cases, the dog must be sedated. Especially if the case is severe, when there is lot of pain or when the dog shows signs of aggression.

If the vet suspects internal injuries, he or she may do an ultrasound examination as well.

The following procedure will depend on the type of injury your dog has suffered. If the fracture is a closed one, it may be enough to get a cast. When it is an open fracture, your dog may need surgery.

Once the vet has examined the case, he or she will inform you about what’s gonna happen next.


Alright, so you’re back home from the clinic and your dog received treatment from the vet. If the injury was just a hair fracture, it might be enough to just give some pain medication. This of course needs to be prescribed by your vet.

If your dog’s leg is plastered or has another stabilization tool, you have to go for check-ups. The vet may need to make adjustments to the cast or supporting device.

Your vet has probably prescribed some medications such as painkillers and antibiotics. It’s very important to follow the dosage instructions of the vet! Giving too much or too little medication may have a negative effect on the healing process.

One of the most important aspects of aftercare, is rest. Limiting the dog’s physical activity is essential for a speedy recovery. You can use doggy-gates in order limit his moving space, and you may need to carry him outside when he needs to do his business.

When the dog starts to feel better, or the pain medication is working well, he might want to move around and get rid of his energy. Instead of letting him engage in physical activity you can give him some mental stimulation. (Just Google “brain games for dogs” and you’ll get plenty of inspiration!)

During the healing process you may feel sorry for your dog and give him some extra food or candies. That’s not a good idea! Since his physical activity is already limited, he should not get more food than usually. It can make him overweight and that is definitely a no-no! If you still want to give him a little extra, give him some extra cuddles!

Whatever you do, always follow the recommendations of your vet!

Dog broken leg healing time

The healing process of a dog's broken leg takes approximately 5 to 6 weeks, and the speed and success of it depends on the overall health of your dog. He may need some rehabilitation therapy after the healing process. This can include massage therapy and stretching exercises.

More severe cases may require more recovery time before your dog is back to normal. 

Can a dogs broken bone heal on its own?

Yes and no. It depends on the context. The dog's body will start to repaid the broken bone by itself over time, and the recovery process can speed up with the right care, medication and diet. Make sure your dog has a complete, healthy and nutritional diet that supports the healing of the body. 

However, before a dog's broken leg can start healing, it does need professional care. Again, don't try to do this at home. It will hurt your dog and can cause severe complications if not done correctly. 

That was it for today! 

Thank you for staying with me, I hope you've learned some useful information. 

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