Broken Bones in Dogs: What to Do

No one wants to discover that their canine companion has a broken bone–but it happens. How this type of injury is treated can impact the future of your dog’s physical and emotional well-being. With broken bones, immediate action is crucial. Read on to learn how to spot broken bones in dogs and what to do about it.

broken bone in dogs

Common Signs to Look Out For

Before a fractured or broken bone can be treated, it needs to be brought to your attention. Below are a few common signs of a fracture. Keep in mind, you can take your dog to the vet for a closer look even if they don’t exhibit these exact signs since many dogs can hide pain well.


If your canine is limping and avoiding the use of a specific limb, this can be a sign of injury. While limping alone doesn’t imply there is a broken bone, it can be an indication that something is wrong.


Broken bones spur the immune system into action, which can often lead to swelling and inflammation. Pay attention to any areas of the body that appear inflamed or puffier than usual.


Touching the affected area causes pain. If your dog yelps when you apply pressure to an area you suspect to be injured, this can be a serious indication of an injury. Combined with other signs, the likelihood of a broken bone increases.

Unusual Behavior

If your canine becomes easily agitated or aggressive when their usual behavioral patterns are to be tame and obedient, it’s worth taking a closer look for any injuries. Keep in mind, unusual behavior can also include a loss of appetite, excessive panting, restlessness, or withdrawal.

Deformed Limb

A deformed limb can be one of the easiest telltale signs of a broken bone. If you spot a misaligned or deformed limb, it’s time for an emergency trip to the vet.

What to Do Next

If your furry friend displays any of the mentioned signs of a broken bone, don’t panic. Instead, follow the steps below to ensure they receive the proper treatment.

Limit Movement

Once you’ve established there’s a problem, keep your dog as still as possible to avoid further damage. You might need to plug in a calming diffuser or administer treats designed to relax canines. If they allow you to get near the injured limb, gently bandage the injured area. This will help keep it in place while also discouraging excessive licking or biting.

While wrapping a bandage around the limp, do not attempt to realign any broken bones. Doing so can cause more harm than good and could prolong the healing process when done incorrectly.

Contact Your Vet or Emergency Vet Clinic

If the injury occurs during your vet’s business hours, give them a call as soon as possible. Calmy explain your dog’s symptoms and behavior–then arrange for immediate medical attention. Your vet can also help you with tips regarding transporting your pet based on his or her unique condition.

If your vet is not available for an immediate vet visit–or the injury occurs after business hours–contact your local emergency veterinary clinic. Emergency animal hospitals or clinics are experts at handling time-sensitive appointments at odd hours and have the tools needed to properly diagnose and treat your fur baby.

Transport Your Pet with Caution

Follow the vet’s instructions on how best to transport your dog based on their condition. Note that these instructions will vary based on the severity of the injury. While your nerves might tell you to speed to the vet clinic–it’s important to offer a smooth and safe ride for your canine.

They are in a vulnerable position that requires limited movement, and a speeding car won’t help. Not to mention, speeding to the clinic increases the chances of a car accident, which would only delay treatment. Instead, remain calm and drive normally. Take deep breaths, drink water and simply focus on getting to your destination. It can also help to offer words of consolation to your pet. Some examples of what you could say include “We will get through this together” and “Everything is going to be okay.”

Follow the Vet’s Guidance

Once you’ve safely arrived at the vet clinic, you’ll want to follow the vet’s guidance regarding how best to diagnose and treat the injury. This visit will most likely include x-rays and other tests that could confirm a broken bone. If the presence of a broken bone has been diagnosed, your vet will discuss various treatment and pain management options with you. These options might include casts, splints, surgeries, pain medications and follow-up treatments.

Help with Recovery

After medical care has been provided and your furry loved one is back at home, it’s critical to create a safe and comfortable space that helps them heal. Ensure their food and water are easily assessable near their area of rest while following the vet’s recommended dietary plan during recovery.

Administer your pet’s medication as prescribed, including any pain meds or antibiotics. Set an alarm on your phone to stay on schedule for administering the correct dosage each day. While your canine heals, you might need to help them with hygiene, such as bathing them or changing their bandages.

Offer Emotional Support and Mental Stimulation

It can be rough for a pup to sit around all day when they are used to being active. They’ll need you to be more hands-on when it comes to entertaining them or encouraging their healing process. After all, an injured dog still needs to know who’s a good boy.

Contact EVCC if Your Dog Has a Broken Bone

Suspecting that your dog has a broken bone can be a nerve-racking experience. Since dogs lack the ability to verbally provide details regarding their symptoms, it’s up to you to assess whether or not they require medical attention. When it comes to fur babies, it’s best to be on the side of caution and get a professional opinion. The faster a dog receives proper treatment, the faster they can get back to being themselves. If your dog has a broken bone, contact Emergency Veterinary Care Centers by calling one of our locations. Our team delivers exceptional emergency care to pets and will be there for you and your pup 24/7.

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