How to Help Your Dog Recover from a Knee Injury
The effects of a dog's knee injury, regardless of the cause, are often devastating. They are entirely dependent on their owners for their recovery because they cannot do physical therapy, apply ice to injuries, or minimize the pain.
The following information is intended to help you make an informed decision about whether you should undergo surgery and what to expect afterward. If you can avoid surgery by using either physical therapy or alternative methods. Find out what can be done to help your dog get back on its feet.
Dog Knee Injuries
Your dog's knees are responsible for supporting its weight and absorbing shock from daily movements. However, they are also more prone to injuries. Research shows that 85% of lameness in dogs is caused by a knee injury. Injuries to these joints cause discomfort and pain, which impedes daily activities. Dogs are commonly affected by canine arthritis, cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries, and patellar luxation injuries, both of which happen to the rear limbs.
Are Some Dog Breeds More Vulnerable to Knee Injury?
Yes, some dog breeds are more prone to knee injuries than others for varying reasons. Let's discuss them below:
1. ACL & CCL injuries are more common in sporting or hunting dog breeds that lead an active lifestyle. German Shepherds, Terriers, Labradors, Rottweilers, Pointers, Boxers, and Mastiffs are among the breeds that suffer from this type of knee injury the most.
2. Arthritis in dogs manifests, usually when dogs become middle-aged. Dogs suffer from both Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis, both of which are caused by a combination of poor breeding practices, an imbalanced diet, and an unproportionate lifestyle. Labradors, GSDs, Hounds, Samoyeds, Chow Chow, Pugs, Malamutes, and Gret Danes are some of the breeds that are at a higher risk of arthritis than other breeds.
3. Patellar luxation is caused by selective breeding practices and is most common in purebred dogs like GSDs, Pugs, and Hounds.
Here are 7 helpful tips to help your dog recover from a knee injury.
Moving Around Should Be Restricted
It is important that you consult your veterinarian in the starting three to four weeks following the time your dog injured itself to determine what exactly was injured.
Tearing the CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament) is frequently reported injury in dogs that are active or older. This injury usually results in the dog limping. A "frog-leg" position may be apparent in their sitting position, in which their injured leg is placed on the side rather than beneath the body.
Your vet will give you a few non-surgical and surgical options once they rule out hip dysplasia and paw injuries. As an alternative to surgery, the best thing you can do for your animal is to place it on a rest schedule.
Recommendations for resting:
- Make use of crates
- Consider installing a dog gate on your staircase
- Avoid letting them jump off furniture or climb up on it
- You can confine their movement in the backyard by leashing them
- Bathe your dog and wash him or her properly using shampoo for that breed; for example, if you have a Maltipoo, use a Maltipoo shampoo.
- Place rugs or yoga mats on hardwood or tile floors to prevent them from sliding
You should check back in with the vet after your dog has rested his leg for several weeks. The injured leg will probably show signs of muscle atrophy after a few weeks. There is no need to panic. This is natural following a rest period, but you should keep an eye on it.
The next step is to encourage. In the coming months, the knee will become more stable due to the formation of scar tissue. During the healing process, your dog may not be able to bear weight on the injured leg due to the weakened muscle.
There are a number of things you can do to get the muscles to rebuild during the recovery period of the leg:
- Walking for a few minutes, no longer than 10 minutes
- You can encourage your dog to use all of his limbs as you walk him up and down a curb
- You can play tug with your dog to encourage them to utilize their hind legs in order to engage in the game
Read more about common causes of knee injury in dogs.
When your dog is recovering, your veterinarian will likely suggest that you limit the amount of food they consume. As much as it may appear cruel, the procedure is necessary, as body weight is a determining factor in how the injury will heal.
Feed your dog nutrient-dense, high-quality foods. Foods based on fish, including salmon, contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to the immune system.
As well as being anti-inflammatory, they have antioxidant properties that are ideal for your recovering dog. Also, you may be interested in adding supplements and broth to your pet's diet while it is recovering.
There are numerous benefits to bone broths, including inflammation relief and support for bones and tendons. Consult your veterinarian about the benefits of bone broth during this period.
Freight Training or Side-By-Side Training Should be Avoided
You will probably find it difficult to restrict the activities of a young, energetic dog for an extended period of time if you have one. Be sure to limit the dog's side-to-side (and cutting) movements if they love chasing balls throughout the house or yard.
It is unfortunate that this means there will be no time to play fetch. To make it easy for them to catch the ball, you can throw it high into the air so that they can catch it if you stand in front of them.
It is best to redirect their energy and stop them from "freight-training" or running around like an untamed animal if you observe them doing so.
The recovery process from a knee injury is long, and the chances of injuring the opposite knee are extremely high while the injured knee is healing.
Take a Look At Your Sleeping Arrangements
There may not be any need to make any changes to the way your dog sleeps if he sleeps on the floor in his own bed. Obviously, if your animal shares your bed, jumping that high might be too much for your pet, who might be recovering from a knee injury.
For the sake of not disturbing your dog's routine, you might consider temporarily putting the mattress on the floor in order to avoid disrupting it. If your dog tries to get up at night, consider sleeping with his leash wrapped around your wrist. This will prevent your dog from bothering you.
It is Recommended That You Block The Stairs
Ensure your dog is protected from sustaining an injury to his delicate knee by installing a baby gate or other barrier on the stairs. This is done so he or she can't follow you upstairs.
Take Your Pets on Separate Walks
Is there more than one dog in your household? You can bring your dog for a walk after surgery in pairs, so the dog that is healing from surgery does not push himself too hard.
Read about 3 knee surgery options for dogs.
Whenever there is a problem, animals are excellent at informing us. Your vet should be contacted if the injury gets worse, they are less energetic, and they have episodes of lameness.
However, if the leg is becoming stronger, the dog is starting to gain more energy, and they increasingly wish to become more energetic. This indicates they may be recovering well from their injuries. Do not go hiking any mountains or start catching balls again before consulting your veterinarian.
Author: Arslan Hassan