Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

First Aid for a Dog with a Broken Bone

Dogs need help when they break a bone.

If your dog ever suffers from a broken bone, he will be in a lot of pain. Here, you can learn some things you can do immediately to stabilize the situation until you can get your dog to a veterinarian.

Signs of Broken Bones in Dogs

If your dog breaks a bone, you may not always be aware of it. If you weren't with your dog when the injury occurred, you might see some or all of the following signs indicating a broken bone:

  • Swelling of an area of the body
  • Sudden pain
  • Holding up a leg
  • Leg held at an odd angle
  • Bone poking through the skin or visible just below the skin

What to Do If Your Dog Breaks a Bone

Be aware that your dog will be in pain and feeling scared. Even a dog that is typically sweet and would never bite you may bite due to these circumstances. Be cautious when approaching a dog with a broken bone.

  • First, restrain your pet by placing a muzzle on him and getting him leashed if he's large or wrapped in a large towel or blanket if he's small. You may be prepared with a muzzle in your canine first aid kit, or you may need to make a homemade muzzle.
  • Don't touch the area that appears broken. If a bone is sticking out of the skin, do your best to stay away from that area.
  • If your dog is small, carry him to the car and, ideally, hold him while someone else drives you to the veterinarian. Call ahead so the staff can be prepared for you.
  • If your dog is large, enlist the help of another person and move your dog to a homemade stretcher to get him to the car. Ironing boards work well for this situation. You may also get your dog onto a large blanket and then, with another person, gently lift the four corners of the blanket, and carry him slowly and gently to the car.

To learn about other situations that occur in dogs and the aid you can render, check out: "First Aid for Dogs: An Overview."

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at DogHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.