Just like humans, dogs can have accidents and suffer physical injuries too.
In fact, dogs may have it far worse than us humans! If we are hurt, we can express our pain and reach out to a doctor and convey our problem, but dogs cannot express their pain in words, nor can they tell us where they got injured.
Since dogs cannot speak, dog owners have a responsibility to pay special attention when their dogs start behaving out of the ordinary to identify the cause.
Dogs are more vulnerable to some diseases and injuries, including eye problems, backaches, and knee injuries. Research suggests that ACL (knee ligament) injuries make up 35 – 40% of all dog injuries.
Which is why we have highlighted the ways in which you can help your dog after a knee injury.
How Can You Help Your Dog with A Knee Injury?
First and foremost, you have to identify whether your dog has a knee injury.
Let’s face it, identifying an injury can be challenging. A few years back I got a litter of bloodhound puppies and one of them hit his legs on the stairs. In the coming days, he just hid in his basket even as his siblings played all over the yard.
I thought he was just shy and taking more time to adjust then his siblings. But later on, I realized he was injured and had him treated.
Therefore, I know first-hand how important it is to identify your dog’s injury quickly. Let me make it simple for you by listing down the most common symptoms of knee injury:
- Abnormal, strange, or unusual behavior: the dog may bark too much, whimper, appear inactive, or stressed
- Change in movement. The dog may be showing restricted movements or limping while they move
- If you see your dog that is walking on one leg, it might be a sign that it has hurt itself
- Check for some physical signs in your dog; this might include stiffness, swelling of the knee, soreness, etc
- Limping or skipping is also a sign of knee injury
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased sense of alertness
Once you notice these signs, you must visit the vet as soon as possible.
The most common sort of knee problems that occur in dogs includes Arthritis, Luxating Patella, and Cranial cruciate ligament injuries. While you can only get a diagnosis for an actual condition from the vet, you are probably wondering how you can help the dog in the meanwhile?
Here are a few tips for you to help your dog when he/she is going through knee pain:
1. Restrict Your Dogs Movements Immediately
Limit the movement of your dog because movement might worsen the injury for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
You mustn’t let your dog play around the house, jump up and down the furniture, or do any other playful activities that might put pressure on the knee.
How can you restrict your dog’s movements? Here are a few tips for you.
- Install dog gates
- Make use of those dog crates; these can be very helpful
- Keep the dog on a leash if going outside. If the knee injury is severe, use a dog carrier
- Dogs can slip on tiles or wood flooring, so make use of rugs and carpets so they don’t injure themselves further by falling or slipping
- Use commands to stop your dog from moving too much
You may also use treats to get your dog to remain still but use them wisely!
2. Encourage Your Dog to Move Slowly
Your vet will recommend you start mobilizing your dog once the injury starts to heal. After the surgical or non-surgical treatment, you must get your dog to start moving, but slowly. This means not to let them run free and wild but help them with slow movements at first.
Because your dog now has weakened muscles, the dog itself might feel a bit hesitant to move. So, what can you do to encourage your dogs to stay mobile?
Here are a few tips for you.
- Encourage them to go swimming; 1 or 2 laps per day are enough depending on the size of your pool
- Take short walks with your dogs of 5 to 10 minutes
- Play tug with your dog
3. Take Care of Your Dog’s Food
Just like humans, when your dog is in pain, it is possible that their appetite may go down, or they may become picky eaters.
Just like humans, dogs also need special food and attention when they are sick. Some comfort food and strength-building food are just what the vet ordered!
The important thing is you need to give them healthy food whether they want it or not; otherwise, they will not be able to heal from their knee pain to the fullest. The dogs need their physical strength just like we do.
So, make sure you are feeding them food that is enriched in the following elements.
- High quality, nutrient-dense food
- Bone broths can help your dogs with tendon support and any other sort of inflammation.
- Fish-based food can prove to be quite healthy for your dogs.
- Also, give your dog supplements
4. Slow Down There Training
If you were in the process of training your dog, it is probably best if you put a halt to that or slow it down. Now the real challenge here is that when you slow it down, your dog might react very hyper or agitated.
In that case, you need to calm your dog down and redirect them towards less energetic training tasks, like walking or tugging. Your dog might try to freight train themselves, which means running like a wild beast.
5. Try To Understand Your Dog
Our last tip to you would be to try to listen and understand your dog. If your dog is in pain while doing something, you need to understand that your dog might need some more time to heal.
However, if you do not see any major signs keep up with all the tips, we mentioned above. Because just like human babies, your dog might be throwing a tantrum as well.
You Are Now Ready to Help Your Dog Recover From A Knee Injury!
Our tips will help you not only understand that your dog has had a knee but also what you can do about it as well. First, you need to restrict the movement, take your dog to the vet, encourage slow movements, take care of your dog’s food and diet, slow down their training, and last listen to your dog if he or she is in pain.
Have you got any more helpful tips? Share to help other dog owners!