How To Tell If My Dog Has Broken Its Leg

Canines are playful creatures, and it’s extremely common for them to hurt themselves while playing. When a leg is broken, simple medications at home won’t work for your dog. You must need to get him checked by the vet immediately. But the first thing is, how will you know that your dog has broken his leg?

You can tell that your dog has a broken when with the signs your dog exhibits. Some of the signs are very obvious, and some need keen attention. Your dog suddenly becoming inactive and growls when his leg is touched is a clear hint that he has injured his leg. 

But to differentiate either it’s a broken or sprained leg is difficult. Because in both cases, your dog will feel pain. This post will help you how you can know when your dog has a broken leg and what to do next.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Broken Its Leg

As mentioned earlier, the signs of a broken or sprained leg can be confusing. It’s because in both cases, your dog will show similar behavior. Therefore, you should take your dog for medical diagnosis when you see the following symptoms to confirm either it’s a sprained or broken leg.

• Abnormal limb movement
• Holding the leg up
• Limb swelling
• Pain
• Whining
• Inability or unwillingness to work
• Severe lameness
• Grinding or popping sounds of the bone
• Bruising

You must remember that a broken leg has different types. Some fractures are more severe than others and have severe symptoms that are not visible. These include internal bleeding or organ injury. So, even if you feel that the fracture is minor, don’t delay a veterinarian’s visit.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Broken Its Leg

Causes Of Broken Leg In Dogs

In many cases, you’ll witness the event that causes a broken leg in your dog. But your dog can also suffer a broken leg when he is out of your sight. The common causes of a broken leg in dogs are:

• Vehicular trauma
• Play and exercise
• Sports
• Underlying disease
• Diet (containing excess amount of vitamin A and phosphorus, and less calcium)
• Bone cancer
• Genetic collagen defect
• Age

Can A Dog Still Walk With Broken Leg?

It greatly depends upon the severity of the fracture. If the fracture isn’t severe, your dog will still be able to walk. But he will be limping due to pain which is an indication that he has a leg injury.

If the fracture is more than ligament tear and partial bone break, then your dog will find it difficult to stand and walk. In this situation, he needs medical assistance immediately.

Diagnosis Of Broken Leg In Dogs

When you feel that your dog has a leg injury, take him to a vet clinic immediately. If the broken leg is the result of a vehicular accident, then be extra careful while taking your dog to the clinic. Because, in this case, your dog will suffer internal injury too.

At the clinic, the doctor will use the following steps and tools to diagnose a broken leg.
Intravenous medications, fluids, antibiotics, or other pain-reducing substances will be injected if your dog will need them

• A urinary catheter will be inserted to save your dog from the pain that he will feel while standing for urinating
• The veterinarian will thoroughly check for any organ injury or other signs of a broken leg
• Blood work will also be done for confirmation
• Radiographs of the body will be done to check for leg break and organs damage
• In the end, abdominal ultrasound will be performed if required for organ analysis.

What Is The Treatment For Broken Leg In Dogs?

After the diagnosis, your vet will possibly send the radiographs to a radiologist for a detailed check. He will discuss the type and severity of the fracture and the possible treatment options available. You can’t treat a broken leg at home, so you must not try. If you do, you’ll only end up hurting your dog more.

Some of the treatments that are available for a broken leg in dogs are:


The veterinarian will begin the treatment by immobilizing your dog’s leg. It’s crucial to minimize pain and prevent further damage. If this isn’t done, the bone fragments can move against the tissue and damage the soft tissues in your dog’s leg. It will complicate the condition.


NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The vet will recommend NSAIDs specified for dogs to alleviate his pain. You can’t give him any pain-relieving medicines yourself because medicines for humans are not suitable for canines.

Splint Or Cast

Cast or splint is usually a preferred treatment option because it is affordable. The treatment time with a splint or cast will be longer, and you’ll have to visit the vet clinic often. The vet will periodically change the cast or splint and examine the improvement through radiographs during the treatment.


Some fractures can only be treated with surgery. The vet surgeon will perform surgery and support the bone with pins, plates, and screws until it heals completely. After the surgery, a splint and cast will be required for some time to provide additional stability to the broken bone.

What Is The Treatment For Broken Leg In Dogs? 


As a loving pet owner, you won’t want to see your pet suffer due to a broken leg. So, the best way to get your dog out of the suffering is to note the signs your dog exhibits.

It’s not difficult to know when something is wrong with your dog. Your active furry buddy will suddenly become lazy and dull. When this happens, try to spend more time with your dog to know what’s the problem.

If your dog’s walk is changed and he growls when you touch one of his legs, it’s a clear sign that his leg is hurting. It might be a sprain, but you must take him to the vet for confirmation.

After a detailed examination, the veterinarian will diagnose if the dog has a broken leg or not. If yes, he will suggest the most appropriate treatment to cure it.

Remember, you can’t treat a broken leg at home in your own way and using medicines for humans. It will only make the situation worse.