Skip to content

Healthy Dogs

Strains and Sprains Spell Pain for Dogs

Font Size
A
A
A

The Road to Recovery

It takes the same kinds of things to get your dog back on four feet as it would take to get you back on two.

Your vet will decide how to treat your dog based on whether he has a strain or a sprain, and just how bad it is. She’ll likely try to avoid surgery as a first line of treatment unless a tendon or ligament is torn.

In a typical plan to treat strains and sprains, your vet may tell you to:

  • Give your dog nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease inflammation.
  • Apply an ice pack or heating pad.
  • Make sure your dog rests.
  • Walk your dog on a leash, taking it slowly at first.
  • Use a brace or support to hold your dog’s muscle or joint in place.
  • Try physical therapy, such as walk on an underwater or land treadmill, balancing on a ball or board.
  • Massage the area.
  • Put your dog on a diet.

Surgery is in order for otherwise-healthy dogs that don’t get better, keep injuring themselves, or have a torn tendon or ligament. If your vet didn’t do an MRI or ultrasound the first time around, she may want to see these images before doing surgery.

Depending on the type of surgery, you’ll need to keep your dog quiet and limit his activity for a week or longer. The vet may use a bandage or brace to support the joint. If your dog moves too much or too soon after surgery, he could re-injure himself. Physical therapy can help him get back to being active at the right pace.

Whether your dog has injured himself before or you just want to keep him from getting a strain or sprain, make sure he stays at a healthy weight and gets regular exercise. Obesity and inactivity make these injuries more likely.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on October 11, 2014
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

bulldog in party hat
Breeds with longevity
Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
 
dog with duck in mouth
Which are considered smartest?
boxer dog
What are their health issues?
 
Pit bull looking up
Article
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Slideshow
 
Dog scratching behind ear
Slideshow
dog catching frisbee
Slideshow
 

Love your pets, hate your allergies?

Get tips for relief.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Dog Breed RMQ
Quiz
Lady owner feeding dog
Slideshow
 
pooldle
Slideshow
bulldog in party hat
Slideshow