How to Help a Dog with a Sprained Leg

October 31, 2019 4 min read 0 Comments

Black and tan dog sleeping on a couch

Dogs may seem very resilient, but they encounter many of the same common injuries that humans get. Sprains can happen in many ways, like an abrupt twisting motion, or maybe just playing too hard and injuring themselves. This article will let you know what to expect from a dog with a sprained leg, and how you can help your dog get and feel better!


What is the difference between a strain and a sprain?

Strains are injuries that affect the tendons that link muscles and bones together. Sprains are injuries that affect the ligaments that connect bones. Both injuries can come from many different things, from athletic dogs to couch potatoes. Both strains and sprains typically occur in dogs’ legs. Despite being a relatively minor injury, a sprain can increase the chances of developing worse problems down the line in the affected area, like arthritis, since a sprain is essentially joint damage.


What are the symptoms of a sprain?

A brown and white dog in the air catching a frisbee

The symptoms of a sprain should be relatively apparent. While there won’t be a visible skin wound, the affected site will likely appear swollen and painful. Your dog will also likely be limping, avoiding putting weight on their injured leg. Your dog may also show other symptoms, such as decreased appetite and overall lessened activity. A sprain may also cause your dog to growl or bark if you touch the sprained area. If these symptoms last longer than a day, it is important to take them to the vet.


What do I do for a dog with a sprain?

Luckily, there are many ways to help out your furry friend when they have a sprain. The first step is to make sure that it is actually a sprain and not a broken bone. Fractures can be easily noticed by an abnormal position of the leg and significant pain and swelling. If you suspect a fracture, it is essential that you take your dog to the vet. While a sprain will still result in pain and swelling, it’s not nearly as intense. The best thing you can do for a dog with a sprain is to allow them to get some rest to heal. This means not allowing them to play as they typically do and making sure that they aren’t getting too excited and active. Addressing the swelling is also important. This can be done with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or topical options such as CBD infused coconut oil.

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The CBD infused coconut oil may be a safer option because you don’t need to monitor the dosing as you do with NSAIDs. CBD is shown to decrease inflammation and swelling and should offer your pet some relief. The next thing you should do is to ice the injured area. This will also help decrease the swelling, and offer more relief. As with many injuries with humans, it’s also important to compress the area. Light compression is important, you don’t want to cause your dog any more pain. If your dog is noticeably anxious about the injury, you could also administer CBD through treats or oil.

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This will help them relax and not be too focused on their injury. Once recovery has been happening for a few days, it’s important to slowly get your dog walking again. Consider taking short walks at a very slow pace, making sure to keep an eye on your dog’s attitude. If he or she does not seem to want to go on a walk, it might be because they are still in a lot of pain. Rest is the most important thing for any dog with an injury, and the type of bed they are on will actually make a difference. An orthopedic bed will offer faster recovery time for your dog, and get them back up on their paws in no time.

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What to do next?

small brown dog wearing cone of shame

If your dog is fully recovered, great! Just keep an eye out for re-injury, as if they get injured once, it increases the likelihood of them getting the same injury again. If your dog hasn’t gotten better, it is important to take them to the veterinarian to get a professional opinion on what to do. Long term, stay aware of arthritis developing in the same places that they were injured. CBD infused coconut oil helps with arthritis as well, so it is something very useful to keep on hand.

Injuries are a common thing for dogs, and it is important for you to know which steps to take to ensure the best possible recovery for your dog. Hopefully, this article helped you and your pup get through whatever sprain they may have!


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Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.



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