Tips for Caring for Your Pets during the Summer Months

First Aid For A Broken Leg: How To Stabilize Your Dog's Leg For Transport

by Kirk Hernandez

Dogs, just like humans, can fracture their limbs while playing and jumping. And, unfortunately, they don't always know how to avoid the things that will hurt them, like a speeding vehicle. If your dog breaks their leg, you have to take them to an emergency vet to have the leg set and make sure that the blood flow to the limb is not compromised. However, you must first try to stabilize the limb so you don't do further injury during transport. Following are some tips for dealing with three different broken limb scenarios. 

Open Fracture

Before addressing your dog's injury, restrain them and put a muzzle on them. Dogs, even ones that love you very much, might bite when they are in extreme pain. Examine the injury to determine if it is an open or closed fracture. In an open fracture, you will see a break in the skin. There may even be bone protruding through the skin. Never try to splint an open fracture. Flush the wound with clean water and wrap it with a sterile bandage. Transport your dog to the vet with their broken leg resting on a large folded towel to lend it some stability.

Closed Fracture

If the fracture is closed, you can splint it to give it more stability during transport. To create a makeshift splint, grab anything that you have on hand that can work as a splint. Think about cardboard, magazines, or sticks. Place the splinting material on either side of the leg and wrap medical tape around your dog's leg to hold everything in place. Do not wrap your dog's leg too tightly or you could impair circulation to the limb.

Painful Fracture

Most dogs can tolerate a great deal of pain, but if your dog is in pain that seems to get worse when you try to splint the leg, don't splint it. Transport them to the vet with a large towel under the limb for support. Have someone sit with them to make sure they don't get jostled around during the ride and don't try to use the leg.

When your dog is hurt, you just want to make everything better. If your dog has a broken limb, try to keep them calm and stabilize their leg before transporting them to your emergency vet. Stabilization prevents further injury to the limb and helps ease the pain a little. For more information, check out a website like