The Difference Between a Dog ACL Brace vs Surgery

Welcome back to the Doggy Brace blog. We know how difficult it can be to help your dog during an ACL injury. We also understand how difficult it can be to try and read your dog’s mind. Since your dog can’t speak to you and tell you exactly what’s wrong you need to pay attention to their signals of pain. There can be many reasons for their limping other than an ACL injury. We want to review some potential causes for limping, but today we want to focus on the difference between a dog ACL brace vs. surgery.

Reasons Your Dog Is Limping

There are many different reasons as to why your dog may be limping, but it is important to do your best to notice how serious the injury may be. There are certain signals to listen to when your dog begins to limp. Your dog may be limping or struggling to walk or run for any of the reasons listed below:

  • Sprain
  • Arthritis
  • Lyme disease
  • Bug bites
  • ACL tear
  • Dislocated kneecap

If you notice limping it is important to take notice if it is simply a sprain from running and jumping, or if your dog has a more serious injury. If you have a rather active dog who can all of a sudden no longer put weight or pressure on their leg it is often an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear.

More often than not your doctor will recommend surgery for a torn ACL on your dog. However, sometimes depending on the severity of the injury a dog knee brace may be enough. Sometimes your vet may recommend a knee brace depending on your dog’s age and recovery level. Due to age and other potential conditions during or after surgery some dogs are not the best candidate for ACL surgery. If you are fearful that your dog may have a torn ACL take them to your vet immediately. Below we list a few symptoms of a torn ACL in your dog.

  • Swelling
  • Limping
  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Unwillingness to run or jump
  • Atrophy of muscles

If your dog’s ACL injury is left untreated it often gets worse little by little as time goes on. This tends to happen as the dog continues physical activity chasing animals in the yard or jumping up and down off of your couch!

Choosing a Dog ACL Brace or Surgery

If your furry friend has a small tear or just a soft tissue injury it will usually take around 2 months for the injury to heal with simply a dog brace. Because the injury does not require surgery a dog brace is perfect to help keep the knee stabilized and supported. The brace helps to limit extension and flexion on the knee as your dog walks around.

Depending on how bad your dog’s knee injury is your vet may recommend surgery as the only option. While this is rather expensive you may want to take into serious consideration what your vet thinks is best for you and your dog. After surgery it is still smart to get a knee brace for your dog as a stabilizer.


As you look for a knee brace for your dog and begin to understand the difference between an ACL dog brace vs surgery you will find that our braces are some of the best! We are of course big fans of dogs ourselves and understand just how important your dog can be to your life. At Doggy Brace we strive to help you and your furry friends come to a full recovery with our knee braces.