Torn ACL in Dogs | What Helps and What Else You Can Do

Knees are one of the most complex joints, and your dog relies on them functioning correctly to do just about everything! Sprains, minor tears, and other injuries are some of the most common injuries among our canine friends. They still need to walk on it to get around and when they have an injured knee you will see the tell tail signs: sitting abnormally to take the pressure off their knee, swelling in the joint, or lameness. Limping, yelping, whimpering – it breaks your heart to see them in pain. But does that mean a torn ACL in dogs? Hold on a sec…

You may think that means a torn ACL in dogs –  but that’s not necessarily the case. For one, the ligament in the knee of dogs isn’t the ACL, it’s the CCL though most people know it as the ACL, for convenience we will use that term as well.  Also, the limp might not be a full torn ACL/CCL. 

It can be hard to diagnose how bad of an injury you and your dog are dealing with, if you suspect they’ve injured their knee at all a trip to the vet should be the first thing you plan!

Not all knee injuries are torn ACLs, and not all torn ACL are complete tears, which means you may need to support your pup in another way!

bulldog wearing a doggy brace, not a solution for completely torn ACL in dogs
English Bulldog Lily poses happily with her Doggy Brace.

A Dog Brace Offers Preventative Care

Do you know why an athlete wears a knee brace? It helps prevent excessive movement and rotation while supporting the athlete’s knee and reducing the risk of injury.

Taking inspiration from athletes, Doggy Brace has worked to develop a brace that can help prevent ACL injuries in all canines. Doggy Brace products discourage your pet from making too tight or too quick movements. The braces also limit the knees the natural range of motion. 

If your dog has an injured ACL, they will avoid putting weight on their injury. They’ll overcompensate and put too much weight on their healthy leg instead, which increases their chance of spraining or tearing their other CCL. A brace allows your pup to comfortably put more weight on their hurt leg so they’re not dramatically shifting their weight onto one side.

Some dogs are more prone to leg injuries too! Their age, weight, and breed all play a factor in their chances of injuring their ACLs. Doggy Brace significantly reduces the risk of a sprained ACL (or worse) because of the added support.

Can a Brace be an Alternative for Torn ACL in Dogs?

Doggy Brace is designed for preventive care and recovery from sprained ACLs. It is not an alternative to surgery if your vet believes surgery is the best course of action. A torn ACL will not heal on its own without surgery. 

However, surgery may not be an option for your pet due to their health, age, or if they have an aversion to anesthetics. If this is the case, braces for an injured ACL can help support your dog’s joint so they can comfortably move while they recover. 

A sprained ACL should not require surgery and in these cases, a brace is a fantastic option to support your dog while they recover.

What is the Doggy Brace?

The Doggy Brace dog knee brace is a specifically designed knee brace to fit your dog’s hind leg to support your pup’s injured CCL. The knee is a complex joint and rigorous activity, poor health, or any combination of the two can position dogs for injury. By supporting the knee injuries can be prevented.

How Does it Work

The Doggy Brace works just like a brace for humans! You slip it on over the leg, tighten and allow the brace to support the knee. The Doggy Brace provides extra structural support to keep the knee in place, stabilizing the weakened joint so that it performs correctly without the pain.

Benefits

Using a Doggy Brace provides a number of benefits for both you and your pet! The brace helps your pet protect their joint, assisting with pain and helping improve their mobility. In keeping the joint secure, it can also help keep the injury from getting any worse. The only way to fully repair a completely torn ACL in dogs is to undergo surgery. But if the tear isn’t complete, and by giving your dog a brace to support their knee, you can delay and prevent the need for surgery – saving you on costly medical procedures.

Costs

dog braces laid out in various sizes
Doggy Brace braces fit small, medium, and large breeds.

Doggy Brace has worked hard to produce an affordable brace for pet owners. The cost of each brace is based on the size of dog and the amount of material necessary to make the brace – and nothing else. By utilizing an all neoprene design, we are also able to keep the costs down and create adjustable braces to fit most dogs, without expensive customization being necessary. 

For a range from $99 to $114, you can get the right brace to support your dog’s knee and help stop their suffering. 

How to Fit

Take a look at this handy size chart. Get a tape measure (if you have it, a tailor’s tape measure will be better,)  a scale, and your dog and you’ll be sure you get the best fit for your furry friend. Weigh your dog, then measure the length of the upper leg (the femur), the lower leg (the tibia), and the circumference of their thigh. With these numbers compare against our Sizing Chart to find your pup the perfect fit!

Two Ways to Wear!

There are two optional ways to fit your Doggy Brace. If your dog is comfortable with the Traditional option, we encourage that as it gives the best fit. If you find that you have to tighten the strap, remember to take time with the brace off to promote good circulation. Be aware of your dog and their behavior.

TRADITIONAL

For full security:

  1. Slip the brace on your dog’s leg, with the logo facing out.
  2. Tighten the straps around the leg
    1. There are two straps, one to secure the brace below the hock (or ankle), and one to secure above your dogs stifle (or knee). 
    2. The strap at the top of the brace for around the upper leg is long. This is so you can wrap it as many times over as needed to make a snug fit (but not too snug) for your dog. 
  3. Wrap the back strap around your dog’s back and tighten. This will help keep the brace from slipping down if it gets loose.

UNLIMITED FREEDOM

This brace was designed with comfort in mind! If your furry family member finds the back strap uncomfortable, you can simply remove it. So long as the brace and straps are tightened correctly, your dog’s leg will still be fully supported. Follow these instructions to remove the strap:

  1. Find the strap base on both sides of the brace
  2. Using scissors, carefully cut the strap as close to the base as possible
  3. Remove loose stitching and follow TRADITIONAL steps 1 & 2

Materials

The dog leg brace is made of soft neoprene, the same protective material used in orthopedic braces and by water sport enthusiasts. Doggy Brace does not use any metal, hard plastics, or rigid pieces in our braces. We have seen that metal components can irritate your dog’s skin or worse! 

Strength

The neoprene material is a family of synthetic rubbers, that have great flexibility. This material is sturdy enough to support the knee as well as flex with the movement your dog will be doing in no time!

Life Expectancy 

Neoprene is a sturdy material and will hold up to years of use. Resistant to weather, scratches, and heat the brace should last your pup as long as they need the support! Just be sure to watch your dog the first few times they are wearing and using the brace to discourage destructive habits like chewing – our braces stand up to lots, but few things get in the way between a Golden Retriever and their favorite past time!

How to Order

After measuring your dog’s leg, choose your size and go ahead and get your dog the help they’re looking for! Simply follow these links to put your order in and you will receive your brace in about 7 days!

Quality & Satisfaction Guarantee

Problems happen, or sizing issues crop up. If you have any problems, reach out to our support email at support@doggybrace.com and we’ll take care of you.

FAQs

How do I choose the correct size for my dog?

Our straps are adjustable and designed so one size fits most dogs. Unfortunately there is no X breed gets Y brace. You’ll need to do a little bit of homework to pick the right brace size. You’ll need an adjustable tape measure to find your dog’s tibia length and upper thigh circumference and you’ll need to be able to weigh them. Head over to our sizing chart to find the perfect fit! 

How tight do I cinch the strap?

You want to tighten the strap enough to keep the brace tight against their leg. Remember that your dog can’t let you know if something is too tight or their paw is going numb so you want to be careful and aware of your dog’s comfort. Remember to alternate time off and on with the brace.

How do I return the strap or get a replacement?

If you have any problems, reach out to support@doggybrace.com. We want you to be happy, and your dog to feel good

Should I use a brace instead of surgery?

A completely torn CCL will not heal on its own without surgery. Talk with your vet to see if surgery is needed for your dog. If your vet does not recommend surgery, a brace can be used as a form of conservative treatment. 

What colors are available?

In our constant effort to keep the cost of the brace low for customers, we only offer black braces. 

Will my dog chew their brace off?

It’s possible but very rare for a dog to chew through their brace or to chew it off. If you do notice that your dog is biting at the brace, you may need to adjust the fit to ensure comfort.

Why does the brace keep slipping down?

The brace is adjustable and so is reliant on your putting it on correctly. So long as the brace is the right size, and the back and leg straps are tightened correctly the brace should stay at the right height. Of course, with very active dogs or if they are rolling around there is the chance you will need to readjust periodically.