Broken Bones in Dogs

The causes and treatments of a dog’s broken bone.

Note: Broken bones are not always obvious, especially those involving the skull, face, ribs, pelvis, or paws.


  • Pain, often (but not always) severe.
  • Appearance of an “extra” joint in leg or unusual orientation of the leg.
  • Refusal to bear weight on the affected leg.
  • “Scissoring” or splaying of the dog’s rear legs (sign of a pelvic fracture).
  • Depression in the dog’s skull.
  • Inability to open or close mouth normally.
  • Abnormal movement of part of the rib cage (i.e., part of the rib cage expands when the rest of the rib cage contracts).

Trauma: Possibly hit by a car, kicked by a horse or cow, or bitten by another animal.

Disease: Cancer (osteosarcoma, primary hyperparathyroidism, parathyroid gland adenoma) or chronic renal disease (renal secondary hyperparathyroidism).

Nutritional deficiency: Improper diet, especially with respect to calcium and phosphorus.

What to do: Keep the dog calm and immobile to prevent further injury. If the dog is bleeding, apply pressure to wound, if possible (see Bleeding). Apply only enough pressure to control the bleeding, excessive pressure could worsen the injury. Cover the dog to keep him warm, then immediately take him to a veterinarian for further treatment.

- Instructions for transporting an injured dog -

Disclaimer:’s Dog Medical Conditions are intended for educational purposes only. They are not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your dog’s ailment. If you notice changes in your dog’s health or behavior, please take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

Have a health question about your dog? Ask our 
vet expert or ask other dog owners on our forums.


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Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on Broken Bones in Dogs

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Kenneth   Mogadore, Ohio

5/26/2013 3:40:20 AM

How can I help my dog with nutrition for broken wrist

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skiw9748   Hartford, AL

11/30/2012 3:52:05 PM

Good Information !

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Mary   Buffalo, NY

3/11/2012 9:59:03 AM

our 13 lb pommie pup jumped in air & fell on her right hind leg; squealing in pain for several seconds & has been limping for 24 hours now & very lethargic, not her usual puppy self..could this be a broken leg?

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dana   champaign, IL

2/5/2012 2:17:23 PM

How do you know if your dog broke his paw or just dislocated it?

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