What’s The Best Knee Brace For Dogs? (And Will It Help With Knee Pain?)

It’s incredibly difficult to know your dog is in pain.

And it is completely natural to want to do everything in your power to make them feel more comfortable.

One of the most common causes of pain in dogs is an issue with one or both knees.

Common Knee Problems In Dogs

Just like humans, dogs have two knees located in the hind legs.

The most common medical issues involving the knees include:

Patella Luxation

The patella, which is more commonly known as a kneecap, sits in front of the joint that’s called the stifle and behind a ligament called the patellar ligament.

When a dog moves its legs, the patella moves up and down in a groove in the femur.

But if the femur’s groove is too shallow, the patella can move out of place.

This is called a patella luxation. Dogs with patella luxation will often “skip” for a few steps, holding their leg off of the ground until the patella pops back into place.

Over time, a patella luxation can cause the patellar ligament to weaken and the condition to worsen. Patella luxations are “graded” and are broken into four grades:

  • Grade 1: The patella can be manually moved but returns to a natural position when not manipulated.
  • Grade 2: The patella will occasionally luxate but can easily return to the correct position when the dog straightens the stifle joint.
  • Grade 3: When a patella luxation reaches a Grade 3, this means that the patella spends more time outside of the groove in a luxation. It can be manually pushed into the correct position.
  • Grade 4: A Grade 4 luxation will never return to the correct position.

Depending on the severity of the problem, your dog might require surgery to fix the issue. Many dogs undergo patellar stabilization surgery and recover without incident.

Cruciate Ligament Tears

The cruciate ligament helps to connect the femur and tibia bones.

The knee has a caudal and cranial cruciate ligament that cross over one another. If a dog twists the knee, this can cause the ligament to tear.

When the cruciate ligament tears, the knee becomes unstable. This condition is very painful and dogs with a tear will generally “toe touch” and avoid putting weight on the leg.

Typically surgery is required to stabilize the joint although some very small dogs might be able to heal and function after weeks of strict rest.

Trauma

Accidents, like being hit by a car, can cause damage to the knee and fracture the femur and tibia. It’s also possible to fracture the kneecap and rupture the patellar ligament.

Dog Breeds That Are Prone To Knee Problems

Breeds that have a higher risk of being diagnosed with a knee problem include:

1. Golden Retrievers;
2. Labrador Retrievers;
3. Mastiffs;
4. Great Danes;
5. Dachshunds;
6. Toy Poodles;
7. Italian Greyhounds;
8. Yorkies;
9. French Bulldogs;
10. Bulldogs;
11. Chihuahuas;
12. Maltese;
13. German Shepherds;
14. Newfoundlands.

These breeds likely have a genetic risk factor that causes them to predisposed to issues with their knees and other joints.

Additionally, dogs who are used for hunting, herding, and who are involved in sports like agility are more likely to suffer from knee injuries.

7 Ways To Help Your Dog With Their Knee Issues

As a dog parent, you want to do everything you can to make sure your dog is comfortable. Here are a few steps to help your dog live their best life despite joint damage:

1. Start Your Dog On A Joint Supplement: There are numerous joint supplements available that can help to alleviate your pet’s pain and to help protect the joints from further damage.

2. Choose Appropriate Exercise: It’s important to keep your pet moving but high-impact exercise should be avoided. If possible, swimming is a great way to keep your pet strong and healthy! If your pet doesn’t like to swim or you can’t find a safe place to swim, walking is a good alternative.

3. Consider Alternative Medicine: Alternative treatments could include acupuncture and massage therapy. These treatments are typically used in conjunction with traditional treatments. Many owners have reported seeing great improvements in their pets who undergo these treatments!

4. Make Changes To Your Home: Laying down no-slip carpeting on hard floors and stairs is a great place to start! You might want to also consider installing ramps so that your pet can avoid stairs.

5. Invest In Orthopedic Bedding: There are many great orthopedic dog beds, typically made from high-quality memory foam. Be sure to do your research and choose a bed that is both supportive and easy to get in and out of.

6. Put Your Dog On A Diet (If They Need It): When a dog is overweight the extra weight can put unnecessary strain on the joints. You’ll find they feel better and get around easier when they lose a little weight!

7. Consider A Knee Brace: A knee brace can help to restrict motion in the knee.

Why Should I Consider A Knee Brace?

A knee brace can help to stabilize the knee after it has been damaged. Although many dogs do well after surgery, in some cases your veterinarian may recommend that you provide them with a brace.

Additionally, some dogs have medical conditions, such as heart disease, that prevent them from going under anesthesia. If surgery is not a safe option, a knee brace might be the best option.

The Best Rated Knee Braces For Dogs

The following are some of the top-rated knee braces available:

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This knee brace comes in eight sizes and is specifically made to fit either the right or left leg. The brace helps to support and stabilize the knee joint. It also helps to warm the joint and to increase blood flow.

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This brace comes in four sizes. Designed for comfort, the brace can help to stabilize the knee both before and after surgery.

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With eight different sizes, you’ll be sure to find the right fit for your pup. The brace offers the support your dog needs while stabilizing the knee.

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This wrap can help to deliver either hot or cold therapy to the injury site! Each wrap includes a gel pack that can be heated or cooled. The company also makes wraps for other parts of the body, such as the elbow, hip, and shoulder.

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This brace is made from neoprene and is another excellent way to provide support for dogs who have suffered a cruciate ligament rupture or luxating patella. The brace can be purchased in seven different sizes.

Always be sure to consult with your veterinarian about brace sizing and when the use of a brace is appropriate. There may be times, such as immediately after surgery, where it is better to use a sling to help your dog walk. This is to prevent excessive stress on any sutures or staples that are used to keep the incision closed.

Also, remember that a knee brace should not be left on all the time. You should check your pet regularly to ensure the brace isn’t rubbing the skin raw. If the fit is inappropriate, skin ulcers could appear and your pet could become even more uncomfortable.