Dog Lying on Vetenarian Table with Injured Leg

A Guide to Common Dog Injuries

Dogs are incredibly active creatures that love to run and play all day long. Unfortunately, this makes them prone to a number of injuries. As a responsible pet owner, it is your duty to tend to your pet when they are in pain.

Animals are likely to be scared and confused when they are in hurt, hence it is important you familiarize yourself with the most common dog injuries that will help you cater to the needs of your canine friend in the best possible way. Here are some common dog injuries:

Dog Leg Injuries

Dogs that have suffered from a road accident, have hurt their legs while jumping or have had a traumatic fall are likely to suffer from a leg injury.  Take your dog to the vet if they have started limping or having problems with mobility. If the leg injury has resulted in a fracture, discourage your dog from movement to avoid any further injuries.

Vetenarian Wraping Up Dogs Leg

Different parts of the dog’s leg can trigger the source of the injury, such as the joints, bones, ligaments and muscles. While some leg injuries may be severe and require surgery to be treated, others can be treated using mild medication.

Here are some common types of leg injuries:

Dog Paw Injuries

As the name indicates, these injuries are related to the dog’s paws. Stepping on glass is a common cause of paw injury in dogs. Other causes include stepping on a thorn or a nail. Such injuries are likely to result in infection and must be treated immediately. If your dog shows any signs of limping, inspect for signs of swellings, cuts and lumps and take them to the vet before the injury becomes infected.

Muscular Injuries

Muscular sprains are injuries caused by accidents in the joints of cartilages. Such injuries are likely to occur when your pet is playing outside or has experienced a fall. The most common symptom of muscular sprain is swelling in the affected area. Take your dog to the vet if the swelling does not subside within 48 hours.

Ligament/Knee Injuries

Most knee injuries are caused by ruptured anterior, cranial or cruciate ligaments known as ACLs.  When the ACL is damaged, the inside part of the knee, known as meniscus, is also damaged. ACL injury is considered a serious orthopedic injury and is caused when the dog applies too much pressure on their knees, slips over while running or experiences a traumatic car accident.

Knee Bandage Support on Dog's Knee

Such dogs are prone to arthritis in the joint if the injury is left untreated, hence take your dog to the vet immediately if they have suffered an accident and are having trouble moving around.

Bone Fractures

Bone fractures are caused when the bone experiences excessive stress. There are several forms of fractures including:

Closed Fractures

In such fractures, the bone is fractured but the skin remains intact.

Compound Fractures

In such fractures, the broken bones are exposed and protrude through the skin. Such fractures are considered dangerous as the bones are at risk of being contaminated by dirt and debris.

Epiphyseal Fractures

Such fractures are common in young or growing dogs. The soft area near the bone is referred to as the epiphyseal plates. Since these are areas of growth, they are still immature and are prone to being easily fractured.

Dog with Bandaged Broken Leg Lying on Floor

Greenstick Fractures

Such fractures are caused by small cracks within the bones. The bone remains intact but is not considered broken.


The symptoms of bone desolations are similar to fractures but are less common. Bone dislocations are mostly caused in traffic accidents when the leg becomes trapped while the rest of the body is still moving. Inspect the dog’s joint for signs of bone dislocation as the affected leg may appear shorter than the others. The injury is treated like a fracture and must not be taken lightly.

Symptoms of Leg Injuries

Some common symptoms of leg injuries include:

  • Limping
  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Lethargy
  • Inability to stand up
  • Pain
  • Bleeding wounds

Limping Dog Standing with Bandaged Leg


If your dog has suffered a leg injury, try your best to stop the bleeding and do not attempt to straighten the affected area. Take your pet to the vet immediately who will either recommend antibiotics or surgery for your dog.

Dog Eye Injury

Even a tiny scratch in the eye can develop into an affected wound and result in loss of vision for your pet. It is thus advised you take dog eye injuries seriously and always seek immediate treatment regardless of how minor the eye injury is.

Eye injuries include scratches, foreign body, chemical or contact corneal trauma. Seek serious medical help if your dog is squinting or is not opening their eyelids. Additionally, do not attempt to treat an eye injury at home and always seek the help of a professional.

Dog eye injuries can be caused by an accident, infection or a chemical which has led to a dangerous reaction. Some breeds, such as pugs, are more susceptible to eye injuries and must be watched carefully. Take extra care when using chemicals and products, such as shampoos on your dogs.

Eye injuries can also be avoided by keeping the dog in a separate room when working with harmful chemicals, such as acid and bleach.

Dog Eye Discharge

Symptoms of Eye Injuries

  • Inability to open the eyes
  • Rapid blinking
  • Squinting
  • Avoiding bright light
  • Distorted pupil
  • Cloudiness
  • Discharge from eye
  • Frequently pawing at the eye

Treatment of Eye Injuries

Do not attempt to treat your dog’s condition at home and take them to the vet immediately. The treatment for eye injuries is likely to be expensive, depending on the severity of the condition.

Dog Shoulder Injury

Dogs are prone to suffering from shoulder injuries as a result of excessive running, playing and jumping. A shoulder injury is likely to cause the dog to limp or lift the affected paw while walking. Shoulder injuries involving the ligaments and tendons are known to cause lameness. In most cases, the vet will conduct an X-Ray to figure out what’s wrong with the shoulder.

Dog Lying while His Owner Examing His Shoulder

The most common types of dog shoulder injuries include:

Biceps Tenosynovitis

This is a common shoulder problem that can characterize by inflammation of the tendons of the brachii muscles and the sheath in front of the shoulder blade. This condition developed over a period of time and is quite common in athletic dogs that are used to increased physical activity. This condition is mainly caused by repetitive injury to the tendons.

Supraspinatus Insertionopathy

This type of shoulder injury is caused when a tendon called the supraspinatus tendon experiences tear or gets injured. Inflammation of the tendon can result in the formation of calcium deposits, commonly known as mineralization.

Symptoms of Shoulder Injury

  • Lameness
  • Limping
  • Hesitation while jumping or running
  • Difficulty in movement
  • Swelling in the affected area

Injured Dog Trying to Sleep

Treatment of Shoulder Injury

Minor injuries may subside for a few days with proper treatment but it is still advised you take your dog to the vet for a check-up. Seek professional help immediately if your dog is suffering from severe pain or is exhibiting severe symptoms. Most vegetarians will conduct an X-ray or an MRI to evaluate the condition and find out the extent of the injury.

Dog Dew Claw Injury

Unfortunately, at some point of their canine lives, your pet is likely to tear or break a nail. The dew claws are the nails located on the front of the foot, making them more susceptible to tear and breakage. Dew claws are more loosely attached compared to regular nails, making them more susceptible to dew claw injuries.

Dog owners are advised to take special care while trimming their dog’s nails as even a small jerk can cause the dew claw to crack or break.

Longer nails are more likely to break or crack when the dog is walking around or playing, especially on hard surfaces, such as concrete and asphalt. Additionally, some dogs are naturally born with weaker nails and must be watched more carefully.

If you notice a piece of nail dangling from your dog’s paw, use a pair of clippers to trim it immediately to avoid future damage. Additionally, apply cornstarch or styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

Holding Dog's Paw to Show Dog Dew Claw Injury

Symptoms of Dog Dew Claw Injuries

  • Swollen paw or toe
  • Bleeding
  • Lifting one paw in the air while walking
  • Resistance in having the paw examined
  • Limping
  • Constant licking of the paw

Treatment of Dew Claw Injuries

Most dew claw injuries can be treated at home by following these steps:

  1. Use a nail clipper to remove the remaining piece of nail.
  2. Use styptic powder or corn starch to control the bleeding.
  3. Use an antiseptic to disinfect the area and relieve any discomfort from the open wound.
  4. Bandage the dog’s paw to prevent infections. This can be tricky as dogs do not like having their paws bandaged.
  5. Change the bandage every few days to keep the affected area clean.

However, if your dog has suffered from a serious dew claw injury and is bleeding profusely, take them to the vet immediately.

Trimming Dog Nails

Dog Spinal Injury

Dog spinal injuries may be a result of a car accident, a degenerative disc disease or due to other illnesses. Unfortunately, dogs with serious spinal cord damage must either undergo expensive surgery or euthanasia. Intervertebral Disc Disease is considered one of the most common types of spinal injuries in dogs.

IVDD causes the dog’s spinal discs to either bulge or burst, resulting in sharp pain, nerve damage and in extreme cases, paralysis.

Dog breeds, such as Dachshund, Basset, and Hounds, are predisposed to IVDD.

Symptoms of Dog Spinal Injury

Some common symptoms of spinal injuries in dogs include:

Dog Using Wheels on Back Legs

  • Crying out in pain
  • Unwillingness to play and jump
  • Crying out in pain
  • Reduced activity
  • Reduced appetite
  • Muscle spasms over the neck and back
  • Anxious behavior

Treatment of Dog Spinal Injury

Seek professional help immediately if your dog is showing any of the abovementioned symptoms. The vet may conduct a neurological exam to identify the problem. Surgery is considered the most effective form of treatment for dog spinal injuries.

Dog Tail Injury

Unfortunately, dogs are prone to breaking or injure their tails. This is especially common in large dog breeds, such as Hounds and Labradors, which have long tails which are prone to getting caught up in objects. Tails are an important part of your dog’s anatomy and are integral for communication and maintaining balance.

Dog Biting Another Dog for Tail

Smaller dog breeds are known to use their tails as playthings while almost every other dog is prone to wagging their tails when they are happy. Stepping on the dog’s tail can result in tail injuries. Other causes include insect bites and bite wounds. Always monitor your child’s playtime with the dog to ensure they do not cause any injuries to the pet and to themselves.

Unfortunately, since the tail is an area of rich blood flow, even a small bite or laceration can result in prolonged bleeding. Tail injuries usually take a while to recover from as most dogs have the urge to chew or bite on the wound. Take your dog to the vet if they have suffered from a severe tail injury and never try to treat it yourself.

Symptoms of Dog Tail Injuries

  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Inability to wag the tail
  • Severe pain
  • Bleeding
  • Limping if the tail has been broken

Dog with Tail Injury Lying in Dog Bed

Treatment of Dog Tail Injuries

If your dog has a wound, you may treat it by using an antiseptic ointment recommended by the vet. However, if your dog has sustained severe injuries, you must take them to the vet immediately to seek professional help.


As a responsible dog owner, it is imperative you familiarize yourself with these common dog injuries that will help you take necessary measures in case of emergencies. Consider investing in a first aid kit for your canine friend that will help you deal with minor injuries at home.

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