Watching a dog, especially when it’s your beloved dog, lose its quality of life due to disease or bodily injury is a painstaking experience, to say the least.
My wife and I experienced this pain a few years ago. We had to euthanize our once highly-energetic and lovable litter-mate boxers due to a degenerative back disease.
In their prime, they chase one another around the back yard for hours at a time. They leaped, jumped, and rolled around our multi-level deck on many occasions. This energetic activity slowed in time until I discovered our female boxer favoring her hind leg.
When this first occurred, I thought it could possibly be a severe hind-leg sprain. Yet after two days time and rest, she was back walking and bearing full weight on the once favored hind leg. But the following week, I witnessed her brother favoring his hind leg. Once again, they continuously chased and tussled with one another so much that I believed it to be a sprain or minor bruise. And just like his sister, he was back to normal behavior within a few days time, as if nothing ever happened.
It wasn’t until a year later that both boxers began having issues with rear legs and knees, completely losing control of their bladders almost six months later.
On the search for comfy dog knee braces
Not knowing much about dog braces, I took to the internet and discovered quite a bit of information. I aimed to educate and inform myself of the various types of braces to support our dog’s aging knees as comfy as possible.
I was amazed to discover a plethora of braces for dogs pre and post knee surgery. There were so many types of braces for a variety of uses. Some braces focused on providing support for strains and sprains during the healing process. Other braces focused on supporting hind leg fatigue, limping, stiffness, and post-operative provision.
The most important thing about selecting the right brace for your dog and optimal knee control is brace stabilization. It is imperative that a dog knee brace stabilizes the knee while balancing hip and back areas to support a dog’s weight and ease of mobility. This helps to ease and reduce stress on your dog’s overall ligament and joint health. It also lessesns the chance for greater injury in the future.
Transitioning your dog to embrace knee braces
It took some time to find the perfect dog knee braces for our boxers. Most of the physical stores — WalMart, PetSmart, and PetCo — were somewhat helpful in their guidance and assistance.
We fitted both dogs for a couple of braces. Unfortunately, that was a waste of money. They both destroyed the braces, chewing through them while we were away at work.
Nevertheless, I took to Amazon. I decided to purchase WalkAbout’s dog brace and support sleeve for back legs. Since they destroyed the last set of braces purchased, I opted for a more durable brace and chest halter.
Arriving the next day, which happened to be a Friday, I waited to fit both dogs until Saturday. My wife and I decided it would be good to fit box dogs with new halters and braces, and then go for a short walk.
I wish we would have taken this approach the first time around. Our strategy was a success. Walking and playing at the park allowed them to comfortably settle into their new way of life.
We positively conditioned both dogs with treats and praise. This discouraged the biting and chewing of halters and braces. Also, my wife and I only allowed dogs to wear their halters and braces when going outside for walks, play, or fresh air. Otherwise, we kept their halters and braces off for safekeeping.
What makes a brace or sleeve good your dog’s knee?
If we had to do search for dog knee braces again, there are a few things I would do differently.
First and foremost, I would have taken our dogs to our vet for precise measurements. It’s very difficult for dog owners to precise size their dog’s knee and know what type of fit is proper and most comfy for optimal mobility. It’s important to ensure the brace doesn’t rub, pinch, chaff, or cut off circulation.
Second, ensure there are no loose straps or strings of any sort to entice your dog to chew or bite at. We made this mistake in our first round of knee brace purchases. Also, aim to purchase a solid color. Having braces that were solid colors, preferably charcoal or black, worked well for our dogs instead of vibrant colors.
Now that you the know the characteristics of what makes for a good knee brace and sleeve for your dog, below is North Carolina-based Ortho Dog’s best option:
One of the best mobility braces for dogs available for purchase is the Cruciate Knee Brace. Primarily made for dogs suffering from CCL/ACL tears, this non-rigid brace offers the following:
- Reduces wrenching and pressuring of your dog’s knees
- Supports lame or limp hind leg use
- Great for post-operative care and use
- Optimal for dogs suffering from arthritis
- Encourages optimal knee control and steadiness
In addition, Ortho Dog’s website provides an easy-to-use brace size calculator to measure your dog’s chest circumference and body for the perfect matching and fitting of their knee braces.
One thing to note is that this brace does not fit dogs 19” and under in height. You can also order the knee brace for the leg part only.
- Hip and leg stiffness
- Moderate to mild dysplasia of hip
- Diminished mobile activity
- Hip and lower back pain
- Faintness and back leg shambling
This patent pending product is said to be one of the most effective and comfortable knee braces for dogs to hit the open market.
The ideal brace for larger dogs — not make for small breed dogs — is an excellent option for dog owners wishing to give their beloved dog the best post-operative knee support and stabilization.
Should you elect this brace, you’ll want to be sure to play close attention when measuring your dog’s circumference. Also, you’ll need to order the chest harness separately as it’s not included when order the knee brace.
If you’re in search of a truly affordable knee brace — half the cost of Ortho’s brace — that doesn’t require a chest halter or harness, then look no further than Krusse’s rehab knee protector.
Designed specifically to address lameness and joint pain, this brace improves the quality of life. It allows your dog more fluid movement and agility, and strengthening of hind legs, ligament, and joints.
At the lower end of the dog knee brace market is PLAFUETO’s Dog Knee Support Brace and Sleeve. Each brace is made of durable nylon. Each brace also has 4 adjustable straps and 1 long buttocks strap to ensure a comfy fit and fluid mobility.
This brace and sleeve comes highly recommend by veterinarians as successful at addressing the following issues that your dog may suffer from:
- Bruising and torn CCL/ACL
- Splints and sprains
- Ligament and joint pain
- Stiffness and arthritis
- Loss of stability and mobility
This brace is made for both left and right hind legs, and comes in sizes small, medium, and large.
No dog knee brace is ever the same
Don’t skimp when it comes to purchasing the right brace to support your dog’s knees and to sustain an optimal quality of life.
From standing, walking, running, and scratching to name a few, a dog’s limbs are a vital part of its everyday living.
Do everything you can, including dog knee surgery if it comes down to it, to ensure your dog’s ligament and joint health is the best it can be.
Buy and administer the best supplements, optimal diet and exercise, regular checkups and supportive gear to ensure a life well lived and enjoyed.