The best in health, wellness, and positive training from America’s leading dog experts

Home Health Injuries


dog cut paw pad

Dog Paw Cuts and Scrapes: How to Treat a Paw Injury

Your dog's paw pads act much like the soles of sneakers, protecting your dog's foot and cushioning each step. Paw pads are tough, but they can still be cut by sharp objects or worn off if your dog runs hard on rough terrain. What should you do when your dog cuts or tears a pad?

Preventing Exercise Injury for Your Dog by Warming Up and Cooling Down

Professional human athletes never skip a proper warmup. That's because research has proven, repeatedly, that preparing your muscles for upcoming physical activity reduces the risk of physical injury. And for them, an injury could impact their wallet with down time.

How to Prevent Injury to Your Exuberantly Active Dog

the dog's diagonal pairs of legs move together at the trot. Take note if your dog suddenly starts pacing; it can indicate that he's trying to find a gait that reduces muscle or joint pain. Be aware

Jean Donaldson’s Prep Training for Orthopedic Brace Casting

The following protocol was written with a specific process in mind: preparing a dog to happily hold still long enough to make a cast of the dog’s leg (needed for making a custom-fit mobility brace). But with a little imagination, you can customize Donaldson’s protocol to train your dog to accept any equipment. You will need 1) Glad Press ‘n Seal Wrap; 2) a roll of gauze; 3) a measuring tape; 4) six jars of meat baby food; 5) your dog’s normal ration for one meal (to be hand-fed); 6) six days lead time before your casting day. Plan on spending about 5 minutes per day in place of one of your dog’s meals; don’t cram multiple sessions into one day.
ligament injuries in dogs

Alternatives to Surgery for Ligament Injuries in Dogs

Dogs go lame for all kinds of reasons. Arthritis, Lyme disease, paw injuries, muscle sprains, bee stings, interdigital dermatitis, and dislocated kneecaps can make any dog limp. But when an active dog suddenly can't put weight on a hind leg, the most common diagnosis – for more than a million American dogs every year – is a torn cruciate ligament. In 2003, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the cost of treating those injuries exceeded $1.32 billion, and the price tag keeps rising. The most common prescription for canine knee injuries is surgery. Unfortunately, operations don't always work and some patients, because of age or other conditions, are not good candidates. In recent years a nonsurgical approach called conservative management" has helped thousands of dogs recover from ligament injuries

The Benefits of Rehabilitation Therapy for Dogs

About a decade ago, my then-young Bouvier, Jolie, had surgery to repair a herniated disc. From reading Whole Dog Journal, I was vaguely aware that veterinary physical therapy or rehabilitation existed; these specialties were mentioned in Recovery From a Fetch Injury" in the August 1999 issue

Canine Sports and Proper Canine Injury Prevention Through Conditioning

Today's explosion of canine sports has made sports medicine a veterinary specialty. But, says Carol Helfer, DVM, at Canine Peak Performance Sports Medicine & Physical Rehabilitation Center in Portland, Oregon, competing dogs are prone to injury not because their sports are inherently dangerous but because canine athletes seldom receive the conditioning training that keeps them strong, balanced, and coordinated. The whole notion of injury prevention through proper conditioning is one that is just beginning to gather attention,h explains Dr. Helfer. What I love about this work is that a few simple exercises can dramatically change a dog's quality of life. In athletic dogs, the proof is in their continued good health, enhanced performance, and absence of injuries. Elderly and sedentary dogs benefit, too, and they quickly show increased range of motion and a renewed enthusiasm for activities."

Frequently Used Canine Healing Methods for Injured Dogs

We call it the spark of life for good reason. From birth to death, all living creatures generate and transmit energy. Entire healing therapies, some of them thousands of years old, have been built around energy. Once dismissed by Western science as impossible or ridiculous – and still viewed with suspicion by conventional physicians and veterinarians – energy medicine is slowly gaining acceptance in the United States. Several energy therapies are taught in American universities or are used by a growing number of healthcare practitioners. Can energy therapies help your dog? The descriptions and resources provided here may help you decide.

Dog Exercises and Injury Prevention

Strained muscles, pulled ligaments, sprains, and bruises . . . these are common canine injuries in the spring, when the weather invites us all outside and even seems to encourage our dogs to overdo it. Enthusiastic, rigorous exercise that follows several months of relative inactivity is a prescription for injury.

Home Treatments for Injured Dogs

A muscle strain here, a pulled ligament there, a sprain, a bruise pretty soon we're talking about serious problems. Canine sports injuries are increasingly common, but there is much you can do to catch them early, treat them correctly, and reduce the risk of your dog getting badly hurt, needing surgery, or having to retire from competition.

Athletic Dogs and Acupressure Techniques

When spring is in the air, every dog knows it. Spring is the season when dogs want to run, play, and stretch their bodies, when their eyes brighten, and their natural zest for life flows through their veins. Spring is a time of action. There are so many canine performance sports today that require peak levels of running, twisting, turning, jumping, and pivoting. Anyone watching a canine agility trial or flyball competition can see the adrenaline pumping through every ounce of the dog's being. Adrenaline can override the senses and the animal can unknowingly hurt himself badly, especially early in the season. The risk of injury is very high when a dog is not properly conditioned. Also, dogs need to be given the opportunity to warm up before engaging in the burst of excitement and energy they experience at the moment they are released for coursing, a herding test, or on a sledding trail.

Activity-Related Canine Injuries

He’s fearless. Reckless. Senseless? Or perhaps my Australian Cattle Dog, Cedar, is just accident-prone. Yesterday he slammed head first into a door jam during rough play with my Shepherd-mix, Willow. Today he did a nose dive off a five-foot embankment in pursuit of his favorite all-natural dog toy: a pine cone. As always, he retrieved the cone, chewed it into a slobbery clump of fibrous goo, and dropped it at my feet. On his trot back I noticed he was limping, holding his front leg off the ground.

Latest Blog

Dogs in Restaurants: Yay! Or Nay?

I’m generally a fan of places or experiences that dog owners can enjoy with their well behaved dogs—but not so much when it’s with other people’s unruly, reactive, or loud dogs. Couple any of that with owners who make no effort to limit their dogs’ intrusion into other people’s space or hampering wait-staff, and any progress that has been made to include dogs goes out the window.