If your dog has suffered a knee injury or has arthritis in the knee joint, walking can be painful. You may find your dog winces in pain each time he takes a step. Cranial Cruciate Ligament tears are common in dogs, especially elderly pooches. If the knee injury is minor and will not require surgery, a homemade knee brace may be in order. Knee braces can unload the weight off the injured knee joint and give it support. Now that you know it’s possible to make a knee brace, you are likely wondering how to make a homemade knee brace for my dog. What materials will you need?
The right knee brace should offer a high level of comfort and support. The knee brace must also provide the right fit.
You have come to the right place to gather knowledge. I am here to give you all the information you need so you can craft the perfect knee brace for your furry friend in pain.
Before offering you information on the steps for making a homemade knee brace, I need to give you a word of caution. Severe knee injuries are best treated by your vet. Never take a DIY approach when your dog is severely injured or has severe pain.
What Is a Knee Brace & What Does It Do?
Knee braces are supports that help to alleviate knee pain. A knee brace can be worn by humans and animals. Knee braces are typically made of fabric or plastic, and they usually have elastic straps that hold them in place and give a perfect fit.
A dog knee brace may be made of Neoprene, Nylon, or Lycra. Knee braces for dogs are meant to attach to the knee joint and create compression. Compression helps to alleviate knee pain and swelling. Compression from the knee brace will also improve blood circulation so healing can take place.
Dogs may need to wear a brace regularly for bouts of arthritis. A dog may also need one after an injury or during the recovery process after surgery.
The main goal of wearing a knee brace is to help your dog feel and walk better. You will find wearing a dog brace makes your dog much more comfortable.
How Does a Dog Knee Brace Work?
To understand how your dog will get comfort from wearing a knee brace, you need to know how one works. Knowing how a knee brace works will help you make your dog feel better again.
As I mentioned above, knee braces help blood circulation. They do this by creating pressure on the arteries and veins. The compression of the knee brace helps to decrease the diameter of the veins and arteries, making blood flow faster and preventing swelling.
Knee braces also place pressure on the knee joint of your dog. Braces limit his range of motion so his injured knee is protected against further injuries. By limiting the range of motion in the knee, healing can take place slowly.
What Should You Know Before Making a Knee Brace?
Before you even attempt to make a knee brace, you need to be aware of some precautions.
- The knee brace must prevent sideways motions. The knee needs to remain stable as it heals.
- The knee brace will require a strong support mechanism that runs down the entire length of the leg and holds the leg steady.
- The knee brace should allow for some degree of movement so the knee is not entirely stiff.
Materials for Making a Homemade Knee Brace for Your Dog
- Velcro straps
- Some form of support (You can use an old plastic lid)
- Duct tape
- Measuring tape
Steps for Making a Homemade Knee Brace For Your Dog
First, you are going to need to measure your dog’s leg and get the proper pattern for the cut. To do this, measure the point from about an inch above and an inch below your dog’s knee. Remember, you are going to need to include the slight downside to the joint. You may need to trace an outline of your dog’s leg to get the right shape and fit.
You will also need to measure the width and circumference of your dog’s leg to ensure you keep the braces the right length apart.
Next, you will cut two pieces of the same pattern of your dog’s leg from the support material you plan to use. An old plastic lid will work just fine. Make sure both pieces are identical.
You will need to lay the two pieces side by side and use duct tape to hold them together. Cover the entire space with duct tape to form the brace.
Use two velcro strips. One at the top and one at the bottom. These strips will hold the brace in place while it is on your dog’s knee.
Why Should You Make a Homemade Dog Knee Brace?
You may be wondering why a dog owner would bother making a homemade knee brace when they could simply buy one. There are a few reasons.
One of the primary reasons dog owners decide to make their dog a knee brace is the cost. Dog knee braces cost quite a bit of money when purchased from the vet or pet supply stores. Making a knee brace at home may cost nothing if you have the right items around your home.
By making your custom knee brace, you can offer a better fit. Although manufactured dog knee braces can be adjusted, a brace you make yourself will offer a better fit than anything you could purchase.
Some people need to make a homemade brace while they are waiting for a vet appointment or waiting for their ordered knee brace to come in.
Some dog knee braces may be made from harsh plastics with toxic chemicals. You can avoid these chemicals by making a homemade knee brace with items you likely have laying around the house.
How to Make Sure a Dog Brace Fits Right & Feels Comfortable?
You may find it a bit challenging to ensure there is enough support without the brace being too loose or too tight. You should be able to get a finger between the brace and your dog’s leg. If you can’t, the knee brace is way too tight.
Do not worry if your dog seems upset about wearing the brace at first. He may stand perfectly still because this new contraption is on his leg.
Gently work with your pooch until he becomes comfortable walking around. Remember that he is in pain and concerned about the new contraption on his leg. It will take some time for him to overcome his worries.
Knee Injuries & Other Conditions That Cause Knee Pain in Dogs
Just like in humans, the knees of a dog take on the brunt of his weight. Before we talk about the types of conditions that can cause dog knee pain, I want you to be aware of the anatomy of your dog’s knees.
There are three main components of the knee joint, also called the stifle joint. The tibia, fibula, and patella all join to form the knee joint. Any one of these structures, including the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, can cause knee pain.
Do you know knee problems are the most common injury dogs suffer? Dogs of all sizes, shapes, breeds, and ages can suffer knee pain. Elderly dogs are more likely to have stiffness and pain in their knees because of wear and tear due to aging.
There are three main types of knee conditions in dogs. Each of these will cause varying degrees of pain.
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions dogs suffer. Dogs of all ages can develop arthritis, but seniors and larger dogs are more likely to develop this condition.
Osteoarthritis in dogs causes painful symptoms such as stiffness, joint immobility, swelling, and inflammation. If the damage becomes severe, dogs may need to have knee replacement surgery.
Torn CCL or ACL
You have likely heard people talk about having a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). In dogs, the CCL is the same as the ACL in humans. Because dogs naturally love to be active, CCL injuries are the most common .
Although it has a fancy name, a luxating patella is essentially a dislocated kneecap. Just like in humans, this injury is severely painful and debilitating. This is a very common condition for some smaller breeds, but it can happen to any dog. In severe cases, surgery may be the only option for correction.
FAQ About Homemade Knee Braces for Dogs
As a dog owner, seeing your dog in pain causes you pain. If your dog experiences knee pain, you likely have a lot of questions. The following are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers.
1. How do you wrap a dog’s knee for support?
When wrapping your dog’s injured or painful knee, it is best to use an ACE wrap. Keep it rolled up and slowly unroll it, applying some degree of pressure as you go. You do not want to overdo it! When in doubt, ask your vet for assistance.
2. How can I make my dog’s braces at home?
If your dog needs a knee brace, you can make one at home, using a plastic lid, duct tape, and velcro straps. Follow the directions above. The most difficult part of the process is measuring and cutting correctly.
3. Will a brace help a dog with a torn ACL?
When a dog has a torn ACL, he may be able to avoid surgery by wearing a brace. The healing process is a slow one. You will need to be patient with your dog and help him recover. Ask your vet about braces and see what is recommended.
4. Are knee braces good for dogs?
When the right type of knee brace is worn correctly, your dog can benefit greatly. Knee braces add steady compression that helps with blood flow, prevents swelling, and helps the pain. If you are unsure if a knee brace is right for your dog, ask your vet first.
Dog Knee Pain Can Be Treated With a Knee Brace
If your dog suddenly begins limping or seems slower-moving, his knee could be to blame. This complex structure is one of the most likely to be injured in dogs.
When arthritis or torn ACL issues occur, a knee brace is one of the most effective and less invasive treatment options. With this guide and help from your vet, you will know how to brace your dog’s knee for better comfort and healing.