Dog Tips

About Broken Legs in Dogs

We must have seen a dog trying to walk only on three legs or sometimes only two when it is just sliding two of its hind legs and trying to walk. That’s a sign of a broken leg. We know it is extremely sad to watch a dog limping in pain. Whether it is a street dog or our own family dog, the empathy in us does make us want to act on it immediately. Hence, it is important to know the causes, symptoms and recommended actions to heal to dog at the earliest. 

Types of Broken Legs in Dogs

The fracture in the dog’s legs can be of various types.

  • Incomplete – Only one side broken

  • Complete – Both sides broken

  • Comminuted – Broken into 3 fragments

  • Open – Exposed bone

  • Closed – No exposure of the bone

  • Salter-Harris – Through the growth plate of the bone.

  • Articular – Joint fracture

It can be either one or a combination of the above types. 

Causes of Broken Legs in Dogs

The causes of a broken leg are almost the same as they are for us humans. Most of the time it is a physical injury that causes it. These include – 

  • Vehicular accident

  • Rough play

  • Underlying medical conditions or bone disorders

  • Lack of calcium and excess Vitamin A or Phosphorous 

  • Inherited collagen defect

The chances of bones breaking are higher in young dogs and toy breeds.

How to Identify a Broken Leg in Dogs?

If the accident has happened in front of you then it may not be very difficult to identify a broken leg. But if it happens in your absence then you can look for the following symptoms – 

  • Lameness

  • Joint swelling

  • Increased looseness of the limb

  • Swelling of the affected part

  • Reaction when you touch the affected limb

  • Open fracture

What To Do If Your Dog Breaks a Bone

This question would be better framed as what to not do if a dog breaks a bone. Any attempt to reduce the fracture yourself will make it worse. Do not even try to give any medication or clean the wound in the absence of a vet. The best way to handle it is to lift the dog gently and move to a safe and comfortable place. Next is to place a muzzle on the dog as there’s a chance that they may bite due to the pain. And then go to the vet immediately. In case there is an open wound, you can apply pressure to the area with a clean cloth until you get to the vet. Try to keep the injured limb as still as possible during the journey. 

How is Dog Fractured Leg Recovery?

The recovery of a dog with a broken leg would depend on the type and intensity of the fracture. In case of a minor-closed fracture, a cast or leg splint may do the job. But if the fracture is major, then the vet may recommend surgery. The surgical method may depend on your dog’s age, and medical conditions. The hospital stay may again depend on the rate of recovery. It may range from 2 days to 2 weeks. 

After your dog is discharged from the hospital, home care would be extremely important for the recovery. Broken bones usually heal within three to four months for adult dogs and one to two months for puppies. Your vet may recommend multiple timely radiographs to get an update on the condition. He/she may also recommend some alternate therapies like aqua therapy to complement the treatment. 

Dog Broken Leg Cost

Casts and splints to be used in the case of minor fractures may cost you around $100-$300. But if your dog needs surgery then the costs would depend on various factors like the type of facility, fracture and the surgery the surgeon chooses. The average cost of surgery including IV catheter placement and fluids, anesthesia medication, surgical monitoring equipment, bloodwork, and X-rays would cost you around $2000 or higher. (4)

From all the claims that we’ve received so far for bone injuries, ligament tears, or fractures, the average claim amount is $3757.  

How Much Will a Dog Dislocated Leg Cost?

The cost here will again depend on the type of facility you choose and the severity of the dislocation. On average, you should expect to pay somewhere between $400-$600 to the vet for fixing a dislocated leg of your dog. 

Can a Broken Dog Bone heal by itself?

Minor fractures or hairline cracks can heal on their own with enough rest and restricted mobility, especially in young pups. However, there is a significant concern for malalignment or malunion. And regardless of the intensity of the fracture, it is crucial that a vet’s help is taken to assess the extent of the injury and determine the best course of treatment. Delaying treatment can result in prolonged recovery and a risk of complications. 

More About Spot Pet Insurance

Dogs are just like human babies. They are going to fall, run into objects, have small accidents and end up hurting themselves. But sometimes these injuries can be severe and may not only bring tremendous pain to your four-legged baby but cause a dent in your savings due to the treatment cost. Adding the cost of emergency vet visits, surgery, follow-up visits, alternate therapies, medications and prescription diets can easily go into 4-digits. With pet insurance, you can save up to 90% of the costs. 

Spot accident and illness plans can be used with any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Whether you are home, or traveling to the U.S., veterinary services your pet receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of covered conditions can be eligible for reimbursement. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions including; broken bones, lacerations, aggression, kidney disease, diabetes, and more. With the addition of Wellness Riders for an extra cost, you can also receive reimbursements for wellness exams, certain vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more. Learn more about dog insurance or get a free quote. 


  1. Kearley, M., DVM. (2023, September 12). Broken bones in dogs. PetMD.

  2. Hospital, H. A. (2023, October 23). What to Do for a Dog with A Broken Leg. Harmony Animal Hospital.

  3. Dog bone fracture: Everything you need to know | Plains Vets. (2023, June 15).

  4. Sutton, C. (2024, April 11). How much does dog broken leg surgery cost? 2024 update – Dogster. Dogster.

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