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Can A Dog Die From A Broken Leg?

Can A Dog Die From A Broken Leg?

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Accidents happen even to the most careful of pet parents.

In a bid to bond with your dog and enjoy playtime with her, you might have accidentally fallen on her.

Perhaps you left the balcony door open and your pup found her way out and took a fall to the ground.

Whether you are a novice or experienced pet parent, this can freak out to the core.

As you watch your pup writhe in pain, unable to move her body in the way she’s always done, your heart will break into a million pieces.

At that moment, your biggest question is: can a dog die from a broken leg?

We have the answer for you here. But before then, let’s learn a few basics…

What Causes Broken Legs in Dogs?

Dogs are active creatures. They are always jumping up and down kitchen counters, cupboards, and trees.

Sometimes they are knocked down by cars, trains, and bikes as they try to cross the road. These can cause a fracture which can be open or closed.

A simple closed fracture is hard to notice as it doesn’t show through the skin.

Open or compound fractures, on the other hand, pierce the skin and are easily visible. These can easily cause infection which can become deadly if they are not treated.

According to a past study, small dogs suffer fractures more than big canines. These include the Poodles (12%), Yorkies (12%), and Maltese (9%). The study also revealed that dogs under one year are notorious for having fractures as well.

The reason small dogs are at a higher risk of fractures is that they have long thin bones. These can be broken easily when the kitty jumps off the back of the couch of the bed.

Toy breeds of 3-5 pounds have the tiniest of bone structures. It takes a small fall to break their bones.

Is A Broken Leg Fatal?

Dr. Ann Honehnaus, a vet in New York City, through CBS News says that bone fractures in dogs, for the most part, do not cause death. According to her, few dogs die from broken bones.

However, the effect of a broken bone is what you should pay attention to. It can rupture major body organs such as the lung, heart, spleen, and liver or cause shock in the dog. When this happens, the broken bone will be certainly fatal.

The severity of the problem determines the outcome.

 A simple closed fracture might not do much damage. However, if the fraction is open and consists of smashed bone fragments, you should worry about infection. Your dog will need surgery and plenty of antibiotics to survive.

The size of the doggie also matters. Small dogs have teeny tiny bones. Working around them during surgery requires great skill and experience.

It is not uncommon to do more harm than good when treating toy breeds.

Can A Dog Survive A Broken Leg?

Yes, a huge percentage of canines can get a second lease in life after a broken bone.

It all depends on the extent of the fracture, the size of the dog, and the risks of further complications.

As soon as you notice symptoms of broken bones in your dog, rush her to the vet.

Don’t try to pop the leg back in place. Keep it away from you all the way to the hospital.

After a series of tests and x-rays, the doctor will determine the severity of the issue. They will decide whether the dog needs a cast, surgery, metal pins, or a combination of two treatment options.

 As long as the vet takes care of any infection (in the case of an open fracture), and makes sure the bones didn’t rupture major body organs, your dog will survive.

The ability to have a quality life after a fracture is another story.

Dogs on a cast or those on metal pins often make a recovery in no time.

On the flip side, if the damage is too, the dog’s limbs may be amputated. In this case, the dog may develop mobility issues, joint problems, arthritis, and the works.

Can A Broken Leg Heal On Its Own?

With a straightforward, closed fracture, your dog’s broken bone can heal on its own.

However, you may want a vet to position it right before it is allowed to heal.

If it heals in the present position, it may cause deformity down the line.

Non-surgical options involve nothing but immobilizing the broken bone in the right place so that it heals naturally in the best posture.

 So, technically a broken leg can heal by itself but it may not do so in a straight and strong manner.

How to Fix a Dog’s Broken Leg At Home

Once you notice signs of a broken leg in your dog, you want to approach the dog calmly and try to restrain her.

Hurt dogs can be very aggressive, so be very careful when handling her. Speak in a reassuring voice.

Put the dog on a leash and tie the leash on a fixed object. Also, muzzle the dog to prevent yourself from bites and scratches. 

Now, examine the leg and find out if the fracture is open or closed.

If it is open, flush the area with clean water then cover the wound with a sterile bandage or sanitary napkin. A clean towel will do as well.

Now apply a simple leg splint (both for closed and open fractures). If you don’t have a medical splint, use a spatula and let it cover the whole area.

Secure the splint with a bandage and medical tape.

Finally, restrain your dog in a cage and hope for the best.


While you can help a dog with a fracture heal at home, it is not recommended at all.

You need the vet to do thorough tests and determine the severity of the broken bones.

If you are low on cash, you could try visiting charity vet clinics for assistance.

Closing Thoughts

When your dog falls or is trodden on and breaks a leg or two, a dark cloud will engulf you.

You’ll definitely wonder if you will lose the adorable pet.

You will be pleased to learn that broken legs in dogs are not fatal, at least for most pups.

That said, there are exceptions.

To be safe, rush the dog to the clinic and let a professional help.

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