How to Handle Broken Bones in Pets

How to Handle Broken Bones in Pets

Accidents happen, and unfortunately, pets are not immune to fractures and broken bones. As a responsible pet owner, it's essential to know how to recognize the signs of a broken bone and provide immediate care to alleviate pain and prevent further injury. While veterinary attention is always necessary, your actions in the moments following the injury can greatly impact your pet's recovery. In this guide, we'll cover the steps to handle broken bones in pets and offer guidance on how to keep your furry friend as comfortable as possible during this challenging time.

Recognizing the Signs of a Broken Bone

Signs of a broken bone can vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. Watch out for the following indicators:

  • Limping or Refusing to Bear Weight: Your pet might limp, hold the injured limb off the ground, or avoid putting weight on it.
  • Visible Deformity or Swelling: You might notice an obvious deformity in the limb or swelling around the injured area.
  • Pain and Sensitivity: Your pet may exhibit signs of pain when the broken bone is touched or manipulated.
  • Unwillingness to Move: If your pet is reluctant to move, jump, or play, it could be a sign of a broken bone.

Steps to Handle Broken Bones in Pets

Keep Calm

Stay calm and composed to provide the best care for your pet. Your pet can sense your emotions, so a calm demeanor can help reduce their anxiety.

2. Restrict Movement

Limit your pet's movement to prevent further injury. If they have a broken leg, you can use a makeshift splint to stabilize it. However, ensure the splint is not too tight and doesn't cut off circulation.

3. Immobilize the Injury

For open fractures (where the bone has punctured the skin), cover the wound with a clean cloth or sterile bandage to prevent infection.

4. Muzzle Your Pet

In pain, pets may become anxious and may inadvertently bite. Muzzle your pet if necessary to protect both them and anyone providing assistance.

5. Transport Safely

If possible, use a board, towel, or blanket as a makeshift stretcher to carry your pet to the car. Keep the injured area supported and immobilized during transportation.

6. Seek Veterinary Care

Immediate veterinary attention is crucial. Call your veterinarian or an emergency clinic to inform them of the situation and that you're on your way.

Do's and Don'ts of Handling Broken Bones


  • Stabilize the Injury: If a limb is broken, try to gently immobilize it using a splint, towel, or other materials.
  • Use a Stretcher: For larger pets, use a makeshift stretcher to safely transport them without jostling the injury.
  • Stay Calm: Your pet will pick up on your emotions. Stay composed to keep them as calm as possible.


  • Attempt to Set the Bone: Leave bone-setting to the professionals. Improper manipulation can worsen the injury.
  • Wait to Seek Help: Immediate veterinary care is essential. Don't delay seeking professional attention.
  • Use Human Pain Medication: Never give your pet human pain medications without veterinary guidance.

Aftercare and Recovery

Following veterinary treatment, your pet may require surgery, casts, or other interventions depending on the severity of the fracture. Follow your veterinarian's instructions for aftercare, medications, and follow-up appointments.

Handling broken bones in pets requires quick thinking and immediate action. While you can provide initial stabilization, professional veterinary care is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. By recognizing the signs of a broken bone, staying calm, and taking the right steps to immobilize and transport your pet safely, you're ensuring their comfort and well-being during a challenging time. Remember that your prompt response can make a significant difference in your pet's recovery process.

 Pet CPR + First Aid

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