The first step in treating a dog's injured leg is to take the dog to a veterinarian for an examination. The veterinarian is trained to manipulate the leg and take x-rays to determine that the dog's leg is indeed sprained and not fractured or broken. Once it is determined that the dog's leg is sprained, several treatments are possible including rest, anti-inflammatory medicines, cold packs and warm compresses.
To prevent further injury, the affected leg must be rested. Activity should be restricted by confining the dog in a small area, such as a dog crate. The dog can be taken outside on a leash for necessities. During these excursions, it may be necessary to support the dog with a towel "lift".
Cold packs should be applied to the injured area for 15 to 30 minutes, three or four times per day for the first 24 hours, according to WebMD. After the first day, warm, moist compresses should be applied for 15 to 30 minutes, three times daily for two to three days.
As long as the dog is confined, prescription analgesics may be given to the dog. Anti-inflammatory medications may help the healing process by reducing swelling and inflammation around the sprain. It is critical that the appropriate medication and dosage be determined by a veterinarian. Some medications, such as Advil, can cause extreme illness or death in a dog. Some sprains may require a cast supplemental to prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, according to Pet Health & Care.
Full healing from a sprain typically requires a minimum of three to four weeks for a dog.Learn More
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