From short-term knee injuries to painful degenerative issues, dogs can struggle with meeting their daily exercise needs and develop mobility issues. A dog leg brace is one of the popular products on the market that can not only boost the healing process but also make sure your pooch is safe from the recurring joint problems.
Depending on the affected area, type of health problem, and the dog’s size, there are various leg braces in different shapes and designs. To make the optimal purchase for your pooch, check out our buyer’s guide and a customer-based review of the best dog leg braces in 2020. Keep reading to learn about the important features and info, as well as to find the best choices available.
When do our furry friends need a leg brace?
Basically, any joint-related issue, ligament tear, joint stiffness, hereditary disorders, cartilage wear, and traumatic injury to the hips, knees and wrists can require brace support.
Different leg braces (knee braces, ACL braces, wrist wraps, compression braces, etc.) can affect various issues. Still, in general, their job is to provide additional support, improve blood supply in the affected area, warm-up ligaments to boost recovery and mild down inflammation. Custom-made leg braces are usually used to complement rehabilitation and improve surgical outcomes in complicated cases.
Here are some of the common health impairments in dogs that cause joint problems and a need for leg braces:
The Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture is probably the most devastating injury to the knee, as it causes irreversible consequences. The CCL connects the thigh and shin bone through the stifle joint (knee); therefore, it is an integral part of maintaining stability and strength in hind legs.
When the ligament is torn, it is not only excruciatingly painful for the dog, but also triggers other issues like arthritis (60% chance of developing after a CCL tear), lameness, joint instability, swelling, bone crackling, and in the end, leads to partial to complete immobility. It can occur in dogs of all sizes, but it mostly affects giant or large breeds.
Puppies are also prone to ligament tears as their immature and still fragile constitution makes them susceptible to acute onset (tear caused by trauma to the knee).
Since being a widespread orthopedic problem in dogs, it is usually treated surgically, the most effective way of reaching recovery. Leg braces, especially custom-made ones, can be of great help during rehabilitation as they help both the dog and their owner stay disciplined, provide the needed support, and relieve pain.
Unfortunately, aging dogs who suffer from chronic degeneration of the stifle joint and ligaments are often not desirable candidates for surgery. In this case, their only option is braces that can effectively control the rupture, improve blood flow to the legs, provide support, and thus significantly reduce pain and discomfort. Improved leg strength means improved mobility – an essential factor for keeping our senior pooches healthy and improving their longevity.
Similar to humans, dogs suffer greatly from degenerative cartilage wear like arthritis. It causes severe pain, inflammation, joint stiffness, and leads to mobility issues. While it usually strikes senior dogs, it can be hereditary and connected to breeds prone to bone and joint problems like Golden Retriever, Labradors, Newfoundland, etc.
Leg braces can’t cure arthritis but can be a lifesaving tool that enables a somewhat normal and more comfortable life for disabled dogs.
This skeletal disease basically causes kneecap dislocation in dogs. While it mostly occurs in puppies and cats, larger breeds are not excluded either. If you notice your pup skipping while walking, leaning primarily on three legs, and occasionally using all four, you should check for Patellar Luxation.
The dislocation will cause bending of the knee, another telltale sign of a problem. In most cases, this disease is hereditary and is common among smaller breeds like Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, Maltese, etc.
Depending on the severity of the illness, Patellar Luxation strikes in 4 different stages. Stages 3 and 4 are pretty advanced and surgery is the only option, while stages 1 and 2 can be controlled to some extent. A knee brace is an excellent aiding piece of equipment that proved to successfully fight knee discomfort, provide support for the damaged leg, and slow down the progressiveness of the illness.
Other Age-related joint problems
As they grow older, our furry friends need some extra support for maintaining a normal daily routine. Hip and elbow dysplasia, osteoarthritis, degenerative myelopathy are just some of the usual problems our grandpa and grandma pooches struggle with. To make things worse, dogs between the ages of 8-14 need to gradually improve daily workout needs to stay in shape and healthy.
With the swelling, joint stiffness and lack of stability, dogs will naturally refuse to exercise and lean into the sedentary lifestyle. Utilizing a leg brace can encourage your senior dog to meet their daily exercise needs, more easily tackle obstacles and voluntarily walk, move, and play more.
Improving life quality with a leg brace
What are the benefits of wearing a leg brace? Dog owners all over the world have witnessed their fur babies improve in health and wellbeing in many ways:
- A leg brace is a non-invasive option for keeping in control degenerative joint issues.
- It provides stability, support for the affected leg(s) and lifts off the pressuring weight.
- Reduces pain and discomfort in conquering normal movement.
- It provides irreplaceable help with rehabilitation, surgery recovery and encourages physical therapy in dogs who refuse to exercise due to severe pain.
- For trauma caused by injury, a leg brace ensures that pain and issues don’t reoccur and develop into a chronic issue.
- Leg braces are cost-effective, easy to use and also versatile enough, as they can be applied for other problems like wound protection, support for high-intensity, advanced workouts and more.
Is a leg brace a safe investment?
We can witness opposing opinions when it comes to the efficiency of a leg brace. Nevertheless, the prevailing stand is that it is by no means harmful or dangerous. While it isn’t an all-purpose solution for severe illnesses like CCL tear and similar, it does provide the needed comfort and ease when it comes to pain and overcoming the initial struggles of joint problems. Above all, it’s cheaper, more convenient, and widely requested, making it available for almost everyone.
Before opting for a dog leg brace, consult with your trusted veterinarian and determine which brace type would be most suitable for your dog’s problem. In some cases, your vet may first recommend surgery, which, unfortunately, is the only solution in some cases.
What to consider when buying a dog leg brace?
Take into account these features when getting a leg brace for your pooch:
Snug as a bug
It’s absolutely essential that the brace fits your dog correctly, otherwise you won’t get the needed effect. For this reason, many owners opt for a custom-made brace by taking a precise cast of their pet’s limbs. Most product manufacturers offer a detailed measurement guide to help you understand which size and design yield results.
Wrist wraps are less strict, while a knee brace requires you to know the exact circumference of the dog’s thigh. If the brace is too wide, it just won’t do its job. If too tight, it may cause chafing, sores, skin irritation, and jeopardize the blood supply to the leg. You certainly want to avoid your dog being in more pain and discomfort than it already is.
Ergonomic design and quality materials
Look for a dog brace with soft padding, made of washable and breathable materials like mesh and neoprene. The design should be elastic but durable enough to keep the leg secured and supported. Knee braces are also supposed to increase the temperature in the surrounding muscles to improve mobility, which is achieved with high-quality materials and proper attachment of the brace.
While plastic braces are more durable and waterproof, fabric braces with Velcro straps are more versatile, more affordable, and easily adjustable to your dog’s size and needs.
It goes without saying that a leg brace should perform its main task – provide support. Look for braces with multiple adjustable straps so you can tightly secure the brace around the leg. Braces for dogs have been around for some time and are highly demanded, so a good idea would be to lean on your vet’s opinion and opt for medically tested products.
The best dog leg braces on the market
Check out our optimal choices of best dog leg braces. Based on a 13-year long experience and the customers’ honest opinions, we’ve prepared a useful review to help you find the perfect bargain.
Ortocanis Original Knee Brace for Dogs
This orthopedic knee brace is specifically for dogs suffering from ACL tears, arthritis, and degenerative joint issues. It efficiently improves blood supply to the leg, promotes regeneration of ligaments and provides support to the entire leg.
The Ortocanis brace is widely popular due to the impressive variety of sizes it offers, design for both hind legs, as well as adjustable Velcro straps. You can check their measuring charts and easily compare them to your dog’s size. This handmade, vet-approved piece of equipment meets all the users’ expectations and successfully helps dogs deal with pain. The ergonomic design enables dogs to move naturally and freely, but with needed support.
Being made of washable fabrics, this brace is easily stored, folded into a size of a clothing item so you can put it basically anywhere.
For less than $50, this leg brace is a cost-effective, good quality product that proves efficient each time.
- Designed for knee-related issues
- Provides hind limb support
- Offers a variety of sizes and shapes
- Fully adjustable
- Easy to strap on and off
NeoAlly Dog Canine Front Leg Compression Braces
This paired product is designed for front limb support. In addition to the stretchable neoprene, these wrist wraps are improved with two metal inserts for each brace to ensure tightness and focus the support on the joints. The straps are optional and removable, if not needed.
What’s great about the wrist wraps is that they do the job just as effectively as other medical equipment pieces, but are so light-weight and almost unnoticeable to wear.
Front leg compression braces are useful for arthritic dogs who need pain relief, to boost recovery after rehabilitation or just as additional support for swollen wrists and ankles. Obese dogs find these braces extremely helpful for easing the pressure of excess weight and helping them start exercising and moving more.
The braces come in 3 standard sizes and both feature reflective Velcro straps to ensure safe walks at night.
Although not a versatile product (not suitable for all conditions), customers find it cost-effective and working for the purpose it’s made.
- Removable metal strings for additional support
- Stretchable and washable materials
- Light-weight and easily storable
- Fully adjustable
Labra Co. Dog Canine Front Leg Compression Brace
Another fantastic front leg support brace is the Labra Co.’s leg sleeve. This highly affordable product is excellent for larger breeds as it is long enough to wrap around the entire leg for full support. It is designed to help with knee and ankle pain, provide stability and ensure recovery of torn ligaments.
This vet-approved brace comes in a simple yet appealing design. It features adjustable straps to fasten the product around every dog’s front leg comfortably. Customers discovered it is easy to put on and off, it’s completely washable and dogs don’t even notice them on their limbs—all in all, an excellent bargain for outstanding quality.
- Extremely affordable
- Suitable for large and giant breeds
- Front leg support only
- Washable and durable materials
- Adjustable straps
NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace
This product also comes in pairs and provides rear support. The idea of a paired support is approved by the vets, with the idea that an injured leg shifts pressure to the healthy leg, which again needs support.
This sock-like brace is basically unnoticeable and you can wash it with other dog’s belongings.
While the brace doesn’t directly wrap around the knee (there’s a hole in the knee area), it tightly secures the entire leg while the joint can move freely and regain flexibility.
It also features reflective Velcro straps – a nifty addition to ensure safety during evening walks and on the road.
Make sure to check their measurement guide before making a purchase, as the product comes in a variety of sizes.
- A paired product
- Reflective Velcro straps
- Front leg support
- Washable and easily stored
WOVOMO Dog Leg Brace
Last on our list is this support brace, a nifty product for knee and wrist stability.
By far the cheapest product, but meets the expectations and required performance. The soft support pad made of premium quality neoprene sponge effortlessly snugs the front leg and neatly lays against the skin.
These wrist wraps are additionally strengthened with metal strings to ensure the best results and help heavier dogs recover quickly.
Although they are most effective for recovery, these leg wraps can also be used to prevent injury for puppies and senior dogs prone to accidents.
It comes in 4 standard sizes, with fully adjustable straps for a perfect fit.
Customers think this product is a great stepping stone for more advanced pieces of equipment and a fantastic brace for recovery, encouraging exercise and preventing injuries.
- Front leg support
- Extremely affordable
- Improved with metal strings for additional support
- Comfortable and durable neoprene, soft to the skin
- Fully adjustable
Our top pick and final thoughts
Based on all the important criteria, customer’s opinion, and optimal price, our recommendation is the Ortocanis Original Knee Brace for Dogs, a fantastic product for knee injuries and joint impairments. Although more on the high-end note, this ergonomic aiding tool will definitely turn your dog’s life for the better.
That said, a knee brace may be useless if what you’re looking for is front support for wrists and ankles. Our top wrist wraps are the right balance of affordable and efficient for both tiny and giant breeds.
Finally, your choice should depend on your dog’s physical impairment, your preferences, and the budget.