How to Care for a Canine Post Ligament Surgery

Large dogs have more ligament injuries than small dogs.
Large dogs have more ligament injuries than small dogs. (Image: dog image by Mat Hayward from

Dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to torn ligaments in their joints. Owners of large breeds, those that weigh more than 50 pounds, must be especially careful about their dog's weight and activities to protect the joints. If a dog does injure a ligament, surgery is often the only solution. After surgery, there are specific steps an owner must take to ensure the dog's complete recovery.

Keep your dog confined to a cage for the first two weeks after surgery. Keep the dog's food bowls and water dish in the cage. Only let your dog out of the cage to use the bathroom. This ensures your dog stays off the injured leg as much as possible for the first two weeks.

Begin introducing very light walking into your dog's daily routine after the first two weeks. Do not let the dog run, jump, or play. Do not take the dog outside during inclement weather where it may slip and further injure the leg. Keep the dog away from other dogs, small children, and strangers who may try to play with him.

Talk to your veterinarian about low-mpact exercises and knee stretches you can do starting at six-to-eight weeks after the operation. Some veterinarians give owners small physical therapy regimens for their dogs at this stage. Your vet may recommend you take your dog swimming. Only exercise your dog's legs when walking, or when doing the vet's prescribed exercises. Keep the dog quiet for the full eight-week recovery period.

Give your dog pain medication as directed by the veterinarian during the healing phase.

Keep an eye on the dog's other knee. Dogs with ligament issues in one leg often have the same issue in the other leg. Once the injured leg heals, look for limping or signs that the dog is favoring the other leg.

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