Whether it’s an injury obtained from too much play or the byproduct of natural aging, a dog’s knee injury is no simple matter. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a myriad of knee and joint-related issues such as sprains, torn ligaments, and arthritis. The severity of these injuries ranges from being mild and unobstructive, to being painful enough to require surgery.
For pet owners who want to make sure their dog is comfortable despite their knee injury, a dog knee brace is a good investment. Braces help support the muscles in the leg and the joints in the knee, providing your dog with increased mobility and faster injury healing. In some cases, braces can make a great alternative treatment to expensive knee surgery.
Searching for the perfect dog knee brace is not the easiest task, which is why we’ve set out to help. We’ve broken down the most important things to look for in a knee brace and gathered a list of the best products available today to help you narrow down your choices.
- Why Use a Dog Knee Brace?
- Top 10 Best Knee Braces for Dogs 2021
- 1. Best Overall Pick: AGON Canine Rear Leg Joint Brace
- 2. Best Premium Pick: Ortocanis Original Knee Brace for Dogs
- 3. Best Budget Pick: AGON Canine Rear Leg Joint Compression Wrap
- 4. Best for Arthritis: AGON Canine Front Leg Brace
- 5. Best for Small Dogs: NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace
- 6. Best Compression Brace: Labra Dog Extra Supportive Compression Brace
- 7. Best ACL Brace: Labra Dog Knee Stifle Brace Wrap
- 8. Best for Stability: IN HAND Dog Rear Leg Brace
- 9. Best Adjustable Brace: Pet Lovers Stuff Dog Brace for Back Leg
- 10. Best Front Leg Brace: VANVENE Extra Supportive Front Leg Wrap
- Full Guide to Buying a Dog Knee Brace
- Benefits of a Knee Brace
- What Is an ACL/CCL Injury?
- How to Tell if Your Dog Is Injured
- Do I Need a Pair of Braces?
- How Long Does an ACL/CCL Injury Take to Heal?
- Dog Breeds Prone to Knee Issues
- Alternative Recovery Activities
- Making Your Dog Comfortable
- Can You Make Your Own Brace?
- How to Properly Measure Your Dog
- Preventing Dog Knee Injuries
- The Best Knee Brace for Your Dog
Why Use a Dog Knee Brace?
Dog knee braces are an excellent option for providing support to your pup’s muscles and joints. They can relieve arthritis pain and increase your dog’s range of mobility. In the cases of torn ligaments, such as an ACL strain (we talk more about this later in our guide), a knee brace can be used in place of an expensive surgery to help heal the injury.
Things to Consider
When looking for a knee brace, there are a few important things you need to keep in mind to ensure that you select the best product for your dog and their injury.
Having a brace with a comfortable fit is incredibly important if you want your dog’s injury to be properly supported and healed. The brace cannot be too loose or too tight or any benefits will be lost. To ensure a snug fit, make sure to properly measure your dog and double check the sizing requirements of the brace provided online.
Front or Back Leg
Which leg your dog’s injury is on determines the style of knee brace you will be buying. While back leg braces are more common, you can find front leg ones that will effectively support your dog. Make sure to check the style of the brace you are purchasing to confirm it will fit on the correct leg.
Ideally, you want to select a material that is both breathable and flexible, while still providing an unyielding support for your dog. You can also look for material that is long-lasting and easy to clean. Whichever material the brace is made from, it should let your dog move freely and comfortably without pinching their skin or slowing them down.
Level of Support
Some dogs, and knee injuries, require different levels of support. When looking at braces, be sure to select one that provides enough support to address your dog’s specific issues. For instance, a brace that loops over the hip like the Ortocanis Original Knee Brace is better for ACL support, while a brace like the AGON Canine Front Leg Brace is better for arthritis support due to its smaller size and localized placement.
Now that you know what is important to look for in a dog knee brace, let’s head straight into our list of today’s top picks!
1. Best Overall Pick: AGON Canine Rear Leg Joint Brace
Why we like it: This easy to use rear leg brace is great for giving your dog’s entire leg balanced support and for reducing any chronic inflammation.
This brace is designed to support the entire rear leg of your dog. It hugs your dog’s leg tightly, providing mobility support and reducing chronic inflammation that may be present in the muscles or joints of the leg. It is a great option if your dog has had a recent surgery or strain that requires complete, encompassing support.
The AGON Canine Brace is available in multiple different sizes, making it easy to find the best brace size for your pup. They also provide a detailed measurement guide so you can be sure the brace will perfectly fit your dog. The material is lightweight and flexible, and the addition of Velcro fasteners makes it easy to use.
The sizes of this product do tend to run small. If you are worried about the brace fitting properly, you can always purchase the next size up from what you think you will need. You can also look into a more adjustable brace, such as Pet Lovers Stuff’s back leg brace.
- Supports entire leg
- Multiple different sizes
- Reduces chronic inflammation
- Easy to use
- Sizes run small
Why we like it: The Ortocanis is handmade by experts in Barcelona and held to high manufacturing standards so it can provide as much support to your dog’s knee as possible.
This is a back-leg brace that helps reduce pain and provides stability for dogs with a number of injuries. It is especially helpful for pups with kneecap dislocation, ACL injuries, and healing minor strains. The brace’s extra-supportive design works to improve muscle flexibility and elasticity in ligaments each time it is worn.
Handmade by experts in Barcelona, this brace is comprised of a soft, insulating material. It helps trap a small amount of heat around your dog’s injury to reduce swelling and increase blood circulation, speeding up the healing process. It will also not pinch your dog’s skin or fur, which makes it a great choice for those pooches with longer hair or sensitive skin.
The hip strap that is meant to give expert stabilization to this product is very prone to slipping off the hips. You can purchase an extra hip strap fastening kit to fix this problem, but if you’d rather not take the risk on having to fix the brace up, you can look at Labra Dog’s Knee Stifle Brace Wrap, which has a more secure hip strap.
- Expertly handmade
- Soft, insulating material
- Improves muscle flexibility and elasticity
- Hip strap prone to slipping
3. Best Budget Pick: AGON Canine Rear Leg Joint Compression Wrap
Why we like it: This small but mighty leg brace is both affordable and gives your dog targeted joint support so they can play comfortably again.
For anyone looking for a knee brace that won’t ruin your budget, this may be the perfect product for you. At under $20, it is very affordable without compromising quality support to your dog. The shape of the brace is tailored to provide specific, firm reinforcement of your dog’s back leg joints. It makes a good choice if knee joint support is your main concern.
A smooth mesh sheet covers the inside of the brace, allowing it to flex and shift fluidly as your dog moves without irritating their skin and fur. The exterior is a robust nylon and Velcro mix that is very easy to wash. If you have a dog that still loves to go outside and exercise despite their injury, this brace is worth some extra consideration.
This brace might not be the best choice if your dog is an escape artist or is constantly fidgeting when they have to wear something. It is easily pulled out of place by dogs, especially those who are determined to not wear any accessories. We recommend a more secure brace, such as the Ortocanis Original Knee Brace in this case.
- Targeted joint support
- Easy to wash material
- Dogs can pull it out of place
4. Best for Arthritis: AGON Canine Front Leg Brace
Why we like it: Providing compression support for dogs with arthritis, this AGON brace will help your dog become stabilized and regain mobility.
Arthritis affects many areas on a dog’s body, but the most noticeable are the hips and the front legs. This joint pain can cause your dog to become irritable or immobile. The AGON Front Leg Brace addresses these issues with its small size, designed to provide compression support directly on the joints most affected by arthritis. If you know you want a front leg brace, also check out VANVENE Extra Supportive Front Leg Wrap.
This brace works to stabilize your dog’s joints and muscles. It has two different Velcro fastening straps on it so you can make sure the brace perfectly fits your dog’s legs each time it is worn. The tighter compression allows your dog to regain mobility they may have lost due to pain and inflammation, and helps to reduce occurrences of limping when not wearing the brace.
The material of this brace is not very durable. If your dog chews on it or is too active with it, the material might fray and become uncomfortable to your dog to wear. Make sure to keep the brace out of reach of your dog when they are not wearing it to prevent any damage.
- Great arthritis support
- Works to increase mobility
- Reduces occurrences of limping
- Brace material is not very durable
5. Best for Small Dogs: NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace
Why we like it: The NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace is designed for smaller dogs and comes with reflective strips for added safety.
If you have a smaller dog or a dog with skinnier legs, the NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace is a great option for you. It is designed to fit snugly on small dogs and give support to smaller joints. It also has added reflective strips on the back of the brace for extra safety when walking at night.
This brace comes in a pair. As we will discuss further below, a pair of braces may be a good choice if you need to balance your dog’s muscles. NeoAlly is also available in multiple colors and can be purchased as a front leg brace if needed.
The support given by this product is not as firm as some of its competitors. While it does offer help with mobility and muscles, if you are looking for support strong enough to help with an ACL injury, this may not be the best choice; look at the Labra Dog Knee Stifle Brace Wrap instead for intense injury support.
- Perfect for small dogs
- Reflective strips for safety
- Multiple colors
- Comes in a pair
- Support is not that firm
6. Best Compression Brace: Labra Dog Extra Supportive Compression Brace
Why we like it: This extra supportive brace is great for maintaining mobility and applying pressure to the entirety of your dog’s back leg.
This compression brace is designed to help extra support to a dog’s entire back leg. Each muscle in the leg will be supported and receive the benefits of a leg brace, such as increased joint healing and improved mobility, even when not wearing the brace. It is also a good option for wound or stiches protection; your dog will not be able to break through the material to lick at or chew on his injury.
Labra Dog’s customer service is very responsive. They will assist you in selecting the best size of brace if you have questions about measurements, and will not hesitate to help you exchange your brace for a different size if needed. This product is a good choice if you want to order a leg brace but are unsure about your pup’s measurements.
The Velcro used to secure this brace is located near the edges, and the stitching around the brace may be slightly itchy. This can cause the product to rub against your dog’s skin and fur, potentially irritating it. For a more flexible, comfortably fitting entire-leg brace, we recommend the AGON Rear Leg Joint Brace.
- Compression support for the entire leg
- Great for wound protection
- Responsive customer support
- Rough material may rub against skin
7. Best ACL Brace: Labra Dog Knee Stifle Brace Wrap
Why we like it: The Knee Stifle Brace Wrap provides extra strong support for severe injuries and can even help heal a torn ACL, as an alternative to surgery.
For dogs with severe injuries, such as luxating patella (a trick knee) or a torn ACL, the Labra Dog Knee Stifle Brace is a very good option. The brace provides very firm, strong support and may sometimes be recommended by vets as an alternative to expensive ACL surgery. Any severe injury can benefit from the brace’s tight pressure.
This product does have a secure hip strap. It attaches to the other side of the leg in order to stabilize your dog’s muscles and to keep the brace in its proper place. If your dog has had surgery or needs any kind of rehabilitation in their back legs or joints, the Labra Dog brace is a good choice.
This brace may be a little heavy for some dogs. It is inlaid with a metal hinge for extreme support, and the fabric is more heavy-duty than its competitors. While these elements can be beneficial to most dogs, a smaller dog or any dog that is extra sensitive to what they are wearing might not like this brace. We recommend the NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace for dogs like this.
You also need a chest harness in order for this product to have maximum efficiency. The hip strap connects up to the chest harness, full stabilizing and increasing ease of mobility in your dog’s back leg. This harness is sold separately, and it might be off-putting to some pet parents to have to buy multiple products.
- Strong support for more severe injuries
- Secure hip strap
- Can be an alternative to ACL surgery
- Good for rehabilitation of muscles and joints
- Can be too heavy for some dogs
- Requires a chest harness for maximum efficiency
8. Best for Stability: IN HAND Dog Rear Leg Brace
Why we like it: This flexible neoprene brace is both supportive and shockproof, so you can take your dog on safe, comfortable walks.
Similar to the NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace, the IN HAND brace has reflective strips attached to the sides for safety. It also has metal springs woven through the entirety of each brace in order to provide flexible support. These metal springs also make the brace shockproof, so you can take your dog on walks without fear of them becoming more injured.
The material is a flexible neoprene. It is soft, easy to wash, and comfortable to wear. The IN HAND brace comes in a pair to help stabilize both legs, reducing muscle weakness and inflammation so your dog’s leg muscles are better balanced. It is a good choice for someone who wants to keep their dog in good, stable shape while they are recovering from surgery or in the early stages of arthritis.
This brace doesn’t provide knee support since it is a hock brace. A hock brace will support all the muscles in the leg around the knee, giving light support, but if you want something that is targeted specifically to your dog’s knee, we suggest looking at the Ortocanis Original Knee Brace.
- Metal spring strips for flexible support
- Flexible neoprene material
- Stabilizes both legs for better mobility
- Doesn’t provide specific knee support
9. Best Adjustable Brace: Pet Lovers Stuff Dog Brace for Back Leg
Why we like it: The Pet Lovers Stuff back leg brace has a trendy camouflage design and adjustable fastening tabs to ensure a secure fit.
If your main concern in a leg brace is ensuring a snug, comfortable fit, the Pet Lovers Stuff brace is a great choice for you. It has adjustable fastening Velcro tabs at the top that allow you to perfectly adjust the tightness and size of the brace. This helps to ensure a more secure fit.
This brace comes in a pair, similar to the IN HAND Rear Leg Brace. It will help dogs to regain their ability to stand up without pain caused by arthritis and sprains. It also has a decorative camouflage design so your dog can gain pain relief in style.
The material is especially soft, which may be good for dogs with sensitive skin or longer hair, but can ultimately make the brace too flexible. This can result in the brace falling off easily, especially when out walking. Always be sure to keep an eye on the brace when your dog is wearing it to make sure it isn’t slipping out of place.
- Adjustable fastening for a secure fit
- Decorative camouflage design
- Helps dogs to stand
- The material might be too soft and flexible
10. Best Front Leg Brace: VANVENE Extra Supportive Front Leg Wrap
Why we like it: For dogs requiring extra support on their front legs, the VANVENE Leg Wrap is the answer. It supports all the muscles in the front leg and stays firmly in place wherever it’s worn.
Made with a thick insulating material, the VANVENE Supportive Leg Wrap traps heat in around the leg muscles, helps to increase blood pressure and reduce pain in the joints. It also helps to support muscles as they heal from sprains and tears. The brace stays firmly in place once applied, so even if you have a dog that loves to chew off accessories, they won’t be able to get this one off.
The entire front leg is supported in this brace. It is a good choice for dogs that have more severe joint injuries, or wounds on their front legs that need to be protected from the environment. It is great for wearing around the house and as it fully assists your dog in all of their daily activities. If you are looking for a back leg brace that supports the entire leg, check out our best overall pick AGON Canine Rear Leg Joint Brace.
Since the material of this brace is a little thicker than most, it may restrict the movement of some dogs, especially those who are not used to wearing a brace. Additionally, the sizes don’t get quite small enough to fit dogs such as terriers and chihuahuas. For small dogs, we recommend the NeoAlly Dog Leg Brace, in either the front or back leg version.
- Supports entire front leg
- Stays firmly in place
- Thick material traps heat in
- Great for around the house support
- May restrict movement
- Too big for small dogs
Full Guide to Buying a Dog Knee Brace
Dog knee braces are a complicated product to purchase. Not only do you have to consider things like sizing and materials, you also have to make sure the support provided is enough for your dog’s specific injury. In our full guide, we will go more in-depth on the different types of dog knee injuries and how knee braces can help.
Benefits of a Knee Brace
A knee brace can provide many benefits to your dog and heal a variety of different ailments. One of the most notable injuries a dog can get is a torn ACL/CCL injury, which is a ligament injury resulting in a damaged knee. A leg brace can help to reduce pain from the tear, and in some cases, assist the injury in fully healing without the need for surgery. A veterinarian will help you determine if a leg brace is the best option for you and your pup’s ACL/CCL injury.
Additionally, knee braces can help reduce inflammation in the joints of dogs with arthritis, thanks to their heating and insulating powers. They also provide the support that is necessary for arthritic dogs to comfortably exercise so they can stay fit and healthy. It is an overall cost-effective way to help improve the quality of life in dogs with joint pain.
Some braces, like the Labra Dog Knee Stifle Brace Wrap, aid dogs in rehabilitating their muscles after an injury or surgery. This is an important healing step as it exercises the muscles to avoid future stiffness and muscle imbalance after the dog is healed.
What Is an ACL/CCL Injury?
A torn CCL, the canine cruciate ligament, is one of the most common injuries a dog can sustain. The CCL is in the same area as a human’s ACL, the anterior cruciate ligament; many veterinarians and lay-people use CCL and ACL interchangeably when referring to an injury of this nature.
The CCL connects the back of your dog’s femur bone to the front of the tibia. More simply put, it is the ligament behind the knee that connects the bone above the knee to the bone below it. When this ligament is damaged, either by a tear or a strain, the area becomes swollen, causing your dog pain. Damage can occur at any time, but it usually sustained during intense exercise or running.
A CCL injury requires rest and immobilization to repair itself. This is where a knee brace comes in. By providing support to the leg muscles, the CCL can begin to repair itself, and your dog can regain their mobility during the healing process.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to fully repair your dog’s torn ligament. ACL/CCL surgery can be prohibitively expensive, costing from anywhere between $1100 to over $4500 depending on the type of surgery and who is performing the procedure.
Many veterinarians recommend pet owners begin treatment with a knee brace and pain relievers to see if the ligament will repair itself before jumping straight into surgical options. Some dogs may also be ineligible for surgery due to other medical conditions, which leaves them with a knee brace as their only choice for healing.
How to Tell if Your Dog Is Injured
If you suspect your dog has an ACL/CCL injury, they may be exhibiting any one of these signs.
Lameness, including dragging legs and limping, can come on suddenly as a result of a tear or get gradually worse over time, with your dog showing occasional improvements before worsening again. You may notice that rest seems to improve the issue, but as soon as your dog starts moving, the symptoms return.
If you notice your dog sitting differently than how they usually would, they may be nursing an injury. Usually, your dog will sit or lie with their leg sticking out an awkward angle, as it hurts them too much to bend the knee.
When your dog is walking on an unstable knee, more pressure is put onto other joints as they try to compensate. This can wear away the shock-absorbing cartilage in the knee, and creates a clicking sound that can be heard when your dog begins walking. To fully support the knee in these instances, we recommend an encompassing knee brace such as the Ortocanis Original Knee Brace.
Inflammation is one of the main reactions caused by a torn CCL. This can result in swelling over time as scar tissue develops in the knee. If one of your dog’s knees is looking bigger than the other, you should be consulting with a vet as soon as possible.
Do I Need a Pair of Braces?
While not necessary to heal a torn CCL or other leg muscle strain, having a pair of braces might be a good idea if your dog’s pain is caused by a torn CCL or arthritis. With these injury types, it is common for a dog to begin favoring their other legs more heavily, resulting in a muscle imbalance and potential further injuries. A pair of braces will support both legs evenly, improving muscle tone and preventing future pain, which is especially helpful for arthritic dogs.
How Long Does an ACL/CCL Injury Take to Heal?
It is hard to say exactly how long an ACL/CCL injury will take to heal, as this depends very much on the dog and the severity of the damage. In some dogs, the process may only take a month or two, but in others, it could take up to a year. Small dogs that weigh 30 pounds or less do tend to heal faster than larger dogs.
A brace can help speed this process up, but if your dog is not showing improvements within a month or two, surgery may be required. The best approach is to keep in touch with your veterinarian and monitor your dog closely as they wear the brace to determine if further intervention is required.
Dog Breeds Prone to Knee Issues
Certain breeds are more prone to developing knee issues than others. Larger dogs such as Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Mastiffs are especially predisposed to knee and joint injuries, including arthritis, because of their size.
That being said, smaller breeds such as Dachshunds, Corgis, and Basset Hounds are not exempt from developing knee issues. All of these breeds are short with longer backs, causing most of their weight bearing to be in their front and back joints. Over time, this could result in the development of arthritis or torn CCLs.
Obesity is another trait that can lead a dog to develop knee injuries. Too much weight on a dog is rough on the joints; this pressure causes muscle strain, torn CCLs, and onset arthritis. If you suspect your dog is becoming a little too chunky, check out this guide on getting started with dog weight loss.
Alternative Recovery Activities
A knee brace is one of the best alternative recovery options for a knee injury, but there are other activities you can involve your dog in that will help to reduce joint inflammation and strengthen muscles.
Hydrotherapy is water therapy, and is used in both human and dog rehabilitation. Exercising in water provides both resistance and buoyancy, which will allow your dog to strengthen their muscles without any stress being placed on their joints.
In this type of therapy, your dog will be walked along an underwater treadmill, the modifications of which can be adjusted to their exact recovery needs. It is a great option for pain relieving and mobility recuperation.
Dog massage therapy may seem like an extreme form of pet pampering, but it is actually a very helpful technique that works to rehabilitate your dog’s muscles. By gently stimulating and stretching out the injured ligaments, blood circulation is improved which can increase mobility. The muscles may also be more relaxed, reducing overall pain and inflammation.
You can learn simple dog massage techniques at home if you so choose. This video can help you get started. Just remember to be gentle every time you touch your dog, and stop if they appear to be in pain.
Making Your Dog Comfortable
Whenever your dog is in pain from a knee injury, you can take steps to make them more comfortable throughout the day.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work to reduce swelling, stiffness, joint pain, and inflammation in humans. Your vet can prescribe a dog friendly version that have these same effects, effectively taking the edge off of your pup’s pain. Never give your dog the human versions of NSAIDS like Ibuprofen.
Keep in mind that overuse of NSAIDs can result in kidney or liver complications in your dog. They may also cause an allergic reaction. Monitor your dog while administering these drugs and stop using/contact a vet if they show signs of distress such as labored breathing, lethargy, or vomiting.
Adding supplements to your dog’s diet can help prevent further injuries and reduce the pain associated with their current injury over time. Bone and joint supplements such as this one are loaded with ingredients that work to repair and heal knee injuries.
Supplements can take several weeks before their effects start showing, so these are better for prevention, attempting to relieve pain in an arthritic dog, or healing a CCL injury over time, rather than for treating an acute muscle strain.
Can You Make Your Own Brace?
While you can technically create a knee brace at home for your dog, this is not recommended. A homemade brace will likely not have the support needed to help your dog’s injuries heal or be a snug enough fit to help reduce inflammation. It is better to invest in a premade knee brace that is specifically designed for assisting dogs with knee injuries.
How to Properly Measure Your Dog
As you look at knee braces online, the measurements of each brace size should be clearly listed. In order to make sure you receive a product with the proper fit, invest in a reliable measuring tape. From there, look at the areas each product recommends you measure. This could be higher or lower up on the leg, depending on the style of the brace.
Once you have your measurements taken, you can place your order. If you have questions about sizing or measurements, don’t hesitate to ask questions. The fit of the knee brace is extremely important if your dog is to benefit from wearing it. Labra Dog has very responsive customer service, so if you have sizing concerns and questions, we recommend looking into this product.
Preventing Dog Knee Injuries
Simple adjustments to your dog’s daily routine can reduce the risks of your dog developing a knee injury.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
As we discussed above, obesity is a major contributing factor in the development of ligament tears and joint erosion. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight through exercise and proper diet is one of the best ways to prevent a knee injury.
Exercise Your Dog Regularly
Regular, gentle exercise strengthens your dog’s muscles and keeps them healthy. Make sure you are not allowing your dog to jump from very high distances or constantly run on very uneven ground to prevent damage to the CCL.
Understand Arthritis Signs
Being informed about the early warning signs of arthritis can help you step in and start giving your dog proper support via a knee brace or other rehabilitative activity. Arthritis can appear quickly, and without addressing the pain as soon as possible, may go past the point of tolerability by your dog, leaving them immobile and dependent on pain pills for life.
The Best Knee Brace for Your Dog
Dogs are cherished members of our families, and when they get an injury, most pet owners will do whatever they can to fix the pain. In cases of arthritis or a knee injury where surgery isn’t possible, purchasing a dog knee brace is the best thing you can do to give comfort to your pup.
While selecting a product isn’t the easiest task, once you consider your dog’s injury, the amount of support needed, and your preferred style of brace, you are one step closer to finding the best knee brace for your dog.