There are so many options on the dog brace and splint market it can be hard for pet parents to navigate. How do you know if your dog's ACL injury or knee sprain needs an off the shelf knee support or a more custom- made rigid knee brace?
The short answer is: your dog probably needs both. The more soft, knee support sleeves can be worn 24/7 and your dog is able to sleep in them and use them for physical therapy as well as to prevent re-injuries once healed. A more custom knee brace is great for aiding in healing for an active dog. The custom brace will keep the stifle joint immobile while allowing your dog to get up and go on walks and wander around your home or yard.
If you and your Vet have decided knee injury has occurred and needs treatment immediately, a custom brace won't be an option. Soft knee support sleeves come in many different sizes to get your dog the cruciate support needed to encourage healing in a timely manner. A made-to order custom knee brace is going to take some time to make and get to your home or vet's office.
Adjustable cruciate braces are great alternatives to surgery in most ACL injury cases. The brace holds the cruciate joint and the ligaments in place to promote healing in the correct place, but maybe your dog has sprained ACL or knee arthritis and needs lighter weight, more flexible support. A neoprene brace will allow your dog to stay active and promote healing!
It is always important to discuss all of your dog's care and therapy with their veterinarian! While your dog heals from their knee injury, you may also want to look into rear support harnesses to help take some weight and stress off of the healing joint.