Starting with our very broken first foster puppy (now family member) Mr. Stix who arrived at our local shelter with 15 fractures -- all four legs, his hips and his tail, we started specialize in fostering dogs who've likely been hit by a car or similar vehicle. For example, with Mr. Stix, we wonder maybe something more like an ATV since clearly the wreck didn't kill him or cause any internal organ damage (that we know of). As we learned, though, from the unexpected death of foster puppy Dream from an undetected internal injury, no guarantees about how a dog broken leg situation will turn out. With so many injured dogs and puppies in our experience bank, I figured I'd share a few dog broken leg cast tips. Yep, that's a keyword. Sorry it's weird.
Dog Broken Leg Cast DIY Protection
Old IV bags. Pretty often veterinary teams provide used IV bags that can be cinched with a long strip of gauze threaded through carefully cut slits at the top of the bag as all-weather protection for running a canine pal with a dog broken leg cast outside to potty.
This usually works fine for straighter front legs. Super thick and sturdy, they provide great protection. However, the problem is that they are stiff and often narrow -- even for smaller dogs' rear legs. Ask me how I know.
Plastic grocery bags. Can be quick to tie thanks to the handles and work okay in a pinch for front or rear legs, but they remain too flimsy for much more than a quick trip outside to potty. You can double or triple them up for a bit more protection, assuming your normal walking route isn't on rough, pokey terrain.
Cereal bags. The inner bags from boxes of cereal or the ones that come bagged only also work pretty well, but your dog (or other dogs) might get obsessed with the food smell. Depending on your dog's temperament, maybe use with caution. They can also be a suffocation risk (much like chip bags), so keep them away from your dog unless in active use and under direct supervision. Tie them on carefully.
Plastic wrap. Yes, really. Plastic wrap can protect dog broken leg casts in more dramatic weather -- like deeper snow or ongoing rain. Much more versatile for rear legs with more bends and turns. You don't want to leave it on, though, in damp conditions when not needed because too much moisture building up around the cast or limb isn't good.
Press & seal wrap. Another pal tipped me off to the magic-like nature of plastic wrap that sticks together better with pressure. Also a great option for crappy, damp weather.
Getting crafty with old parka shells. It's pretty easy to sew something up from the outer, weather-proof shell of an old coat -- maybe one you already have or an inexpensive one from a thrift store. Just be sure to make it wide enough and tie-able at the top to be useful even for active dogs with no sense of self-preservation despite whatever caused the broken dog leg in the first place.
I've not tried this myself, but if enough people are interested, I could and maybe offer a free pattern to download. Let me know!
Dog Broken Leg Cast Foot Protection from Stores, etc.
The other options available in stores and online, include sock-like things that we call "bootie socks" with some grippy pads or those simple galoshes-type foot protection. Often, though, you need pretty big ones. You'd be surprised how BIG some of the dog broken leg casts are.
The dog definitely needs to trust you and be patient enough to hold still as you stretch and "slide" these on.
You also have to be careful about the dogs chewing on or even eating the sock kind, if you're going to leave them on -- as we sometimes do with foster puppies, with mixed results. I used to own like 8 of the little bootie socks on the photo above, but just this one remains. All the others got holes from walking or puppies chewing.