5 Tips For Preventing ACL Injuries In Dogs

In veterinary medicine, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is referred to as cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), which is a connective tissue that connects your pet’s bone below and above the knee. Its primary role is to maintain and provide stability to the knee. Once ruptured, it may result in a painful and unstable joint. That said, although technically called CCL, this article uses the term ACL since this is what most people call this ligament.

man running with dog

ACL injuries may gradually happen and worsen with vigorous activities or exercises until a tear occurs. The most common signs of ACL injuries in dogs include:

  • Difficulty jumping and rising
  • Stiffness
  • Limping and lameness

When you notice any of these signs, ensure to consult your veterinarian immediately. Furthermore, as a dog owner, you must be knowledgeable about ACL injuries. Other than consulting your vet, you can also consider checking out online resources such as Sunnyside Vet ACL injuries to learn more about ACL injuries in dogs.

Aside from fully understanding what ACL injury in dogs is. You must also know how to prevent such an injury from happening. To help you, here are five tips you should consider:

Do Not Let Your Dogs Run On Slippery Surfaces

Never let your dogs run on slippery surfaces like decks with composite floors. Instead, let them have fun on wooden deck floors, which are often less slippery. It’s because slippage on such surfaces may cause more force on your dog’s ligaments, which may cause them to suffer from ACL injuries in the long run.

Focus On Your Dog’s Proper Nutrition

When it comes to dog food, you should never forget that not all are made equal. To ensure healthy joints, a nutrient-rich diet that’s full of vitamins and minerals is vital. Generally, dogs will eat anything yummy, so monitor your pet’s daily intake and weight.

Consider getting multivitamin dog chews.

If you don’t know what to feed your dog, you can ask your vet to know the right dog food to consider. It may always vary depending on your dog’s health needs. Additionally, when shopping around for dog food, remember that both quantity and quality matter. So, never prioritize the price and focus more on quality to help your dog get the proper nutrition it deserves.

Aside from quality dog food, your dog may take mineral supplements and vitamins to strengthen its connective tissues. Your vet may recommend the best one suitable for your dog.

dog food bowl next to bowl of raw food

Maintain Your Dog’s Healthy Weight

ACL injuries in dogs are common in those that carry too much weight for their size and bone structure. Consider your dog’s stature and breed and ensure that it has a healthy weight. To know if your dog’s weight is healthy, ask your vet for help. You can also check the charts for dog size and breed in most vet clinics.

Giving your dogs lots of treats might be tempting, but it may only increase the risks of ACL injuries. To help your dog maintain its ideal weight, it’s essential to know how much you’re feeding him. Measure your dog’s food at every meal and keep track of treats and snacks. This way, you’ll know how much to feed your dog and whether or not you have to reduce his intake.

Prioritize Regular Exercise For Your Dog

Your dog must have access to appropriate exercise for its size and breed. Dogs should maintain their knee joint mobility. To achieve this, playing on the beach and gentle dog walks in the parks are excellent ideas.

If you have a big dog, ensure to provide plenty of regular exercises, such as jumping and running. Bigger dogs also need long walks and places where they can safely run around. On the contrary, small dogs also need regular exercise, and a half-mile walk daily is enough.

Avoid Weekend Warrior Syndrome

Weekend warrior syndrome occurs when dogs perform fewer physical activities due to their owner’s busy schedule but then go hard with strenuous exercises on the weekends. While you may think this syndrome isn’t a serious health condition for dogs, it may do more harm than good.

If you’re planning to take your dog outside for a run or other extreme activities after a week of not doing any physical activity, he may suffer from ACL injuries as he wasn’t conditioned slowly. This is why you should always introduce your dogs to outdoor activities and make exercise a part of their daily routine to prevent injury and exhaustion.

dog in car

To avoid weekend warrior syndrome, consider the following tips:

Commit To Regular Dog Conditioning

Your dog’s physical conditioning must consistently keep up with you during the weekend. For both their physical and mental health, dogs need to exercise daily. While other dogs may require at least an hour daily, some may need a few minutes. To condition your dog’s body, play a game of fetch or go for a short run.

Check Your Pet’s Health

Every dog is unique, and the amount of exercise it should get may widely vary, depending on the weight, health conditions, age, and weight. It’s best to check in with your vet for helpful advice on the best exercise for your dog. Typically, vets may recommend the right amount of exercise fit for your dog.

Rest Is Essential

Your dog’s body has to rest to repair the muscle tissues and avoid injuries from overuse. Never forget to include a few days of rest so you and your dog can recharge and be prepared to tackle another week full of fun activities.

Always Warm-Up

Like humans, dogs also need to warm up before any intense physical activity. Warm-up is essential to prevent achy joints and injuries. It also increases blood circulation and heart rate while loosening up your dog’s joints. A good warm-up is as simple as a jog or short walk.


While preventing ACL injuries in dogs isn’t always possible, following the above tips can make a difference in keeping your dog healthy and injury-free. To get the best results, always consult your veterinarian.


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