Fitting a Dog Knee Brace Correctly

Surgery is most often chosen for dogs with serious knee injuries, such as damage to the cruciate ligament. Dog owners who opt for less invasive treatment than knee surgery are choosing to use a dog knee brace instead. Here is some information on the proper procedures for fitting your dog with a knee brace.

Brace Types

There are 3 different types of knee braces to consider:

  • Stifle braces focus their support on the knee and the upper portion of the leg.
  • Hock braces concentrate their support on the hock muscle along with the knee.
  • Carpus braces offer support for the wrist.
  • These different types of braces may be used in combinations according to the type of injury. Your vet will recommend a brace design after diagnosis.

All braces have straps, Velcro or metal attachments to hold them on securely in various configurations. Some will have straps travelling over the dog's back and attaching to the opposite leg to keep the knee brace from riding down the injured leg, or shifting in some other way. When you get your dog's knee brace, go over these attachments with your vet or prosthetist thoroughly so you can avoid cutting off circulation or causing injury or irritation when you put your dog's brace on.


While there are manufacturers that will ship braces to you without custom fittings, these applications often produce the poorest results.

A custom fitted knee brace is the best way to safeguard you dog's health, and get the best outcome. The fitting is done by making a plaster cast of your dog's leg. You can find companies that will ship you a casting kit with detailed instructions, so you can make the plaster cast yourself and ship it back to the manufacturer. Your dog's brace is then made from the plaster mold in a few days. This method can be economical, but for the best results you should ask your vet to make the plaster cast and send it to the manufacturer. Better still: ask your vet to help you find a certified prosthetist to make the brace. This process will take a few extra appointments, but it will give your dog the best chance for healing quickly and fully.

Take the greatest care, and try not to spare expense when fitting your dog' knee brace. A badly fitted brace can aggravate your dog's injury, or cause new damage to leg muscles, tendons and bones.