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Leave It to the Professionals: Why DIY Knee Braces for Dogs Are a Bad Idea

Derrick Campana

Any dog parent wants the best for those little legs walking around the house. So, when your most devoted companion suffers from a knee mobility issue, it is reasonable to want to find a rapid remedy.

Now, you may think watching videos on how to make a dog knee brace on the internet and try it yourself is the best solution; however, making a homemade knee brace may not be the most appropriate decision for your dog’s health.

So, what can you do to alleviate your dog’s discomfort without opting for surgery? This blog will guide you through the best alternatives for your Bionic Pet.

Understanding Dog Knee Mobility Issues

Dog knee mobility issues refer to the various conditions and injuries that affect a dog's ability to move and support weight on its hind legs due to problems with the knee joint. The most common knee mobility issue in dogs is cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury, similar to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in humans.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament tears (CCL)

The CCL is one of the major ligaments that stabilize the knee joint in dogs. CCL tears can be caused by various factors such as genetics, obesity, trauma, or degenerative changes in the ligament over time.


Dogs with knee mobility issues may exhibit symptoms such as limping, lameness, difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg, swelling around the knee joint, and decreased activity levels. They may also experience pain or discomfort when walking, running, or jumping.


A veterinarian will typically perform a thorough physical examination of the dog's leg and might use diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays to assess the knee joint's condition and identify any underlying issues.

Treatment Options

The treatment of knee injuries in dogs depends on the severity of the condition. Some cases may be managed through physical therapy to strengthen the leg muscles and stifle braces to stabilize the knee, preventing tibial drawer motions, alleviating pain, and aiding in scar tissue development, which takes us to the next point in this article. 

What Is a Dog Knee Brace or Stifle Brace?

dog’s leg

A dog knee brace or a stifle brace is a device worn to help support the dog's leg, specifically the stifle joint. Generally, knee braces are fabricated with materials like foam, fabric, plastic, and metal.

The stifle joint is the dog equivalent to our knees, located between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). So, the main function of the stifle is to protect those areas from further damage.

The Risks of DIY and Generic Knee Braces for Dogs

1. Improper Fit

DIY knee braces may not fit properly, leading to discomfort and limited effectiveness. Proper fitting is crucial for braces to provide the necessary support and stabilization to the injured knee. 

2. Lack of Expertise

Creating a knee brace requires a deep understanding of canine anatomy, bio-mechanics, and orthopedic conditions. With proper expertise, it is easier to design a brace that addresses the dog's specific injury or condition needs.

3. Incorrect Support

Different knee injuries or conditions require different types of support. Without professional guidance, there is a chance of providing inadequate or incorrect support, which may exacerbate the problem or lead to further complications.

4. Potential for Further Injury

A poorly designed or improperly fitted knee brace can potentially cause more harm than good. It can put additional stress on other parts of the leg or joint, leading to secondary injuries or worsening the existing condition.

5. Delayed Treatment

Relying on a DIY or generic knee brace may delay the appropriate medical treatment for the dog's knee injury. Prompt and accurate diagnosis by a veterinarian is essential for developing a proper treatment plan, which may involve surgery, physical therapy, or other interventions.

6. Lack of Monitoring

Monitoring the effectiveness of a knee brace and assessing the dog's progress is important in managing the injury or condition. With professional guidance, it can be easier to track the dog's recovery and make necessary adjustments to the brace or treatment plan.

Professional Alternatives for Dog Knee Braces

If you're looking for professional alternatives to dog knee braces, there are a few options you can consider:

Custom Stifle Brace

A stifle brace, also known as a custom knee brace, is designed specifically for your dog's knee condition. These braces are tailored to provide optimal support and stability, aiding the healing process or preventing further damage. They are typically prescribed and fitted by veterinary orthopedic specialists.

The lack of a supporting instrument for a dog’s knee can lead to arthritis or further injury. For a dog with arthritis, the brace takes some weight off the knee and can reduce inflammation.

Physical Therapy

Working with a veterinary physical therapist can provide alternative solutions to surgery as well. Physical therapy may include exercises, stretches, and manual techniques to strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve joint mobility, and reduce pain. The therapist can also guide you in performing therapeutic exercises at home.

Assistive Devices

Depending on your dog's condition, various assistive devices can support mobility and alleviate strain on the knees. These can include harnesses, braces, or carts that help distribute weight and provide additional support during movement. Consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary rehabilitation specialist to determine the most suitable device for your dog.

dog knee injury

To complement this blog with more detailed information, visit our Youtube channel, where we post useful insights for dog parents.

Improve the Life of Your Pet With a Custom Knee Brace

In brief, an effective approach to stabilize your dog's leg is using a dog knee brace. Compared to surgery, braces are a less expensive and invasive way to rehabilitate an injured pet when used over the long term.

If you're looking for a custom knee brace for your dog, look no further than Bionic Pets! We specialize in custom braces that adapt to fit styles and medical needs.

At Bionic Pets, our dedication to restoring mobility and enhancing the health of all animals drives us to create devices of the highest quality and functionality for pets of all sizes.