Dogs, just like us humans, need occasional joint support. Whether your four-legged family member is suffering from age-related joint pain or is recovering from a carpal injury, a brace will be required. And it’s essential you choose the right one for him or her.
But finding and ordering the right one, especially while shopping online, can be difficult. Here are a few tips, pointers, and product suggestions to help steer you in the right direction.
How to Choose a Dog Carpal Brace:
Choosing the right carpal brace can be tricky, Before buying any one product, it’s always best to first consult a veterinarian to assess the damage of the carpal joint. While carpal sprains, fractures, and arthritis can be alleviated and healed by wearing a brace, tears and complete breaks can’t. If your dog falls into the former category, he or she will greatly benefit from regularly wearing a carpal brace. Below are things to consider before choosing a carpal brace for your canine companion:
- Determine whether or not you’ll need a front (anterior) and rear (posterior) positioning brace
- Gauge how active your dog will be during while wearing the brace
- Get your dog’s accurate measurement between the top of the paw to the midpoint of the leg between carpal pad and elbow.
- Ask your vet for the amount of support (stiffness) the brace should provide
- See if your dog needs a brace that also supports his or her paw
- Look at the what materials the brace itself uses in its construction
- Determine if you need a completely enclosed (shell) design or one that is more open to allowing the skin to breathe
Best Overall Pick: Walkin’ Pet Splint for Dogs
Featuring a rigid, highly supportive design, the Walkin’ Pet Splint is an ideal choice for a dog carpal brace. This brace specifically is used to treat carpal sprains and fractures, as it impedes stressful moments to allow the injury to heel. It’s not an excellent dog front leg brace to help with arthritis-relating joint pains.
The Walkin’ Pet Splint also has a paw cup to help support injured digits. Because the design is not an enclosed (shelled), the splint tends to stay cleaner than most. The splint’s design is also universal so that it can fit on either the left or right front leg of your dog.
Walkin’ Pet Splint is best left worn on your pet for two hours on, then by two hours off. And be sure always to remove the splint overnight or during long, relaxed spans of time.
The Walking’ Pet Spring starts at $69.95 on Amazon.com and is eligible for free shipping.
What We Liked:
- A sturdy, featherweight design that features cushioned interior padding and adjustable Velcro straps to help with fit
- The splint also extends under the dog’s paw to help stabilize digit or toe injuries and keep the carpal joint
- An open design that allowed for the area to breathe and avoid bacterial buildup
- A wide array of sizes to choose from that fit most dog breeds and sizes
- The universal design makes it easy to fit either the left or right leg
What Could Be Better:
- Waterproofing the design to allow for less washing and ensure cleanliness would be nice
- Correct dog paw sizing appears to be hit or miss
- Thick, ridged bottom part of the design can create walking and balancing problems in the beginning
Best Value Pick: Pfaff Nature Pet Premium Carpal Splint / Carpal Joint Wrist Bandage for Dogs
One of the more simple and smaller dog carpal braces available, Pfaff Nature Pet Premium Carpal Splint is the best bang for your buck. The design features highly adjustable velcro fittings to secure the splint in place. All materials, except for the aluminum inserts, which make up the carpal splint can be hand washed in warm water.
The inelastic band and insertable aluminum rods are used to allow the carpal joint to sit correctly for maximum support and healing. And because there is no paw support, your dogs walking and balancing won’t be affected either.
The Pfaff Nature Pet Premium Carpal Splint utilizes a high quality neoprene. Being both breathable and soft, it won’t irritate your dog’s skin. Also, the design can fit on either of your dogs front legs.
Pfaff Nature Pet Premium Carpal Splint starts at $48.90 on Amazon.com.
What We Liked:
- The good quality and porous neoprene material help to prevent heat build-up, ulceration, and bacterial buildup
- Fitting is highly adjustable and lessens the chance for bruising
- The simple design allows for easy removal and checking any wounds
- Four sizes are available to fit small, medium, large, and extra large dogs
- Small, no-frills design makes it easy to pack and travel
- The components for support both medial and lateral stabilization to ensure maximum carpal joint support
What Could Be Better:
- With only four generalized sizes available, we wish there was more sizing variety
- Only two velcro straps enclose the brace, so it can slip or fall off more easily than others
- The slips to insert the aluminum braces are small and hard to find
Best Budget Pick: Pfaff Pet Orthopaedics’ CarpoLock Soft/ Sports Carpal Joint Bandage
This dog carpal brace allows pet owners to stay on budget while still giving their dog the joined support they need. Unlike other stiff splints, the Pfaff Pet Orthopaedics’ CarpoLock Soft/ Sports Carpal Joint Bandage uses soft, pliable neoprene. This carpal brace allows for sport-like mobility while wearing the brace.
The lack of a paw cup for support also helps with balance, as well. But because it doesn’t have digit support, this budget pick is not the best for dogs who have paw or digit injuries.
Because the brace doesn’t feature more supportive materials, this brace is not intended for fractures or sprains. It’s best used for carpal support in high-impact situations or for dogs who suffer from arthritis. The Pfaff Pet Orthopaedics’ CarpoLock Soft/ Sports Carpal Joint Bandage can be used on either left or right front leg.
The Pfaff Pet Orthopaedics’ CarpoLock Soft/ Sports Carpal Joint Bandage starts at $27.90 on Amazon.com.
What We Like:
- Easy to wash in water up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
- Soft, flexible design makes it easy for dogs to walk and balance
- The reflective material allows dogs to have visibility at night
- Affordable price without skimping on quality
- Neoprene is very porous to let the skin to breathe underneath it
What Could Be Better:
- Only available in four sizes and doesn’t include adjustable inserts
- Design not stiff enough to support fractured or sprained carpal joints
- Does not allow for digit support
Finding the correct brace for your furry best friend is an important task. And as you can see: No two healing and supportive braces are the same. Regardless of which brace you purchase, always remember to check with your vet beforehand. A properly fitted dog carpal brace will leave you with a smile and your canine best friend tail’s wagging. The Walkin’ Pet Splint for Dogs fits will surely do both.