Home > Shop By Condition > Arthritis, Hip & Joint Pain > ACL Tears & Luxating Patella

Common Ligament Injuries: Strains, Torn ACLs & Luxating Patella

Is your dog holding his hind leg up? If you notice your dog limping on its back leg, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause of the discomfort. Dogs are susceptible to ligament injuries in both the front and back legs. Common ligament injuries include:

  • Ligament muscle strains
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are most commonly found in the hind legs of dogs.
  • Luxating patella, or a dislocated knee cap, can occur in both the front and back legs of dogs.

“Lameness” in dogs indicates that your pup is uncomfortable and needs to be treated.

Using pain medications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can provide relief in the short term but can have harmful side effects. Adding natural supplements with medical intervention can help rebuild and repair the joints and ligaments, increasing your pet's mobility for the long term.

ACL Tears in Dogs

A dog ACL tear is a common orthopedic injury affecting the knee joint. It is characterized by symptoms like sudden lameness, reluctance to bear weight, swelling, and reduced activity levels. You may notice your dog bunny-hopping or holding its hind leg up. Dog limping comes and goes and a dog's gait may have an occasional clicking sound.

Causes of ACL Tears in Dogs

Certain factors increase a dog's susceptibility to ACL tears, with larger breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds being particularly at risk, especially if overweight or obese.

Dogs engaged in high-impact activities or strenuous exercises, such as jumping or abrupt stops, may also face a higher likelihood of ACL injuries. Age, anatomical factors like hind limb conformation, and overall health contribute to the risk.

Pet owners can reduce these risks through preventive measures like maintaining a healthy weight, using tendon and ligament supplements for dogs and providing regular exercise.

Diagnosing ACL Tears in Dogs

Veterinarians diagnose an ACL tear through physical examination and imaging studies like X-rays or MRI. Treatment options vary, including surgical interventions like TPLO or extracapsular repair, followed by postoperative rehabilitation and pain management.

Fixing an ACL Tear in Dogs

Non-surgical options include physical therapy, resting and using the best supplements for a torn acl in dogs. Dog ligament supplements can help reduce inflammation, slow the progression of arthritis that can set in and aid in connective tissue repair.

In some cases, rest and supplements may be a viable alternative to surgery for a torn ACL or CCL ligament. If surgery is necessary, these are the best joint supplements after ACL surgery:

Recommended Supplements For Torn ACL In Dogs

Ultra-Flex Collagen – A natural “whole-food” supplement that strengthens cartilage, rebuilds connective tissue and supports joint health. Collagen is the "cellular glue" that is found in the bones, muscles, skin, tendons, and digestive tract of your pet. As pets age, natural collagen production declines and can lead to decreased elasticity and stability in the joints, muscles and connective tissue. Ultra-Flex Collagen For Pets contains NEM® brand eggshell membrane which support joints and connective tissue. It contains key enzymes for enhanced absorption and bioavailability.

ArthroStride for Pets - Wondering how to treat a limping dog at home? ArthroStride is a comprehensive joint and ligament supplement for dogs. It contains 15 ingredients including: glucosamine, MSM, New Zealand green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), NAC, collagen, CMO, curcumin, hyaluronic acid and more, that are scientifically proven to promote joint repair, increase mobility and reduce joint degeneration. It provides natural joint relief for dogs who are limping, have joint stiffness or have difficulty getting up or down the stairs due to old age, arthritis or hip and joint dysplasia. All ingredients are third-party tested for purity and efficacy, making this one of the best natural ligament supplements for dogs.

Happy Paws Organic Hemp Extract For Dogs - The best CBD oil for dog limping, pain, arthritis and stiffness. Happy Paws is a full-spectrum hemp oil containing CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBDA. Rigorous independent laboratory testing ensures purity. Each 1oz bottle contains 550mg of full-spectrum hemp extract in an unflavored all-natural coconut oil base. Organically grown in Colorado. Happy Paws Drops CBD Oil can help dogs with torn ACL tear, luxating patella, muscle strain and arthritis.

Luxating Patella In Dogs

Luxating patella, also known as patellar luxation, is a common orthopedic condition in dogs characterized by the dislocation or slipping of the kneecap (patella) from its normal position in the groove of the thigh bone (femur).

It may be also be referred to as floating kneecaps or a trick knee.

Symptoms of Luxating Patella

Symptoms of a luxating patella include: a dog limping that comes and goes, hopping on the front or back leg, dog holding the leg up, and a characteristic "bow-legged" or "knock-kneed" appearance. Dogs may also exhibit pain or discomfort when the patella is out of place. Veterinary diagnosis involves a physical examination and may include X-rays to assess the severity and underlying structural issues. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition.

Toy and small breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire Terriers, are more commonly predisposed to luxating patella. Additionally, anatomic factors like shallow femoral grooves or abnormalities in the alignment of the bones around the knee joint can contribute to the condition. The severity of the patellar luxation is often graded from mild to severe based on the extent of dislocation. In mild conditions, weight management, physical therapy and using the best supplements for luxating patella is often recommended. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be needed. The specific surgical approach may include procedures like trochleoplasty or tibial tuberosity transposition. Postoperative care involves rehabilitation exercises. luxating patella supplements and monitoring to ensure a successful recovery and long-term joint stability.

Best Supplements For Luxating Patella In Dogs

PureOcean Wild Omegas For Cats - PureOcean Wild Omegas are made from wild-caught sardines, anchovies & mackerel. Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, aids in managing inflammation associated with luxating patella in dogs, alleviating discomfort and pain. Excellent value. One bottle lasts 4-6 months for small dogs.

Ultra-Flex Collagen for Pets – A natural “whole-food” supplement that strengthens cartilage, rebuilds connective tissue and supports joint health. Ultra-Flex contains scientifically proven NEM® brand eggshell membrane. The collagen in NEM contributes to the structure and health of joint cartilage, potentially aiding in maintaining the proper alignment of the patella. Glycosaminoglycans in NEM may support joint lubrication, contributing to smoother joint movement.


"Tootsie was a 10 year old stray who came into our local shelter. I brought her home to foster her last year. She apparently had injuries to her back legs, could barely walk and was often holding one leg up. I started her on a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement but saw little progress. Three months later someone told me about Ask Ariel products and I purchased the ArthroSoothe and started her on that. She made amazing progress. Within a month she was able to use the leg that previously she had not walked on. A couple months later she was able to go at a fast walk and a few more months and she could trot. Six months after starting the ArthroSoothe, she was actually able to run. Today you would never know that her back legs had been so bad. She has good muscle tone, runs, uses steps, and never has any more discomfort." - Jean, North Carolina

natural anti inflammatory for dogs K9 CurcuMagic For Dogs
Our Price: $38.95
Sale Price: $33.00
Savings: $5.95
Best Glucosamine For Dogs ArthroStride For Pets
Our Price: $46.50
Sale Price: $39.50
Savings: $7.00
Happy Paws Drops Happy Paws Drops
Our Price: $64.50
Sale Price: $54.50
Savings: $10.00
Collagen For Dogs Ultra-Flex Collagen For Dogs & Cats
Our Price: $49.75
Sale Price: $45.75
Savings: $4.00
PureOcean Wild Omegas PureOcean Wild Omegas
Our Price: $34.75
Sale Price: $27.75
Savings: $7.00
Originally published Dec 11, 2023
Updated March 20, 2024
Written by: Susan Davis, Pet Health Nutritionist, CCN
All pet treatment protocols and pet treatment supplements have been reviewed and approved by a veterinarian

Dog Muscle Strain, Torn ACLs & Luxating Patella Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can you treat a dog’s torn cruciate ligament (ACL) holistically?

Conservative management is the term used to describe non-surgical treatment for a dog’s torn ACL injury. Conservative management consists of restricted activity, physical therapy, and dog supplements for torn ACL. CBD oil is often recommended for dogs with a torn ACL due to its potential to manage pain and reduce inflammation. It's anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant properties may provide relief and comfort for a dog with a torn ACL. Collagen is a crucial component of connective tissues, including ligaments. Supplementing with collagen may support the structural integrity of the ligaments, aiding in the healing process of the torn ACL.

What is the best glucosamine for dogs with torn ACL?

The best glucosamine for dogs is included in our comprehensive blend of 15 of the most researched joint support ingredients available. ArthroSoothe For Pets contains the best glucosamine sulfate plus MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), Vitamin B3, zinc, selenium, boswellia, turmeric, hyaluronic acid, resveratrol and collagen…ingredients scientifically proven to promote joint and tissue repair, increase mobility, and reduce pain and inflammation. ArthroSoothe has been recommended by veterinarians nationwide for over 15 years. There are no other dog ACL supplements available that contain such a broad range of ingredients that can support the regeneration of healthy tissues and ligaments while preventing arthritis and further joint degeneration.

What dog ligament supplements help with a torn ACL?

The best dog ligament supplements are natural whole-food collagen and fish oil for dogs, they contain strengthening and anti-inflammatory properties that can help your dog recover from a torn ACL. Ultra-Flex Collagen can help to repair cartilage and connective tissue on a cellular level. It is made with NEM® eggshell membranes that naturally contain many of the same key nutrients found in healthy joint cartilage and connective tissue. Amazing Omegas is the best fish oil for dogs. It is concentrated to provide a highly therapeutic dose of omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation and pain.

Can a dog recover from a torn ACL without surgery?

Some dogs can recover from an ACL tear without surgery, but it depends on the severity and the specifics of the tear. Every pet’s situation is different, which is why it’s essential to take your dog to a veterinarian for an evaluation. Surgeries for older dogs and dogs with secondary health conditions can be risky and recovery is more difficult. Younger dogs are better candidates for surgery, as they can recover faster and they are more likely than older dogs to reinjure the ligament if it is not surgically repaired. No matter the age, a complete CCL tear will not heal without surgical intervention. A conservative approach to treating a partial ACL tear includes restricted activity for the dog, using natural supplements, and physical therapy modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage or hydrotherapy. Natural supplements can help to alleviate pain, enhance healing of the torn ligament, and preventing arthritis. These conservative management treatments can also be used for pre- and post-operative care if surgery is required.

What are the best supplements for luxating patella in dogs?

The best supplements for luxating patella in dogs control inflammation, reduce pain, promote healthy connective tissue and increase mobility. Luxating patella is more common in small breed dogs and happens when the knee cap pops out of its natural position. This can cause friction (pain) and lead to arthritis and restricted mobility. Amazing Omegas is the best fish oil for dogs. It is a powerhouse of omega-3 fatty acids that can help protect against cartilage degradation. ArthroSoothe For Pets is the most comprehensive joint support supplement for dogs. It contains 15 natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to reduce inflammation, repair cartilage and ligaments, and improve joint mobility. K9 CurcuMagic is a natural anti-inflammatory for dogs. It is a unique composition of three bioactive, curcuminoids - the strongest, most protective and best-researched constituents of the herb turmeric. Our supplements are veterinarian recommended for luxating patella.