What to do when your dog is Dragging or Knuckling Toes in the Hind Legs – And Yes it can happen to cats too.

Previously, we’ve discussed just how the hind legs of your dog can experience damage and pain (especially with the hock joint). Today, we have an injury that is completely different because there is no pain yet it can be equally as damaging as any other; knuckling toes due to a lack of proprioception. More specifically, we’re focusing on knuckling toes only affecting one side of the body (unilateral).

When it comes to unilateral injuries, they are commonly caused by sudden trauma. This can have a grave impact on the nervous system. As we know, knuckling toes is a neurological injury which means the nerves have been damaged in some way and this leads to changes in the body. As well as sudden trauma, certain spinal injuries can also cause knuckling toes in just the one side.

Cat with knuckling toe

First Steps

First and foremost, you have to notice the injury and this comes from not only recognizing a difference in their walk but also listening out for the foot-dragging. If you have laminate flooring especially, most owners report the dragging sound and say this was the first sign that made them aware of the issue. From here, you need to take them to the vet otherwise the issue will only get worse.

If Knuckling Toes are Left Untreated

For some owners, they adopt the mindset of ‘if we keep an eye on it, it will probably go away’. Although this can work for minor issues, knuckling toes is a neurological condition which means there is no ‘going away’. Therefore, your vet will need to see your dog before the dragging leads to wounds and sensitivity in the whole region. With this in mind, the solution needs to be here and now.

The Solution?

In truth, the chosen solution will entirely depend on the cause of the issue. Sadly, degenerative spinal injuries have very little treatment opportunities because the damage has already been done from within. In these scenarios, your vet will suggest using a BT Pull to provide protection and comfort for the paw. If the damage is lighter and can be healed, the BT Pull can be used once again until full healing.

With Balto, you have a range of products developed by experts who are helping your dog to recover or at least cope with the issue as best as possible. By holding the paw in its natural position, it prevents further damage and wounds on the top of the foot.

As with most dragging leg injuries, your canine friend will soon cow their paw and stretching toes become uncomfortable. Therefore it is important to massage and stretch their toes regularly before introducing the new brace.

Dog leg brace for dragging paw

After receiving the brace

It won’t be long before you notice the breathable and comfortable material. With some other providers, the elastic band isn’t covered which causes discomfort for your pet. The BT Pull will remain comfortable throughout the day and it’ll give your dog confidence to walk around rather than lying down all day. With this exercise, the muscles won’t waste away and you can encourage the recovery.

If you spot any issues, even if you think it might be nothing, we urge you to visit a qualified veterinarian. Over the years, we get to know our pets pretty well so usually, it is actually ‘something’ rather than ‘nothing’. With a professional-looking over your dog, you can be confident they’re receiving high-quality care!