First aid for broken bones


  • Broken bones are extremely painful and require immediate veterinary attention.
  • If your pet has broken a bone, be very careful when moving them. They are likely to be in a lot of pain and may bite you if they are scared and hurting, use a muzzle to protect yourself.
  • Call your vet for advice immediately if you suspect your pet has a broken bone.

What to do if your pet has a broken bone

Step one: Check your pet

  • Check your pet for any other injuries.
  • Have they been hit by a car? If so, they could have internal injuries.
  • Do they have pale gums? Pale gums can mean they have lost blood, or that they are in shock
  • Do they have any wounds? If so, cover them with a clean bandage or cloth. Wounds around a broken bone can allow very serious infections to develop.
  • Are they bleeding? Control bleeding by applying light pressure.

Step two: Move them to a safe place

  • Avoid touching or moving their painful area.
  • Don’t allow them to walk if they have broken a leg.
  • Carry them using a flat surface such as a board if you suspect they have a spinal injury.

Step three: Call your vets

  • If your pet is unable to stand or walk, call your vet for an emergency appointment.
  • If your pet is able to walk, call your vet for further advice.
  • Do not give your pet anything to eat or drink until you have spoken to your vet.
Published March 2020

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.