There is no safe way to treat a dog with a dislocated shoulder at home without first taking the dog to the veterinarian. The severity of the injury helps determine how veterinarians treat the dog. Shoulder dislocations usually involve tears in the ligaments or rotator cuff muscles that hold the shoulder to the humerus bone. While dogs need to be treated by a doctor, there are several things pet owners can do at home to help them heal, including bandaging the area and limiting a dog's mobility.
Take the dog to the veterinarian for x-rays at the first signs of a shoulder injury. Signs usually include limping and tenderness or pain when stroked and petted. Veterinarians usually require at least two different views of the injured area to determine the extent of the injury.
Allow veterinarians to perform surgical repair on severely injured shoulders. Surgery involves stabilising the shoulder joint which doctors achieve by using a band of skin to secure the shoulder joint to the humerus bone. Dogs need to keep the shoulder in this position post-surgery to avoid re-dislocation.
Place your dog in his dog crate with soft bedding for several hours a day. Restrict movements all day, making sure he does not put weight on the injured limb. Provide the dog with plenty of food, water, and attention to keep him happy. After surgery, dogs require several weeks of rest while the ligaments and muscles continue to heal. Dogs with minor injuries should also be rested at home.
Ask your veterinarian to show you how to change your dog's bandages. The shoulder joint needs to be bandaged to allow ligaments to heal and to keep the shoulder connected to the humerus. Change your dog's bandages according to the veterinarian's instructions. Be sure to keep bandages clean and dry.
Ask your veterinarian about instructions for keeping the dog in a sling, for severely injured joints. Slings are sometimes used in addition to stabilising bandages. Determine how many hours a day he is supposed to stay there and follow these instructions daily.
Providing dogs with human interaction while they are on bed rest helps them stay alert and focused. Healing takes several weeks and keeping the dog happy helps him get through the process a bit easier.
Trying to treat this type of injury at home can cause dogs to develop permanent injury including arthritis and shoulder lameness. It is important to seek professional veterinarian care at the same time as the injury.