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Did you just drop your puppy? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Many puppies squirm and get out of their owner’s arms and accidentally get dropped. Some puppies may also leap from tall furniture and hurt themselves. Many times, your dog will be just fine, but there are issues that you may see from dropping your dog.

If your puppy seems like they’re hurt, it’s always best for them to see your vet. Your vet can quickly and easily make sure that there is nothing wrong with your puppy.

What are the symptoms of a dropped puppy?

If you dropped your puppy, there are many things that you need to look out for.

These are the most common issues that can occur from being dropped and what you should do about them.

Check for broken or injured legs

Watch them walk around and make sure they didn’t injury any of their legs.  If your dog injured their leg, it might just be a pulled muscle, or they may have broken their leg.

If their leg hurts, you will notice that your puppy is limping or not putting weight on a particular leg. Your vet can prescribe your puppy some pain medications if they have a pulled muscle.

DO NOT give over-the-counter pain medication as this can cause many serious issues for your puppy.

If your dog broke a leg as a result of the fall, this is usually very easy to see. You will be able to see them holding up a leg, and it will dangle freely.

If your dog did break a leg, it’s best for your vet to see your dog as soon as possible. Broken legs should be fixed in just a few days of the break for them to heal quickly and correctly.

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Check for neck pain and injuries

If your puppy has neck trauma, they may cry, then they move their neck. You may also notice that your puppy doesn’t want to bend their head down to eat food from their food bowls.

You may have to elevate their bowls or hand feed them for a few days to allow their neck pain to heal.

If your puppy is a little reluctant to move, you can see if they have neck or back issues by gently pushing on their neck and back. If they do have an injury, they will usually whine when you push on a spot that hurts them.

Look for cuts and scrapes

Depending on what type of ground your dog fell on when you dropped them, there may be cuts or scrapes.

If you see minor cuts or scrapes, it would be best to clean these areas with soap and water or chlorhexidine scrub to remove all the debris.

After these cuts and scrapes are clean, you can apply triple antibiotic cream such as Neosporin to the wounds until they are healed.

If these cuts and scrapes are very big or deep, it would be best for your vet to look at these areas. Some cuts longer than 1 inch will need stitches or staples to fully heal.

Monitor them for a concussions or brain trauma

If your dog has hit their head, they may have developed a concussion. Usually, these signs are very obvious and are listed below under the next title.

If you notice anything abnormal with your puppy, you should take them to your vet for an exam, as they can quickly assess your puppy for any head trauma.

If your puppy fell from your bed, we also have that article here: Dogs Falling Off Beds: Will they, and what to do if they fall.

What are the signs of head trauma in puppies?

If your puppy hit their head when they were dropped, you may see signs of head trauma.

Your dog may have injured their neck, causing them to cry in pain every time that they move. If this happens, you need to look for other signs of brain trauma.

Signs of a concussion or severe head trauma would include:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Staggered or drunken walk known as ataxia
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Pupils are different sizes
  • Pupils are not reacting to a bright light shining in them

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to get them to a vet as soon as possible.

With head trauma, the quicker you treat the problem, the fast your dog will recover, and the least likely they are to have permanent brain damage as a result of the trauma.

What Is the treatment for head trauma in puppies?

Depending on how bad your dog’s head trauma is, there are many different treatment options.

If it is very mild, some pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs will help. If your dog has severe head trauma, such as head trauma that is seen after being hit by a car, your vet will want to keep your puppy for observation and give them medication intravenously to help decrease the swelling on the brain.

One commonly used medication is called Mannitol. This medication will quickly decrease the intracranial pressure and help treat a concussion or other severe head trauma.

How resilient are puppies?

Many puppies are very resilient and commonly are jumping off of tall furniture or leaping out of their owners’ arms. Many puppies will not break any bones even when falling or jumping from these great heights.

Puppy’s bones are more flexible and not fully calcified. This is why a puppy will not break their legs as easily as an adult dog even if they both fall from the same height.

What to do if your puppy is injured?

If you have dropped your puppy and they are injured, it’s best for your puppy to see your vet.

Sometimes it’s fine to watch your puppy if they are in mild pain, as some soft tissue injuries just need some rest and time to get better. Some puppies will obviously be in a lot of pain and need to see your vet.

Your vet will fully examine your dog for any signs of a broken bone or concussion. They may need to take x-rays to see if there’s anything broken or dislocated.

Depending on what your vet finds would indicate what treatment is needed. If your puppy has a soft tissue injury such as a pulled muscle, usually muscle relaxers and pain medication will help.

Some dogs will benefit from resting for a few days and limiting any strenuous activity.

If your puppy did break a leg, pelvis, or dislocate a bone, your vet can discuss all the different treatment options.

Some dogs can wear a splint while others may need orthopedic surgery to repair fractures.

When your dog was dropped, they may have even broken part of their skull. Usually, skull fractures will heal with just a little rest, but your puppy will be in pain and need pain medication from your vet.

Puppy Loses Trust

Your puppy maybe a little hesitant next time you pick them up. If you notice they’re nervous, or clutching to you, it’s best to start slow and build some trust again. 

Sit on the floor holding your puppy, giving treats and affection to rebuild trust in being handled. It won’t take long, and next time you’re walking with them, or standing, be sure to give treats and hold them securely so they feel safe.

For more information on building trust with your puppy, you can read our post Puppy Rage: Losing Your Temper with Your Puppy

Final Thoughts

If you just dropped your puppy, do not worry; you are not a horrible pet parent! It happens a lot, and usually, the puppy is just fine.

It’s best to watch your puppy for a few hours for any signs of pain or head trauma. If you notice that there is anything off with your puppy, it’s best for your vet to examine your puppy as they can make sure your puppy is going to be okay.

If there is something wrong, they can start them on treatment for any injuries that they have very quickly so they can start to feel much better very quickly.