Can a Dog Dislocate His Shoulder? Ours Did!

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Yoda our dog dislocated his shoulder and today I am sharing our experience. 

Recently Yoda our Bichon Frise dog began limping. At first my husband and I were not too sure what to do. You see it’s one of those situations where you don’t want to go to the vet if it’s a strain which will heal in a day or two, but at the same time you want to get your dog checked out just in case they have a more serious injury. 


Helping Our Dog With a Shoulder Luxation

So what did we do?

We decided to wait and see if Yoda would heal. Sadly things got worse. Our Bichon Frise dog became less mobile. His limp got worse and he began hopping around.

We nicknamed him Sir Hoppington and we booked him in to see the vet to find out why our dog was in pain.

And I’m so glad we did!

Yoda had a physical examination and was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder joint.

Bichon Lifespan

Before I go into more detail, I thought I’d share the lifespan or life expectancy of a Bichon Frise dog. 

The Bichon lifespan is usually around 16 years. The Bichon life expectancy however will change depending on the way your dog was bread and who his parents were. 

Sadly for us, Yoda was our first family dog and whilst doing our research, we determined to buy a pure bread Bichon Frise from a safe home.

However We Were Tricked

When we adopted our Bichon Frise and brought him home as a puppy, we received documentation which turned out to be fake. 

It turned out our dog had the same grandfather and father and that he had been bread just to be sold.

There was not much we could do after learning about this except to report the people who had sold Yoda to under false pretences. 

Health Issues When Puppy Farmed

Due to Yoda’s breading, we were told his lifespan would be lower than the average Bichon life expectancy and that he may have problems has he grew.

This has surely happened. He has a heart murmur and was this week diagnosed with arthritis.

I’m glad we have dog insurance and that we don’t have to pay out for everything at full cost. 

Dog Dislocated Shoulder

So Yoda the dog went to the vet and our Bichon Frise was pre-diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder.

The vet needed to do x-rays on the affected limb to be double sure and Yoda was sedated for this procedure. 

It turned out that our dog not only has a dislocated front shoulder, but he also had a fracture in the shoulder and sadly both issues have been causing a lot of pain. 

Diagnosed With Arthritis

At the same time, Yoda the bichon was diagnosed with Arthritis in both shoulders which we were told is not usual for small breed dogs. 

Yoda had his shoulder joint put back into normal position and was left to rest for several hours following his shoulder dislocation treatment. 

We were instructed to encourage him to rest and to avoid any weight bearing on the affected limb.

treating a dog shoulder dislocation

Treating a Dislocated Shoulder on a Dog

So how do you treat a dog shoulder dislocation?

Firstly the shoulder needs putting back in place. Shoulder luxation in dogs is often a result of trauma and needs to be adjusted in the first instance. 

Once Yoda’s shoulder luxation was put back in place, he was left to rest and recover.

When a dog dislocates a shoulder, there are two possible treatments. 

  • Fixing the dislocation and prescribing lots of rest to heal.
  • Surgery to fix the damaged ligaments and rotator cuff muscles.

This is generally determined by the Vet following a physical examination and x-ray. Surgical stabilization is generally recommended if the clinical signs show a traumatic luxation with poor joint stability.

Listen to Your Vet

At the end of the day, the Vet will let you know the best treatment for your Dogs shoulder instability.

Fortunately for us Yoda did not not require surgery on this occasion but he has needed a lot of love and attention and care…and of cause a lot of rest as his joint capsule heals.

Tips for Caring for Your Dog Following a Luxation

Whether your dog has a front shoulder dislocation, a hip luxation or a patellar luxation, they will require a lot of rest once the bone is adjusted and put back in place.

This counts whether your dog has surgery or not. Here are the top tips for caring for your dog following a dislocation. 

  • Create a safe area for your dog to rest, with soft bedding. This could be a bed on the floor, a dog crate or in our case, a blanket over several pillows. It doesn’t need to be fancy but comfortable and at ground level. 

  • Provide your dog with plenty of food and water. If your dog is struggling to move following a shoulder luxation, then having a bowl of water close by will surely help them to rest the injury. 

  • Encourage your dog to rest so his or her muscles and ligaments can continue to heal. 

For us this meant, being more quiet around our dog, giving Yoda attention as he needed it, not getting him worked up or giddy or encouraging him to blitz or get over excited. 

It is super important that both small breed dogs and large breed dogs rest following general anesthesia and after any surgery or joint relocation.

dog shoulder luxation and front shoulder dislocation

The Future for Yoda the Bichon Dog

It’s going to take several weeks for our dog to heal from his shoulder dislocation.

Yoda has been whiny and upset as one might expect but we are giving him the care he needs. 

Pain Medication for Traumatic Luxation

Yoda has pain medication to help him for the next few weeks. He does not have a sling or pot for his fracture but that should heal in time.

Due to being diagnosed with Arthiritis in both shoulders, Yoda will require lifelong medications and we will be starting him on those shortly. 

Yoda is a lovely Bichon Frise and we love him to bits and I hope by sharing our experience and what we have learnt about dog shoulder dislocation, it will help many other dog owners who need to learn and understand more about this. 

More Dog Conditions To Read ABout: 

Yoda And Dog Pressure Sores

Yoda The Dog Is Having Surgery

Yoda’s Dog Tooth Extraction

dog shoulder dislocation

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  1. Sadly Yoda passed away one year after his dislocation due to another illness. He recovered from his dislocation after round four weeks but did have ongoing issues until the time he went to heaven.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about Yoda’s passing! The only really bad part of loving a pet is having to live without them when they pass on. On a more jolly note I have confirmation that our pets who depart before us are waiting for us in heaven! I guess it’s true all dogs go to heaven! Here’s to us getting there too as not all humans go to heaven. 😳

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