Can A Puppy Break Its Neck?

New pup parents have many questions, such as can a puppy break its neck accidentally? Unfortunately the answer is yes, but with proper care you can avoid it. Let’s learn how.

Puppies are playful and don’t pay attention to their surroundings. This tendency to play often puts them at risk of injuries. Puppies can break their necks due to various reasons. One of them being the constant jerking of the leash. Did you know that that is what causes neck injuries in 91% of dogs

Can A Puppy Break Its Neck

As dog lovers, I think we should all be careful and protect our puppies. Read on to learn more about these injuries. 

How do puppies break their necks?

Take a look at the various ways in which your puppy can get hurt, especially in the neck region. Stay vigilant to avoid these circumstances. Consult your vet immediately if your puppy gets hurt. 


Trauma that causes neck injury can be of different types. Your puppy might be in a road accident or can fall from a height. Other than these instances of trauma, gunshot injuries can also cause neck damage. Such wounds are commonly seen in puppies living in unsafe neighborhoods. 

Physical trauma can cause damage to the spinal cord. Neck injuries in puppies usually result in crushed vertebrae. The vertebral structure may also change due to the impact of the accident or fall. This change exposes the spinal cord. If there is a spinal fracture, you will first need to stabilize your puppy. 

Can A Puppy Break Its Neck

Treatment of neck injuries due to trauma can be surgical or non-surgical. The vet will give a puppy opiate analgesia to reduce the pain. The hospital will also monitor the state of the bladder closely. If the treatment is non-surgical, then the vet will use external support bandages. These will maintain spinal stability. In surgical treatments, the vet will stabilize the spinal cord with the help of metal wires, screws, and pins.

Bite Wounds

Puppies often play-fight with each other. They might playfully bite each other. However, sometimes these bites turn aggressive. A bite wound, whether intentional or not, can lead to a puppy hurting its neck.  

A bite wound on the neck can affect the skin and the tissues. If an adult dog attacks your puppy, its muscles and skin may get torn. A puppy bitten by another puppy may only have a superficial wound. But there can be underlying tissue and muscle damage and bruising on the neck. 

A bite wound can damage blood vessels and nerves on the neck. If the teeth penetrate the puppy’s skin, the sharp incisions can damage the esophagus and trachea. 

Can A Puppy Break Its Neck

Apart from breaking its neck, bites can lead to your puppy getting skin infections. This is because dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths. This bacteria gets transferred to the open wound. If you do not get your puppy treated right away, an abscess may form.

Attacks from Birds

You might think it seems a bit unusual, but birds of prey can attack a small puppy. Shrikes are songbirds that kill their prey by breaking necks. Small puppies are vulnerable to shrike attacks. 

Like most birds of prey, shrikes target the neck region and impale their prey with claws. These birds can often attack and carry prey that is the same size as them. Since the 1960s, the population of loggerhead shrikes has decreased by 80%. But they still pose a threat to small animals like puppies. 

Can A Puppy Break Its Neck

If you live in an area that has frequent bird attacks, do not leave your puppy unattended. Be sure to follow your puppy when you go outside. Very young puppies have necks that are still developing. If attacked, they will suffer severe neck injuries. Therefore, you should be very careful. 

Abusive Treatment

Puppies often suffer abuse at the hands of their owners or even strangers. Ill-treatment can lead to them hurting and breaking their necks. Puppies are vulnerable and cannot fend for themselves like some adult dogs. You need to protect them from any kind of abusive behavior.

Animals should be cared for. Beating them up or throwing stones at them can cause severe injuries like spinal cord damage, broken necks, and festering wounds. Puppies find it very difficult to recover from such treatment. 


Collars are necessary when you have pets, especially small puppies. But they need to be used properly. You can attach a leash to the collar and take your puppy for a walk. You can also hang vaccination tags and IDs from the collar. Collars will only cause damage if they are too tight or if you pull too hard on them. 

Strangulation is one of the common neck injuries from collars. Your puppy might try jumping over a fence. This can lead to the collar or the leash getting snagged. If the hanging tags are too large, they can get tangled up in other objects. This causes strain in the neck. 

Can A Puppy Break Its Neck

You should take care not to pull the collar too hard. Do not jerk the regular collars fitted around the neck. Collars that are too tight cause damage to the thyroid glands, salivary glands, and tissues in the neck. 

Answers To Commonly Asked Questions

How do you tell if a puppy has a broken neck?

Spinal disk injuries can occur when puppies hurt their necks. Dogs, even puppies, might not explicitly show that they are in pain. But you can check for the following signs of spinal injury:

  • Shivering
  • Yelping when you pick them up
  • Being inactive even when you give food
  • An arched back or pulled-in head position
  • Dragging the hind legs
  • Not bending down, even to eat or drink
  • No control over the rear end

If you check for these signs early on, your puppy will have a better chance of surviving. Some vets perform neurosurgery to cure this Inverted Disc Disease (IVDD).  

Can a puppy recover from a broken neck?

This depends on the extent of the injury. A puppy can usually live if surgery is required and is successful. In other cases, puppies are paralyzed from such injuries. There is no cure for paralysis due to spinal cord injury. 

You can try to make your puppy feel as comfortable as possible if this happens. Some owners might even opt for euthanasia to relieve their puppy of pain. 

Can A Puppy Break Its Neck

If your puppy is not paralyzed, the vet will perform neurosurgery or give the puppy a stiff collar. This depends on the severity of the break.  

Can puppies hurt their necks?

Puppies can hurt their necks while playing or play-fighting. Bite wounds on necks lead to IVDD. Puppies also get hurt when you jerk their collar too hard.

The neck is a sensitive area, and your puppy can hurt it if not monitored. You should have a broken neck diagnosed as soon as possible. A quick diagnosis will help your puppy recover easily. 

Can dogs crack their necks?

Puppies can crack and hurt their necks. In most cases, the injury is too serious about recovering from. Puppies might crack their neck if ill-treated or attacked by other dogs. 

Can A Puppy Break Its Neck

You should also distinguish a cracked neck from a cracking sound that might originate in the neck. There is synovial fluid inside the joints of all dogs. This fluid contains oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. If this air is expelled quickly, you might hear a popping or cracking sound. Don’t worry; this is not a sign of injury in your puppy. 

Unfortunately, Incidents Of Puppies Breaking Their Neck Are Far Too Common.

That brings me to the end of this article. If you have a new puppy in the house, keep the above points in mind. Leave a comment below if you found this informative and interesting, and do share with others.