How to Repair a Dog’s Torn ACL: Lay Sod and Put up a Privacy Screen

18 Apr

MAJOR UPDATE:  Sheika continued having problems so we had to go with the surgery but it was a major success, you can read all about it the newest post Dog’s Torn ACL Repaired With TPLO Surgery.

Hi there!

So unfortunately Sheika (our Akita) was doing her usual crazy running around the yard in defense of Home Sweet Sunshine when she stepped wrong and either severely strained or completely tore her ACL.  As a guy the most experience I have had with a torn ACL is when a running back or wide receiver has a season ending injury due to a torn ACL.  So naturally I was quite worried when our vet told us that is what happened to Miss Sheika.

Here is what Sheika looks like when she stands right now, her back left leg is always lifted:


Luckily we have a VERY good vet who is one of the few who cares more about the dog than about making himself rich.  He told us that we have two choices… 1. Have surgery to repair the ACL which would have a lengthy recovery time and has a slight chance for complications or 2. Put Sheika on a 2 month plan of strictly limited activity and reassess her condition.  As we worry a lot about “complications” and would rather avoid surgery if at all possible, we decided to opt for the limited activity plan.

The main issue with the limited activity plan is that Sheika currently has free run of the backyard which is where she does her “business” while we are out.  In addition to the yard being her office, it is also her playground and the place she was originally injured.  So we came up with a plan to isolate her outdoor activities to the side of the house.  This is also where her doggie door is located so that she can come in and out of the house so it is the perfect spot.  The only problem with that is that if we are out she needs to be able to do her “business” if she needs to and that side of the house did not have any grass…

And so began the “Lay Sod and Put up a Privacy Screen” project.  The sod is so that she can do her business (I know you must be tired of the quotation marks by now) and the privacy screen is so that she is not tempted to stand up on the fence to bark ferociously at any passers by…as this is her real job.  She will of course continue to bark when necessary but at least she will not stand up on her injured back left leg.

So we had some experience laying sod and this was an urgent matter so I decided to tackle the job alone and surprise Jany when she got home.  Here is how I did it…

Here is what the area looked like “Before”:


First I used the weed wacker and rake to clear out
the weeds, plants and ferns growing along the fence:


Then I cut down the small tree that was making it difficult to put the bamboo privacy screen up, we were planning to cut the tree down anyways because it was infested with white fly:


Then I sprinkled some Scott’s Southern Weed and Feed on top of the newly cleared area.  I swear by this stuff and use it every few months and a little more often in the summer when the South Florida rainy season hits and I have to cut the grass every week or so.  It does an amazing job at keeping weeds away and helping grass grow strong.  It is hazardous to pets and kids though so make sure you thoroughly water it into the ground before letting the little ones out to play.  On top of the Weed and Feed I poured a thin layer of Scott’s Turf Builder Starter, which will help to set the grass roots and give it a nice head start for healthy growth.


Once I finished with the dirt I installed the Bamboo Reed privacy fence that was only $24 at Home Depot.  It is 6′ x 16′ and should do a nice job of keeping Sheika grounded.  The only tip I can give you here is to have some tie wraps handy so that you can attach the privacy screen to your fence because if you try to do it with string (and you don’t listen to your beautiful fiance) it will take you forever.  Luckily I have Jany to point me in the right direction and it saved me a lot of time:


Then I rinsed all of the excess Turf Builder into the area with a hose and
thoroughly wet the dirt so that was almost muddy:


Now it was time to lay the sod, unfortunately this sod had been sitting out in the sun at Home Depot for a while but don’t worry it grows like crazy as long as you water it frequently for the first couple of weeks and take the time to put the Weed and Feed and Turf Builder underneath it:


I laid the sod in what I call an “orthodox puzzle configuration”…that means I just put them down next to each other nice and tight.  I had some grass that was overhanging onto the concrete so I just used a hand saw to cut that part off, I also had to cut parts for the tree stump that I will be removing in the future…keep posted for that post!

Here is what the “After” shot looks like…

IMG_0492   IMG_0497

Well I hope that gave you some good information, although this same procedure may not work for your particular situation at least you get the idea… if your dog tears their ACL you may have another option besides surgery if you have an area where your dog can get outside and do their business and yet not be able to run and jump.

I will keep you all posted on Sheika’s progress, hopefully it will be quick but from what our vet said and everything I have read we need to give her at least 8 weeks of strict rest to regrow the ligament tissue and then we need to reassess.  So keep in mind that does NOT mean a dog will be healed in 8 weeks but that you should see noticeable improvement and if you don’t you may need to consider surgery.

Keep shining!


MAJOR UPDATE:  Sheika continued having problems so we had to go with the surgery but it was a major success, you can read all about it the newest post Dog’s Torn ACL Repaired With TPLO Surgery.


2 Responses to “How to Repair a Dog’s Torn ACL: Lay Sod and Put up a Privacy Screen”


  1. How to Repair a Dog’s Torn ACL (Update) | Home Sweet Sunshine - April 28, 2013

    […] 1. We restricted her outdoor activities to a very small area on the side of our house. This area has a 4 ft. chain link fence on the side that borders our neighbor that she liked to stand up at to bark at passers by. So we put up a bamboo reed fence to keep her from doing that. Click here to see the post. […]


  2. Dog’s Torn ACL Repaired With TPLO Surgery | Home Sweet Sunshine - July 27, 2014

    […] posts about Sheika’s torn ACL when we thought we could cure her you can see them here: How to Repair a Dog’s Torn ACL: Lay Sod and Put up a Privacy Screens How to Repair a Dog’s Torn ACL […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: