Tips to Help Your Dog After Surgery
Managing a dog's recovery after surgery can be immensely stressful. On top of vet bills and health concerns, you're trying to physically rehabilitate and assist an animal that is probably not so sure of what's going on in the first place. It's frankly heartbreaking at times. But we've got some pro tips to help make your dog's upcoming treatment a bit less stressful.
Aiding in Your Dog's Mobility
Helping pets struggling with mobility can be a challenge. Take it from me: we nursed our Rottweiler though double ACL repair, during which time she had only very light use of either of her rear legs. These hints can help your animal companion stay moving while on the mend.
Yoga mats provide super grippy and inexpensive traction on hardwood or tile floors, perhaps even better than area rugs that can slip. You may also want to consider a traction bootie like Pawz to increase your pet's grip.
There are some great slings out there that can relieve weight on healing tissues, although they might be more helpful for dogs with long-term mobility problems. In a pinch, a folded bath towel under your dog's abdomen can transfer some of their weight off of recovering joints.
Ramps and stairs are your friends
If your dog has permanent loss of mobility from arthritis or neurological problems, investing in a good ramp or pet stairs might be wise. They typically range between $40-$250, depending on weight limits and other features. If he is expected to make a full recovery, you can make a quick and easy ramp for your stairs, sofa, or car out of heavy plywood with some simple instructions you can find online. A little light grade grip paper or carpet can add traction.
Protect the Injury
I once got scolded by my vet for letting my dog lick her incision, causing some minor scarring. But if you've ever tried to keep a pet from licking and possibly re-opening a cut or surgical site, you know it's a full time job! Fortunately, technology has advanced a bit so those ginormous “cones of shame” aren't always necessary anymore.
In some cases, bandages or socks can keep a wound covered, but more than likely your pet will just tear through these in an effort to relieve the itching and pain underneath. Products such as Hearty Mutts offer full leg protection that is easy to keep on and won't interfere with healing. They're available for front and rear leg coverage that prevents the licking or scratching of stitches, hot spots, allergies, and neurological pain.
Plenty of dogs are afraid to eat or drink when wearing a “cone” or “e-collar,” and who can blame them? These plastic contraptions are noisy and wiggly and annoying to anyone nearby. Soft fabric versions are good alternatives to the hard plastic versions. Better yet, try an inflatable or stuffed collar such as the Cloud Collar which limits a pet's ability to lick a wound while allowing them to eat and move normally.
Keep Them Comfortable
While your dog is confined and under the weather the best thing you can do is keep him comfortable and offer extra one-on-one time. Consider extra padding or an orthopedic bed in his crate, or use gates to confine him to his favorite spot. Avoid heating pads that risk burns; instead you can whip up a radiantly warm rice sock in seconds. Don't be stingy with the enrichment toys either. As soon as your pet is feeling up to it he might appreciate a Kong or other treat-stuffed toy to distract him from his ailment.