Dogs are more like humans than we think. Just like humans, they can also get cancer. And, just like humans, they can also receive chemotherapy to treat it. Believe it or not, chemotherapy can be an effective cancer treatment in dogs, with a less aggressive dose than what humans would receive. While the aim is quality of life, it’s often a positive method of treatment for dogs with cancer that may metastasize. Not all dogs suffer from side effects as a result of the regular chemotherapy sessions, but it can happen. And, often, a few days after treatment some vets will recommend giving your dog time to rest and recover. If you’re used to high-energy activities and don’t have any ideas up your sleeve for quiet ones, we’ve included a few below.
A common side effect in dogs after chemotherapy treatment is a loss of appetite. While it’s often short-lived in the days after chemo, it can be a worry for pet owners who are used to their dogs hoovering up every crumb in sight. If you want to offer your dog every available opportunity to eat while enjoying the mental stimulation, then food puzzles may be the answer. You can either build or buy them, fill them with healthy or delicious treats, and use them in any weather. In fact, during the winter months, food puzzles are perfect as a rainy day activity. For an hour of fun indoors, consider this moderately-priced activity for your ill pup.
If the sun is shining and you’re looking for a free and easy activity for half an hour your pup will love, a short walk is a good idea. Even a dog that’s not feeling at their best will relish the opportunity to spend time outside the house. What’s more, they will enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air. During chemotherapy, there can often be few side effects in dogs. Therefore, vets still encourage you to participate in activities and exercise with your dog, as long as they are low-key and not too high intensity in the 1 to 3 days after treatment. A short walk may tick those boxes.
If your dog is beginning to get antsy with being cooped up inside doing nothing, then providing a distraction is paramount. Your pup still needs stimulation, and you can offer it with a game of ‘hide and seek.’ All you need is approximately 10 minutes of spare time and a toy, and you can provide your dog with a fun and entertaining activity they will love. What’s more, hide and seek is free, and you can play it in your backyard or inside your home. Therefore, it’s a versatile all-weather activity that will break up your dog’s day while still keeping them quiet at home.
If your dog is bored, but they aren’t quite up to going for a trip to the beach or a long walk, then purchase a chew toy for them. There are all kinds of chew toys available for all types of chewers. If your dog is normally destructive, opt for one that’s suitable for tough chewers. You are sure to find it offers at least 30 minutes of distraction for your pup.
For the dog that feels uncomfortable and unwell, a dog massage won’t go astray. Begin at their neck, moving your hands in circular motions around their fur, before trailing your hands down to their shoulder blades. The constant circulation motion is sure to comfort and relax them so they can drift off to sleep.
In humans, chemotherapy is a treatment method for maintaining life at all costs. In dogs, however, it’s about quality of life. If your pup is undergoing several weeks of treatment, it’s a good idea to have plenty of fun but low-key activities up your sleeve. Your dog may be feeling a little ruff, but at least they’ll be feeling loved.