While cherry eye is not a life-threatening condition, it is best to treat it as quickly as possible to avoid discomfort and possible secondary problems such as infection from the exposed nictitating membrane or the third eyelid. The surgery to correct the cherry eye is pretty straightforward and your dog should be able to resume their normal activities quickly. However, because the eye is involved, you do want to take some precautions and not allow them to play tug-o-war or other games that involve pulling with their mouth. This can cause strain on the eye and this needs to be avoided until healing is complete.
There are several canine puzzles available at dog specialty stores ranging in difficulty from easy to difficult. Start your dog with a simple puzzle so they do not become discouraged and give up. Hide favorite treats in the puzzle and let your dog work to find the treats. You can make your own canine puzzle without too much trouble, even if you do not consider yourself a crafty person. Simply use an old muffin pan, tennis balls and treats. Fill some of the holes with treats and cover with a tennis ball. Your dog will then have to figure out how to roll the tennis ball out of the way to retrieve their reward.
Search and sniff is a play on hide and seek; your dog will use their sense of smell to find items that you have hidden. Search and sniff can be played either indoors or outside as long as you have plenty of places to stash good smelling toys and treats. You can even use search and sniff activities to work on their scenting abilities and have them find items with different scents on them such as towels, shirts or gloves. You can figure that the activity will take about 30 minutes to play; anything longer may cause them to become bored and not focus on the interesting scents they are supposed to find.
Teaching your dog to clean up their toys is a relatively easy thing to teach. First, you teach them how to fetch and then you instruct them on how to put that toy into the toy box. It will take patience and practice before your dog becomes a pro at cleaning up their belongings after playtime. Dogs recovering from cherry eye surgery can clean up their toys as long as they are not straining to lift heavy toys or picking up toys that could potentially rub against their eye or the surgical site. Obviously, cleaning up their toys would probably be done in the house but you can also have them pick up any toys that they play with outside.
While your dog may not enjoy watching a movie, they will enjoy spending time with you and snuggling on the couch or a pallet on the floor. Recovering from cherry eye surgery is the perfect time to spend an afternoon lounging around, watching a movie and snuggling. Add a few snacks for you and your dog for the best time ever!
Some people would argue that a treat ball is the same as a canine puzzle; if that is the case, it is a simple puzzle. Stuff a Kong or other treat ball with treats or even peanut butter for a quick way to keep your dog busy for a while. Freeze the treat ball on a hot day for an even better treat!
Dogs recovering from cherry eye surgery will need to take it easy for the first few days and should not do any strenuous activities until they have been cleared by their veterinarian. They can do activities that do not stress the surgical site, cause them to strain their jaws, such as tug-o-war, or get dirt into the surgical site. Surgery of any kind will stress your dog so spend extra time with them while they are recovering so they know that they are loved and all is right in their world.