Activities For Dogs After Hip Dysplasia Surgery

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Introduction

Hip dysplasia is a common condition involving a malformation of the hip socket, where the socket and the ball portion do not align. This is one of the leading causes of arthritis in dogs. Causes of this disease are mainly genetic. While there seems to be no correlation between the condition and the dog’s gender, there are some dog breeds that are more at risk of contracting hip dysplasia. This includes large dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Saint Bernards and Labrador Retrievers. The usual solution to this condition is surgery. If your dog has undergone hip dysplasia surgery, their movement would have to be restricted. However, this does not mean that your dog has to do nothing during the recovery period. Below are some activity ideas for your dog post-surgery. 

Swimming

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Life vest
Activity description

Swimming is a fun activity that even your dog can enjoy post-surgery. Since hip dysplasia requires little to no walking or running, the next best option is to go for a dip at the pool. Floating around and getting wet will not be strenuous to the hip area and the hind legs. Plus, most dogs have an affinity for water and find it to be relaxing. For your recovering dog, this activity is a chance to get out of the house and recharge after a major operation. This activity is best done when the skies are clear and the sun is out. 

Step
1
Find a swimming spot
First thing that you will need to do is to look for a place to swim in. There are lots of dog-friendly pools that you can bring your pet to if you do not have your own pool at home. You may even swim in your own backyard by setting up an inflatable pool.
Step
2
Swim with your pooch
When you have found a pool or have set up your own, gear your dog up with a life vest. Even if your furry friend is a natural swimmer, keep in mind that your dog has just undergone a major operation and you would want to keep all movements to a minimum. Once your dog has the life vest on, go for a swim. Be sure to always assist your dog while they swim around. You may even throw in some toys into the pool to keep things more interesting.
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Puzzle Games

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Puzzle game of choice
Activity description

When your dog goes through surgery, it is natural for the vet to restrict their physical activity for a speedy recovery. If you cannot keep your dog physically stimulated, you can at least stimulate their mind through puzzle games, which are interactive games design to mentally rouse your dog. These types of games are becoming more and more popular and there are so many varieties to choose from. Swedish designer Nina Ottosson is known for producing a line of puzzle games involving different features and levels of difficulty. These games are a good investment and can keep your dog entertained and occupied while recovering from hip dysplasia surgery.

Step
1
Acquire a puzzle game
There is a wide range of puzzle games available for your dog. Nina Ottosson has released several of these games, including the popular "Dog Casino". This game requires the pet to open small “drawers” found around the sides of the game board. Hidden inside these drawers are treats. This game can be made more challenging by plugging holes found on top, which will lock some drawers.
Step
2
Vary the challenge
Another popular puzzle game is the “Seek-a-Treat Shuffle Bone Dog Puzzle”. The game features sliding disks that must be moved by the dog to reveal the treat. You can even create your own puzzle games with a muffin pan and tennis balls. Randomly place treats in the cups of the pan and cover using the ball.
Step
3
Watch your dog play
When you’ve acquired a game, read the instructions for optimal use. Most of these puzzle games involve hiding of treats. Once you’ve figured how the game works, hide the treats as needed and let your dog figure out the game. Watch as your dog works through the puzzle and finds the treat. Give a gesture of affirmation for a job well done.
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Stroller Tour

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Stroller
Food
Water
Activity description

Dogs are in need of sunlight and exercise, which is why veterinarians usually recommend daily walks. However, when coming from a hip dysplasia surgery, it is often advised that your dog refrains from walking and using their hind legs. Unfortunately, dogs can get bored behind four walls and the need to stay in can put them under some stress. If you want to let your dog out without compromising their health and recovery, the best solution is to use a pet stroller. These are just like the regular strollers for babies but made for dogs and are widely available in pet stores. By using a stroller, your dog can enjoy the sights outside without having to walk.

Step
1
Prepare a stroller for your dog
To be able to bring your newly operated dog outdoors, you would need to have a pet stroller. Go to any pet boutique or shop and buy one that can carry your dog, depending on your pooch’s size. You can also opt for a baby stroller if you have one that you no longer use.
Step
2
Enjoy the outdoors
Once you have an available pet stroller, bring it along with other essentials, such as food, water and a collapsible bowl. Head out to the park or somewhere with lots of sights and sounds that your dog can enjoy. Place your dog onto the stroller and go for a walk. This strolling time not only makes your dog happy, it also helps reinforce the connection that you have with each other.
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More Fun Ideas...

Play Date

If your dog cannot go out to play, why not bring the play to your home instead? If your dog is feeling lonely and need of companionship, it might be best to host a play date. Contact any of your pet owner friends or even your neighbors and organize a doggy play date. This activity is a great way for your dog to bond with other canine pals while still on recovery mode. Monitoring the pair at all times will be necessary though, as running and playing are not permitted.

Pet Water Therapy

Pet water therapy, particularly underwater treadmill, is slowly becoming a widely-accepted pet rehabilitation method. By using water’s therapeutic properties, aquatic therapy can help strengthen muscles, develop range of motion and improve endurance. But, more importantly, this activity is low risk. A post-surgery dog is a great candidate for aquatic therapy. All you have to do is consult a veterinary clinic or pet rehabilitation center and let them do the work for you.

Massage

Who doesn’t love a good massage? Your dog can surely use a post-surgery massage to help them relax. A good massage can have a calming effect on your pup. Caress the ears of your dog and move down to the neck and back. Be careful not to put too much pressure and to avoid the area where the surgery was done. Not only does a massage help sooth your dog, it also gives your dog a sense of being cared for and loved.

Conclusion

Going through a serious operation such as hip dysplasia surgery can initially be tough on both you and your dog. The main priority after surgery is a full and speedy recovery, which is why restricted activity is recommended. Fortunately, your dog can take part in the aforementioned activities in order to fight off boredom while recovering from the operation.